Another Newbie

Hi everyone. I’m 24 years old and interested in beginning training for a maritime career. I grew up around lakes, and worked on freshwater charter boats, but have no real experience in the industry. I have looked at a number of schools/training centers throughout the US, and am probably, at this point, most intersted in SeaFarer’s, though I know they aren’t accepting applications right now for unexperienced students. Ultimately, I would to make captain, and definitely want to focus on a career in the bridge.

Working on charter boats (i.e. yachts), around ports (i.e. tugboats, pilot boats, etc.), or on an inland ship interests me the most, but I’ll start wherever, doing whatever is necessary for a newcomer to the industry. Any information/guidance as to the best route(s) would be great. I know there are certain licensing and documentation requirements necessary before stepping foot on a vessel, but I’m not sure about what school/programs and courses would be best for my particular interests.



I was in the same situation. Im 25 and after working my butt off in a Plating shop for the last 5.5 years I decided to look into jobs in the maritime industry, I have always spent all of my free time on the water racing sailboats or watching the freighters come in. I finally decided to attend a maritime academy for a few reasons. I wanted a Bachelors degree, and Being able to Graduate with a Third Mates Unlimited oceans and Great lakes along with a first class great lakes pilots license just made the most sense to me. Because of the Automotive industry taking such a shock last year my work load went down to working 24 hours a week this cut my pay down to 24k last year so I took out loans and I got 3k in pell grant money, between those 2 that is covering all of my tuition. I have some savings and next year will find a part time job to cover my living expenses.

So anyways I chose Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, MI- I start in less than two weeks. I am so excited!

If I was younger and wanted to get into the industry I would look into working up the hawsepipe. I have always loved on the job training and apprenticeships. I had to walk away from a tool and die apprenticeship when I was 19.

So again depending on your funds and where you want to go you can decide. Just remember that STCW 95’ BST in pretty much standard for most entry level jobs. So if you have the time and funds there are alot of two year programs or engine route(seattle has a great 1 year QMED program) to look into.

Again I chose a path that would fit my career goals and allow me to go where I want when Im done with school.

I sure there are a few others on here that have some great information for you.

Best of luck which ever path you go.


Thanks for the help Nate, I do have about 40 college hours already completed but that’s still a long ways from a bachelors. I guess that is another good question - how much does a degree matter for those wanting to make captain, someday. Good luck at Great Lakes, I hadn’t looked at that school very much because I wasn’t sure if they were geared much towards ocean vessels or mainly inland. Thanks again.

The Bachelors degree won’t do a lot for you if all you want to do is work on ships and or tugs. However there is a lot of knowledge you pick up in a Business Administration degree that companies look at for people they want to fill some management positions. I am somewhat in the same boat as you except I have 138 credits except mine are all over the board, I already have a associates in Machine tool technology and an associates in Automotive Service Technology and a Certificate in High performance engine Machining along with a handful of Business classes I started working on last year.

And some day in case you don’t want to be out on Ships the degree could help you get a shore side job doing logistics or something else.

GLMA is somewhat geared towards the great lakes but as long as one of your 90 day sea projects is on a ocean going vessel you get a license that will read GL and oceans.

Good luck with your search for answers.


I would suggest spending about 300 bucks, and getting the necessary govt IDs, background check, and drug test. Then going to actually try a job out as deckhand. I am amazed at how many young people come out of school and feel trapped that this ‘isn’t what they “thought” it was’ when they start working in the industry. It is one thing to look from the outside, and wonder. But once inside the industry it is different. Long time from home (loved ones). Periods of economic uncertainty (company loosing contracts, union issues, getting bounced, laid off, etc etc etc) Finding a company that actually treats you well (not all do!!)

The down side to going out and ‘trying it’ is right now there aren’t alot of jobs out there especially for an entry level applicant.

I think you’re mis informed about applicants to academies. They ALL only take inexperienced applicants! Applicants must have a better than average high school record, but this has nothing to do with experience in the industry.

Does anyone have information or insights about Maritime Professional Training or International Yacht Training in Fort Lauderdale?