Article in Popular Mechanics that applies to Mariners

This applies to all unlicensed crew and technically to licensed as well. Academies kinda sorta are trade schools in the same way a nursing degree school is a “trade school”. Sort of.

1 Like

well, i read 90% of it, i didn’t notice anything pertaining to seagoing specifically but it’s there as you infer.
what i did get out of it is college/universities are pushed for what they teach you about contemporary ‘life’… look at some of the warped class titles, turns you into a loyal Maoist!
yup, learn a trade, be earning a paycheck with a clear site up the ladder in a couple years and have your school paid off … of course the best route is have the army pay for it!

1 Like

Make that Navy…

i sailed for the Army, they’ve quite a few ships, some say more than the Navy but I think that’s counting everything that floats ! maybe even amphibious tanks? ha ha

Only during WW2.

I do believe that all unlicensed mariners would fall into this category, simply because they are individuals that have specific skills that mostly require proven time, proof of skills, and even certification to move forward in their respective careers.

But deck/engine officers that choose to go to Academies are there by choice. For those who choose the hawsepipe route, a little different too. But Academy educations are earned only AFTER acceptance into their program (based largely on academic performance in prior schools) and you leave the Academy with a college degree and a license, though NOT always with both. So I see it a little differently.

This is a good read and I’m glad it’s out there. I represent my Academy at college fairs in my city twice a year. The first thing I ask both students and parents is, “Do you like school? How are your grades?”

If I suspect there is any hesitation on either parents or potential student, I suggest the trade school route and encourage them all the way. College is ridiculously expensive. I counsel NOT to waste your time and money until you walk right up to me and say " I really want to go to (insert name of college here) and would like your help on getting in!" They must display some exuberance for me to know, this guy/girl is serious and will likely succeed.

I also sit on a board of a program for high school students that steers them towards our industry. But the very first thing we tell them (and their parents) is that “It’s not for everyone” and if you don’t like this when you’ve completed the program, that’s okay!

Helping young people find something they want to do is a great endeavor. Helping them figure out what they DO NOT WANT TO DO is part of the same process. Either way, you have left your mark on that young mind and helped them out (and their family) immensely. It’s a win-win either way.


My point is that a maritime academy is a hybrid of college and trade school because of how much practical training there is. It’s like the schools that have flight training programs. Also many countries licensing programs don’t come with a college/university degree. Great Britain’s doesn’t have a degree. You do one year of school and then do cadet sailing with classes between.


Sadly, many countries still do business the “old way”. Using bribes to ensure acceptance or promotion.

An Eastern European friend of mine has time for his Mates license upgrade (from AB). He has saved money for his course and license prep. But he has been told he cannot enter the class until he forks up more for a “donation” to the admissions officer.

How screwed is that? But from what I’ve learned over the years, it isn’t uncommon.

I can understand/relate to your method of talking to potential maritime candidates or college material in general. Also understand the effort to find out what they don’t want to do. That is just as important. My bride and I are not on any boards, but are known in the community for assisting a few young people (And their folks) with their choices. It gives us great satisfaction to help out with some very tough decisions. A few people helped guide us early on when we didn’t have a clue how or where to start. One son chose maritime, the other one chose a trade school. Worked out well and forever grateful to the folks that took a small part of their busy day and were there for us. It is win-win either way.

No I don’t mean they are corrupt. The UK isn’t. They just don’t follow the US 4 year military college model. Same thing with their medical schools. To be a Medical Doctor you go straight to Medical School without needing a Bachelor’s Degree first and that’s the norm for Europe.

I didn’t mean to imply ALL European schools are corrupt. Certainly not the UK.

That aside, Every nation has its own set of minimum standards. The outcome may be differing levels of performance. So be it. Whatever their citizens accept is up to them.

1 Like

Fortunately all have to meet STCW 95 standards. Want to have fun? Watch YouTube videos of Filipino merchant marine schools. Think VMI/The Citadel goes to sea. Chief Makoi has some.

1 Like

Never knew VMI sent their people to sea a while back… One of the institutions that offerred my son a decent package to play football… But never mentioned sea time or the opportunity. Spent one of the hottest days of my life on a recruiting day there. Great campus, not a good fit for my guy at the time. VMI is quite awesome though. Son has a few co-workers from VMI in his related business now. Good shit people. Our world is a bit smaller than you think it is.

I’ve heard from others (foreigners who have more direct knowledge than I) that meeting those STCW standards is a bit of a joke in some countries. That’s actually common knowledge in some circles.

This blogger has some interesting stories, though you’ll have to sift through other interesting stuff.

I clearly was talking about how tough the Filipino Military Academies are. :shushing_face:

1 Like

Never disagreed with you sir, That Filipino training stuff is not for snowflakes. Many turn out to be good mariners, but hell of a price/no price to pay. Especially if you are transporting cows.


Cows or refugees, I’d rather have Mariners go through the most stressful training possible. But this was covered in several threads.

And not to belabor the point … but being able to “afford” (think bribes) attending the school is an issue. Then, getting out as a cadet and sitting in a shipping office, waiting for a real job (again, think about bribes), while you’re running around fetching the boss’s coffee … that’s an entirely another issue.

Where are you talking about?

I thought it was obvious. Guess I’ll have to spell it out for you.

If you are in the Philippines and want to attend a maritime school, or are already a graduate and are attempting to secure a job through a manning agency or a particular employer, you have to provide a cash incentive to those that can help you. Otherwise known as a “bribe” in this country. I’m not sure where you’re from. But I’ve been told first hand by Filipinos on my ship that in order to get a really good job, providing a cash bribe to your employer is a routine part of the process. Imagine several people looking for work offering such rewards to one individual in an office who has the power to hire you (or not).

Same for cadets trying to ship out and get time required to earn their license.

Understand now?