Business Degree for after sailing

I am in my early 30s, and looking to change careers. I have almost completed an associate’s degree in business. I want to try sailing for a while, and I am thinking I am going to take the SIU apprenticeship program next year.

If I sail for the next ten years or so and then decide I want to settle down on the shore, will a business degree and my sailing experience combine to help earn me a position in international business, or logistics/shipping, or managing a dock?

Thanks in advance

Your associate not so much, but you can continue on with your BS from a place like Western Governor’s University while sailing. Humble brag, I just finished my Business Management degree last month from there.

Your thoughts only really pays if you plan on also becoming an officer.

Have a buddy who was laid off in 2007, along with me because of the oil crash, who at the time had a business degree and a 3rd mate\1600 Ton Master. He got a shore side job till things got better offshore, that benefited from both experiences.

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That’s great. WGU was how I was thinking of getting the bachelor’s, and was hoping to do it while sailing. What kind of job did he end up getting? Something in shipping?

Have you considered being a marine surveyor? a associates degree without a major will not help you. if you want to consider the profession, take some on line courses from Lloyds or others that are certified/ accredited as to their credits. and you could got into international transportation and be a dry cargo surveyor or draft surveying through companies like sabolt or calibret and be a draught surveyor. companies pay pretty good by it a day and night job but you get health benefits. Later you can establish yourself as an independent join NAMS or SAMS and make six figures a year.

He oversaw the loading and unloading the logistics side of ships.

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So, there are many ways to go shoreside. A higher degree, doesn’t necessarily equate into a position, however when you apply, it may be a minimum requirement for the position dictated by HR, which if the case would throw out your application. So sometimes you need the degree to get past the ATS. I sailed for a while, did higher education MBA (which rounded out my sailing with business and finance). Part of me wishes, I would have gone a different route, which is to try and get into a charterer/trader training program, with the likes of Clarksons or someone similar. (This would of been ideal after 3 or 4 years of sailing - with only my Bachelors). The years of being a sailor, with a license, then transitioning into a manger on up role onshore has become much more difficult. You need to understand about more on general business functions, i.e finance. While you are sailing for those 10 years, you should try to complete as much higher education as you can, if online-remote is an option and available (however I will recommend in person if you go higher than a BS/BA, one of the best parts of MBA programs are the new connections you make and group projects you do with people outside of this industry).

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Hate to be the negative nancy, but most of these online business degrees are worthless. Perhaps, having the degree gets you past the “must have business degree” requirement at the gate keepers (as mentioned in previous post), but you will be competing with people that have real degrees from real schools.

There is a huge abundance of degreed white collar workers, and most of them went to better schools than you, and actually have some experience in business. This myth that “i got muh degree, so I’ll getz a jobz!” is foolish.

You want to know what will get you a job? A merchant mariner license. If you want a different job, use that experience and license to pivot into something else. But don’t shoot off to a completely new path in which you must compete with people much better than you.


Meh, most “businessmen” don’t even know how to run a business. Expect to see plenty of bankruptcies now that ZIRP is gone and money isn’t free.

Agree to a point. Some online MBA degrees are worth it depending on where they are obtained from, and the course selection.The experience as an officer in Merchant Marine can be a marketable well, particularly the logistics side. That can apply to many needs outside the maritime industry. .

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Sailing will not help you in the business world. If you want to work on a dock, apply for a job on the dock. If you want to work in logistics, apply with a logistics company.

A bit more info on my original reply.
If you want to sail, go through the program and come on out and sail. You may like it, but you also may hate it. It’s not all sunsets and rainbows out here.
A position as a deck hand is not something that will translate. Even as an officer, with some management experience, does not translate to a management positions on-shore. Plus, in your 30’s and sailing for 10 years, puts you in your 40’s and starting a new career. It’s a tall order. Anyone starting a new career starts at the bottom, like everyone else.
Ten years sailing is easy to say, but there aren’t many of us. I was a successful business person (Advanced Degrees in Business Finance/Accounting) prior to changing careers, going back to school and sailing in my 40’s… I still love sailing most days and would not go back to the business world, although I was a much better business person that I am a sailor.
Good luck to you, there’s plenty of work out here.

Well I have a standing job offer with GM if I ever wanted to come offshore with my worthless online degree. So…

All business care about is the paper from an accredited school. After that it’s just being able to sell your self on a resume. With the soft skills you aquire from being in the wheel house it’s not hard to find some entry level middle management job.

A license doesn’t translate to anything in the real world.A license with some type of bachelor’s you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not like any of us are trying to work at a top investment firm.

Then go take it.

OP didn’t mention what school they plan on attending or are attending so how do you know that all these white collar workers have a degree that’s so much more impressive? Also; what’s with you and using this weird vernacular/spelling? Do you think it makes you sound smarter or something?

Didn’t the OP mention using his time as a Merchant Mariner along with his potential business degree to pivot to running a dock, logistics, or international business? Those are not completely new paths, they’re consistent with what a merchant does.

What’s not real about an online degree? Does the piece of paper you get say “This isn’t a real degree and you cannot use it to compete for jobs with people from real schools with real degrees”?

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Take your Strayer College online undergrad and MBA and go get 'em! The world is desperate to hire you.

Maybe that is not the best option?:


PS> Well, somebody have to handle the smartphone and sign the report. Easy money compared to the traditional way of getting accurate draft readings.

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Just for info only. ODU recently has approval to to begin it’s Supply Chain Logistics and Maritime Ops degree program. Google it for more info.

A hybrid MBA from a school like Thunderbird (or better) will have job placement power.

An online degree program from a school Ike WGU is better than nothing, but it doesn’t have placement power. It might satisfy a degree requirement, or it might not. It isn’t going to be competitive with a degree from a residential program.

In the current job market there is a shortage of qualified people available to work. Jobs are hard to fill. Degrees are less necessary. Employers may not have and quality candidates to chose from.

Lots of training courses and videos are available for those with seagoing experience that is looking at a shore based career (with or w/o a MBA).
Here is one source:

This is cool. Are these courses well respected in the industry?