I'm interested in the industry but I have some questions

So I recently became truly interested in Maritime but I’m unsure of some details. General info about me I’m 21, I do have a good understanding of the ups and downs of working in Maritime, and I have no Sea Time. I was hoping to get some info/advice here. I have yet to apply for the TWIC and I understand that’s the starting point. If I got into the industry I would want to do the (I’m unsure of what the routes are called atm) deep sea trips. I would want to do the routes that take you all over the world, that take 6-9 months at a time. I’m unsure if I could just start out as an OS on one of those ships and work up from there. Would I need Sea Time in order to do this? Do I need to do other types of sailing to accumulate Sea Time first? Is one of the Academies the best options to start out? I guess I’m basically asking what do I need to do in order to do those long trips.

Thanks for you for time.

At a minimum you’re going to need to be an OS (ordinary seaman). Get your twic, do basic safety training, send in to uscg for your merchant mariner credential. If you don’t have a passport, get one. That will be the absolute minimum and does not require any sea time. Will that be enough to get you employed on oversea sailing ships? I don’t know but legally that’s all you need. Moving on from there you’ll want to get your Able seaman to ticket asap. Then decide if you want to go engine room or bridge. Start working towards a license. Dont waste time is the best advice I can give, upgrade.

If you are working internationally, I can’t see why you’d need a TWIC.

This has been discussed as nauseam. Go to an academy and get your license. You’ll come out with a 3rd officer license and all the credentials you need to sail right away. Yes, it will cost you more and you will not be making money while in school, however the connections you make and speed at which you advance is certainly worth it.


You must have a valid TWIC for your US documents to be valid.

Im in the same boat as you currently - I got accepted to the SIU unlicensed apprentice program (http://www.seafarers.org/jobs/ua.html). Its touted as a good in-road to get started as an entry rating as its free to attend (though there is an initial upfront cost to get your credentials and certs. needed prior to enrollment).

Otherwise ive found the academies are the biggest recommendation by most. I dont know about you, but I did not excel or put in the work so to speak during highschool so my transcript has held me back from getting accepted even though i met SAT/other requirements. From my own experience on this forum and elsewhere searching over the last year ive found it pretty unlikely to find that OS position with all your credentials in order without knowing someone in the company if you have no sea time/experience. Thats why i recommend looking into the SIU program as they will give you the training and sea time to get started.

Good luck man!

@ultspud you could still get accepted to an academy with abysmal grades, even if it’s as a transfer student. Take some math and science classes at a community college and apply. The caliber of students at academies are not as high as you think. Just do the work. It will pay off many times for you in the end. An admissions counselor would love to see someone who did what they needed to do, anything, to get in.

Best of luck to the both of you!