New career path? Question on how to help my son

Hoping someone can help. My son is 18(almost 19) and has sea time on a tall ship on the great lakes as well as working as a deckhand on a ferry and time on our family boat. He is in college now and looking for a maritime career. I am trying to help him along. He also is working on his EMT. In February he will get his 100 ton Master. What else could I help him with to establish a career? I am unclear what credentials he should pursue or how the path progresses. Any advice would be appreciated!

What degree is he currently pursuing, he should transfer to a maritime college while he’s not to far into the degree if that would be something he wants.


He is at a Community College. We are in RI and it is free so his plan is to transfer to Maine Maritime after 2 years

If he’s from RI might want to look into Northeast Maritime in Fairhaven Ma. Taken several courses there and I’m impressed with the facilities and teachers. Not just death by PowerPoint. Now offering a really good associates program. If he’s sticking to the tallships might be the way to go.

Mass Maritime is also a good option too being that it’s also right next door. Graduate with a Unlimited License and can add his sail endorsement. Very rare nowadays to hold an Unlimited Master Steam, Motor, Sail. Good luck to him.

Tell him to go into computer science and learn AI because we are all going to be replaced in 20 years.

Seafaring as a career is a dead man walking.


Most academies require at least three full years of attendance including two summer cruises.

He should apply to academies as a freshman for next year.

Find out what community college courses the academies might accept for transfer credit, possibly pre-calc, humanities, etc. Calc, physics and engineering courses would be good prep for the academy, but I doubt he’d get any transfer credit for them.

It sounds like you have a good plan. RI is considered “In state” with regards to tuition cost so that is a plus. @tugsailor is correct in that your son must be in training there for a minimum of three years in order to get his U.S. Coast Guard license. That said, have your son take as many classes he can that are eligible for transfer. It should make for a easier course load and allow him to take more electives or an additional major. Either way he will have to be there 3 years for training even if he could finish his course work for a BS degree sooner.

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I am not American or familiar with the American lisencing system.

If your son is young. By far the best way is the way is to apply for and attend a recognized Marine school program. He will get recognized respected work, training and experience through the program along with a reduced sea time requirement. Taking years of the time required.

In Canada and many other countries the marine schools refer to it as a cadet program. It leads to full STCW certification. Georgian Collage, Memorial and BCIT all have both deck and engineering programs.

You can also work your way up from deck hand but the sea time required will take a lot longer.

Again not sure about the American system. The Canadian system leads to chief mate and 2n class unlimited certificates. The schools provide the education for the higher level exams. The Seatime between certificates is still required but the education to pursue them is taken care off.

In the meantime contact the schools to find out entry requirements and if grades are a bit short. Take some math classes.

Not sure about US but low level certificates are 10 a penny here. Higher level are like as rare as rocking horse shit. If you got one are young and keen companies will line up to offer a good job.