Young Man Seeking High Seas Adventure

I don’t know if this is the right place to put this but here goes.

I’m 19 currently, will be 20 come March 7th. I’ve graduated high school in 2009 and for these two years have been spinning my wheels trying to look for work, or attend college. But that’s not the life for me, I want to get on out there on the ocean blue and see the world, and face the challenges of mariners.

I’ve always wanted to do this ever since I was a boy, when my father who served 20 years in the US Navy and my older brother who served 4 told me stories about far off countries and the things they saw and did. It was some inspiring stuff…

But alas, fate’s really cruel cause I’m restricted from joining the US Navy or Coast Guard due to my asthma which, while it was far worse in childhood, has grown very tame as I grew older. Yet it still restricts me somewhat.

So then I look towards the Merchant Marines, the civilian navy, owned by private shipping companies who are the driving force of trade and commerce between nations. I’ve talked to a retired Merchant Marine Officer once, he told me asthma wouldn’t affect me. In fact, he told me he himself had diabetes and even he got to serve in the Merchant Marines. He said physical fitness would be the only road block to joining.

Now he told me about some academy, or training center somewhere in southern California, I think he said it was in San Pedro or something… I really wish I could recall what he said. I’ve been trying to look into it with little success. Then I went about asking the Coast Guard for information, but they kept referring me to centers that renew current mariner licenses and I’m currently not a mariner, but wish to join the ranks of them.

So to cut this long story short… I’d like to join the Merchant Marines and maybe work on board a freighter or tanker traveling everywhere.

How do I go about doing this?

look at joining MSC or maybe a union for tankers,

it is slow all over but is picking up

you will need a TWIX card, and MMD

there is a physical that is required, it is all on the web site listed below, spend some time looking at the site and feel free to post more questions,

there are academies that take 4 years to graduate I think,

more info is available at

there is also a list of academies somewhere on the NMC web site, a google search for marine academies will work wonders

I’d like to thank you guys, the information you provided was very helpful.

Your young look into the different maritime schools.

We have a whole section of the forum dedicated to each school.

All except PMI with their work boat academy are at least 4 years, but you come out with a 3rd mates license. PMI is 2 years and you come out with a 1600 ton Mates license.

If I was your age and just starting out PMI is were I would start, but that’s me.

PMI is a great program, my little brother went that route.

If you are looking for a little fun you might want to consider a Tall Sailing Ship, no pay but you get food and insurance, I spent 6 months on one,sometimes I wish i were back on them just hanging out 120 feet above the deck on the yards while under way, sailed from philly to maine and back 2 times in 6 months during the summer,learned lots about the deck, ropes, splicing and such, sailed on over 8 different ships, would get off one and the next day get on another, it worked out great