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The Maritime Industry

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Summary: Job options for those contemplating a career in the maritime industry.

An overview of occupations in the maritime industry and what they entail.

For some people, nothing compares to the sights, sounds, and smells of the open sea. If you are one of these people, a career in the maritime industry may be perfect for you.

Career Overview
Most seafaring jobs are obtained through unions. A person has to join a union to get available jobs. Those that work in maritime often spend a lot of time away from home and depending on their position, can earn anywhere from $13,000 to $65,000 a year.
Seamen can be either men or women. They are responsible for engine repair, storage, and preparation of cargo and deck equipment. They also help with arrivals and departures, watch for objects in a ship's path, steer the ship, and perform general maintenance duties. Mechanical knowledge and ability are useful skills for this job.
The government usually requires seafaring workers to obtain seamen's papers. These include a health certificate from a doctor, proof of citizenship, a passport photograph, and a written recommendation from a maritime training school or a ship union.
Competition for seamen's jobs is tough. The salary is from $20,000 to $45,000 a year. Health insurance, life insurance, and retirement benefits are offered to employees. Seamen may be away from home for long periods of time. But they have the opportunity to travel all over the world.
Other Maritime Careers
Maritime careers offer many exciting opportunities, but some of these jobs require further education, training, and experience. Most of the following jobs offer benefits such as health and life insurance and paid sick and vacation days. Many of these jobs are unionized.
Merchant Marine Radio Officers
Merchant marine radio officers are responsible for the operation, repair, and maintenance of radios aboard merchant marine ships. These vessels are commercial ships owned by the government or by individuals. Merchant marine radio officers provide communication with other vessels and with people on land.
To become a radio officer, training and radio licensing through technical or training schools are required. The salary range is from $20,000 to $45,000 a year.
Merchant Marine Captains/Officers
Merchant marine captains and officers provide the leadership for operating a merchant marine ship at sea. A four-year college degree is necessary to become a captain or officer. Specialized training at naval academies or Coast Guard facilities is required to understand and coordinate the operation of a large seafaring vessel. The salary range is from $40,000 to $65,000 a year. The best way to begin this career is by contacting naval academies or Coast Guard facilities for more information.
Marina Workers
Marina workers do a variety of jobs, including docking, refueling, and repairing boats and providing weather information and advice on boating and safety procedures. Marina workers generally need a high school diploma. Work is seasonal. You can apply in person at your local marina. The salary range is from $13,000 to $20,000 a year.
Dock Workers
Dock workers, car loaders, and longshoremen load and unload cargo at dock areas. Both men and women can hold these jobs. Physical strength and endurance are necessary. Most of this work is done outdoors and requires knowledge and operation of heavy machinery.
For these jobs, a high school diploma is preferred. On-the-job training is given to new employees. The salary range is from $15,000 to $45,000 a year.
Merchant Marine Engineers
Merchant marine engineers are responsible for the operation, repair, and maintenance of ships' engines. Specialized mechanical training at a naval training school is needed to learn these skills. You will be required to work below deck for long periods of time. The salary range for merchant marine engineers is from $30,000 to $45,000 a year.
Merchant Marine Pursers
Merchant marine pursers complete paperwork and other clerical tasks involved in the operation of a ship. Their duties include keeping records of the ship's accounts and payroll and providing special services to passengers and crew. The salary range for pursers is from $15,000 to $25,000 a year.
Commercial Fishermen
Commercial fishermen and fisherwomen use large nets to catch fish at night and during the day. They sell their catches to local restaurants and food companies.
This job involves long hours, hard physical work, and extreme weather conditions. Wages are based on supply and demand and can vary drastically from year to year. In a good year, those who earn their living catching fish can make $25,000. In a bad year, however, a fisherman or fisherwoman may make only half of that amount. Nonetheless, for people who love it, there's no other way of life.
Questions to Ask Yourself

1) Would you enjoy being away from home for long periods of time?
2) What types of high school courses might be useful for a maritime career?
3) What kinds of boats would you like to work with?
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