Merchant Marine Jobs

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Cruise ship lines offer great benefits and perks to their employees. Pay increases with the job and experience. Concessionaire companies also hire for cruise ship jobs with commissions on sales and the perk of living on a ship and seeing exotic ports.

Each maritime job has its own benefits and promotion tracks. Even if the pay is low at the start, the benefits and adventure of the job may make up for that.

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Types and Description of Cruise Line Jobs

A cruise ship can be floating and cruising in the water for days and weeks carrying passengers that are out for a good time. But what makes a cruise successful for these passengers? Is it the good facilities? The good sites? The cruise pleasure and experience? Or the people working to give the best service in a cruise ship?

All of these are considered in what we can call a good cruise along with the people that are in the ship. A ship can also be considered as a small city as a community is formed with in it. Strangers become friends, crews and clients interact and workers becomes tourists. Yes, workers on a cruise doesn’t just work all the time, they do enjoy and have fun as well as they are a part of that community. You too can be a part of the community wherein you are paid to travel. To give you a general idea of the types of cruise ship careers at cruise lines, here are a few detailed job description, qualifications and duties:

Cruise Ship Entertainment Jobs

Almost always synonymous with “cruise staff”, these positions are considered most glamorous jobs on the ship and are the most in demand career. Cruise ship entertainment jobs deals with anything relating to passengers entertainment. This may include hosts and hostesses, cruise director jobs and staff, performers, disc jockeys, cruise ship musician, shore excursion staff and swimming instructors.

Cruise Ship Deck and Engineering Jobs

Responsible for maintaining and running the vessel, this department doesn’t usually accept entry-level positions and mostly only experienced merchant marines that include maintenance workers, deckhands, engineers and ship officers who are in charge of passenger safety. It is their task to sail the ship, maintain the ship performance and physical state and keep it in accordance with fleet regulations and international maritime laws.

Cruise Ship Service Jobs

Jobs on this department are concerned with managing the restaurants, bars and passenger cabins, as well as shipboard retail concessions like souvenir and gift shops. They are the ones who serves food, beverages or any kind of product that can generate them a good amount of tip from the passenger. The ship’s treasurer in charge of passenger accounts, currency exchange, ticketing and more, also called the purser, are also included in this category.

Cruise Ship Personal Care/Service Jobs

Fitness, beauty, spa and medical services are included in this category. This are very important jobs in a cruise ship since most passengers signed up for a cruise to enjoy themselves, relax, be comfortable and pamper themselves and the medical department are to render services in times of medical emergencies like simple cuts and bruises, allergies and being sea sick.

Cruise Ship Office Jobs

Office positions are generally for employees who works in the main office or branch arranging cruises, managing accounts or performing general office work onshore. Positions like administrative assistants, sales/marketing staff, clerical workers and booking agents are some of the jobs available in this category.

Different cruise lines uses different categories or department for the cruise jobs that are needed in their ships but the listed jobs above are the most used categories.

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Ordinary Seaman (O.S.)

If you’re just staring out on the maritime industry, this is the bottom rung on the ladder. In families long in boating tradition, children usually start in this job and work their way up to becoming the owner of the ship. Job duties include guarding the ship while in port, doing routine maintenance both at port and while at sea, and generally taking commands from everyone else in the ship! As an ordinary seaman, you’ll find yourself doing tasks like painting and mopping while you learn the ins and outs of running the ship.

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Mariner Career and Job Description

Water transportation workers—known on commercial ships as merchant mariners—perform services that help provide mass local and international cargo and passenger transportation. Merchant mariners operate and maintain numerous types of watercraft, including tugboats, dredges, towboats, ferries, deep-sea merchant ships and excursion vessels. These vessels provide transportation services on rivers, canals, the Great Lakes, Oceans, within harbors and on other bodies of water.

Ships and water vessels on both domestic and international bodies of water are supervised or commanded by pilots, captains and mates. The chief commander and supervisor of a water vessel’s crew and operations are called a captain or master. A captain or master decides on the appropriate course and velocity for their vessel. They also monitor their craft’s position using navigational charts and instruments, and maneuver the ship to avoid potential hazards. Captains supervise crew members who perform basic operational tasks, which include steering the vessel, operating its engines, determining its location, performing maintenance, handling lines, operating equipment and communicating with other vessels. With the assistance of department heads, captains ensure the safe and proper operation of the vessel; verify the proper working order of equipment and machinery, and direct passenger and cargo loading procedures. In addition to these tasks, captains and department heads keep careful records of their ship’s movements, the cargo and passengers transported and efforts taken to control pollution.

Routine vessel operations are directed by deck officers or mates, who stand watch for defined periods that are typically 4 hours on and 8 hours off. In the case of some small vessels that have only one mate, the captain and the mate (sometimes called a pilot) alternate watches. If the captain becomes incapacitated, the mate takes full command of the vessel. On ships that operate with more than one mate, different mates are referred to as first (or chief) mate, second mate, third mate and so forth. Mates help direct the crew’s activities, such as maintenance and upkeep operations. Mates also ensure proper loading procedures by inspecting cargo holds during loading.

Pilots are responsible for steering ships through confined waterways, such as harbors, rivers and through straits. In such areas, pilots provide vital knowledge of local water conditions, including depths, currents, wind, tides and hazards, such as shoals and reefs. On river and canal watercrafts, pilots—like mates—are generally regular crew members. Harbor pilots normally work on an independent contract basis, often guiding numerous ships each day as they enter and exit port. Motorboat operators transport small groups of people (6 or less) on fishing charters. They operate small, motor-powered watercrafts. Motorboat operators also perform other tasks, such as taking depth soundings in turning basins and providing liaison services between ships, ships and shores, harbors and beaches or on area patrol.

Watercraft machinery such as pumps, boilers, generators and engines are maintained, repaired and operated by ship engineers. Most merchant marine vessels employ a chief engineer along with three assistant engineers, whose job it is to stand periodic watches to monitor the safety of engine and machinery operations.

Under the supervision of the ship’s engineering officers, marine oilers and more experienced qualified members of the engine department (QMEDs), work in the engine spaces below deck to maintain the craft’s proper running order. This work involves lubricating the numerous moving parts of the engines and motors, including bearings, gears and shafts. Marine oilers and QMEDs also read temperature and pressure gauges, record data and occasionally help with machinery repairs and adjustments.

The ships officers supervise sailors, who are responsible for maintaining the proper condition of non-engineering areas and for operating the vessel and its deck equipment. Sailors act as lookouts for possible hazards as well as for buoys, lighthouses and other navigational tools. Other sailor tasks include measuring water depth in shallow water, steering the shift and operating and maintaining such deck equipment as anchors, lifeboats and cargo-handling gear. Vessels that transport liquid freight employ pumpmen, who operate pumps, clean tanks and hook up hoses. Pumpmen also work on tugboats and other tow vessels, connecting, inspecting and ultimately disconnecting towed vessels. Pumpmen also handle lines at docking, and perform other general tasks, such as chipping rust, repairing lines and cleaning and painting various parts of the ship. Oceangoing vessels refer to experienced sailors as able seamen, while inland-waters vessels refer to them as deckhands. On large vessels, there is frequently a head seaman, called a boatswain.

The average deep-sea merchant ship crew consists of a captain, three mates or deck officers, a chief engineer with three assistants, a radio operator and at least six unlicensed seaman, such as cooks, oilers, QMEDs and able seamen. The exact number of crewmembers for each voyage depends on the ship’s size and the services it provides. Crews on some small harbor, river and coastal vessels consist only of a captain and a single deckhand. In such cases, the deckhand is generally responsible for cooking.

Crews on larger coastal ships may consist of a captain, a pilot or mate, an engineer and seven or eight seamen. Entry-level apprentice trainees sometimes receive special unlicensed positions, such as electrician, full-time cook or mechanic. Cruise ships employ bedroom stewards who clean passenger living quarters.

Merchant mariners are generally hired on a voyage to voyage basis, often remaining at sea for months at a time. There is no guarantee of continuous work, and the time merchant mariners spend between voyages depends both on personal preference and on job availability.

About 24 percent of merchant mariners belong to unions, a significantly higher proportion than the national average for all occupations. Because of the large union influence, merchant marine officers and seamen who are not hired directly by shipping companies are generally hired for voyages though union hiring halls. Union hiring halls cater to both beginning and veteran merchant mariners, and fill open positions according to who has been out of work the longest. Hiring halls are generally located at major seaports.

Marine mariners generally stand watch 7 days a week in 4-hours-on/8-hours-off shifts. Workers on Great Lakes ships do not work when the lakes are frozen in the winter, but work 60-days-on/30-days-off the rest of the year. Year-round routes are more common for those who work in harbors, on rivers and on canals. These workers may work regular 8-12 hour shifts, returning home daily. Other workers alternate steady periods (weeks or months) of work with extended off time. These workers alternate between 6 or 12 hours of on duty and 6 or 12 hours of off duty. Small vessels generally offer workers steady employment on one ship.

Water transportation workers work in all types of weather. Despite efforts to avoid severe storms during a voyage, it is impossible for merchant mariners to completely avoid working in cold, damp conditions. Although modern ships are rarely subject to major disasters (fires, explosions, sinking, etc.), workers must still be prepared to abandon shift in case of a collision or other emergency. Serious injury or death can also result from falling overboard or from dangers involved with operating machinery and handling heavy and hazardous cargo. Despite these risks, modern merchant mariners face significantly less danger than their predecessors due to advanced emergency communications, effective international rescue systems and modern safety management procedures.

The majority of new watercrafts are equipped with comfortable living quarters, air conditioning and soundproofing from loud machinery. These conveniences help reduce the strain of being away from home for long periods. Mariners also benefit from modern communications technology, such as email, which allows them to easily keep in touch with family. In spite of these amenities, however, the confinement of the ship and the long periods away from home cause some mariners to leave the industry for other occupations.

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Mullen Praises Merchant Marine Academy Graduates

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2010 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praised the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s Class of 2010 yesterday, urging the 198 graduating mariners to live their institution’s motto, “Acta Non Verba,” or “Deeds, not words.”

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen spoke at the academy’s commencement exercises in Kings Point, N.Y.

“Five decades in uniform has taught me it’s not what people say, it’s what they do,” Mullen said. “And by choosing to serve, you already began a life with purpose and consequences, not just at Kings Point, but around the world.

“Soon, most of you will be commissioned as ensigns in the naval reserve,” he continued, “many serving in the Merchant Marine — a vital resource upon which our nation has long depended in peace time and in war.”

The chairman cited examples from U.S. military history and security and peace contributions of recent academy graduates. He noted the 142 merchant mariners killed in World War II, as well as academy graduates who gave their lives serving with other military branches in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“A big part of the heritage of this institution is remembering those who have been tested the most when it mattered most,” Mullen said. “All of those on the roll of honor died for us, and I pray that they rest content.”

Merchant Marine Academy graduates support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the chairman noted, and they help to conduct humanitarian missions such as this year’s earthquake-relief operations in Haiti. “Our military, our nation, and even the world owe the United States Merchant Marine a huge debt of gratitude,” he added.

Upon receiving their commissions, the graduating midshipmen became part of the more than 2 million people who make up the U.S. armed forces, the greatest military in the history of the world, Mullen said.

Sixty-five graduates accepted active-duty commissions in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. Five will serve in the Army National Guard, while the rest will serve in the Navy Reserve. The class also included seven graduates from Panama.

All of the graduates earned a bachelor of science degree while undergoing rigorous sea training, which included more than 400 days of work study at sea with various Navy and Coast Guard vessels. Nine graduates served aboard ships in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I’m grateful for each and every service and each and every one of you raising your right hand to serve … our military,” Mullen said. “[Today’s military] and their families are the best I’ve ever seen. Not a day goes by when I’m not proud of the sacrifices they continue to make. And we are entrusting their safety, their welfare, and, quite literally, their lives to your leadership.”

Despite the obstacles the graduates overcame over the past four years, many more challenges lie ahead, the chairman said. “There are many more tests to come, and next time it won’t be in the classroom,” he told them.

Mullen’s advice for the graduates was to stay engaged in all aspects of their service and lives to keep pace and lead within the sea services’ ever-changing mission. America’s maritime mission has been tested and is trusted, “but times have changed,” he said.

“Who would have predicted our missile defense system of choice would come not from land-based sites, but from destroyers and cruisers?” he asked. “Who would have predicted that some of our counterpiracy solutions would not come from the sea, but from aid workers and counterinsurgency experts in villages, helping locals to meet basic needs, finding meaningful, nonviolent employment for young men?”

The chairman underscored those changes, noting one thing that’s remained consistent among the sea services and military: “We are here to help,” he said.

“The global partnerships we keep, those we work so hard to process through our deeds, drive our nation’s security strategy, and they provide the kind of presence and support essential to confronting challenges before they lead to conflict,” he said. “I offer to you that we gain more, become collectively stronger, culturally richer and infinitely wiser by what we learn from others.”

Mullen cited the importance of maintaining and building international partnerships. Whether talking about Afghanistan, Africa or inlet seas, he said, no service or country can be successful alone.

“As you head out in the world to sail, fly, fight and build partnerships on the leading edge of change, I know that you will remember deeds, not words, matter most,” he said. “Hold fast to your parents’ values and your mariner traditions. Embrace your life’s next test, and remember that we cannot control or capture hearts and minds. We must engage them — we must listen to them one heart and one mind at a time, over time.”

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is funded by the Transportation Department’s Maritime Administration. The academy’s midshipmen study marine engineering, navigation, ship administration, maritime law and other areas important to managing a large ship.

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Merchant Marine Jobs Overview

Tour Boat Jobs: Tour boats provide the perfect opportunity for work if you love people and enjoy showing others how to have a great time on a vacation. These tour boat jobs are usually in exotic locations on the coast, at certain islands, or any country with lots of marine life to display. Tour boat jobs can include snorkeling instructors and crew, scuba diving instructors and crew, shark cage diving instructors and crew, sport fishing, water skiing, historical tours and more. You can apply for a job if you have a specific skill like SCUBA diving that you can teach others, if you are a tour guide, deckhand, able seaman, engineer, cook, fisherman, or if you just love the tourist life aboard a small vessel. Getting tour boat jobs might sound difficult, but when you become a member, you will soon find out exactly what you need to do to get the best tour boat maritime jobs.

Ferry Boat Jobs: Working on a ferry is a job that can be rewarding and perfect if you don’t want to travel far from home. Your hours will be moderately normal, working from morning and then leaving the boat to go home at night. There are lots of ferry boat jobs such as seaman, deckhand, storage, captain, engineer, oiler, and more, if you live in a region along the water.

Luxury Yacht Jobs: If you love the high life, then finding yourself a luxury yacht job may be just what you are looking for. Imagine going to work on board a stunning yacht that belongs to Richard Branson or your favorite movie star? These well paying jobs are just waiting for you to apply! Whether you are a captain, mate, deckhand, galley crew or gourmet chef, you can have the best life possible sailing the seas to exotic destinations and meeting amazing people.

Cruise Line Jobs: There are tons of cruise ship jobs available in our members section, so don’t hesitate. No matter what kind of job you want aboard a cruise liner, you can find it here. If you work on the deck department, in the engine room, entertainment staff, restaurant staff, hotel staff, galley staff, or spa staff, or shop staff, you will definitely find a job at any of the major cruise line companies. This job is brilliant if you want to travel the world and explore other countries while you work at sea. You will get paid well, and be away from home for weeks or months at a time depending on the itinerary of the cruise liner. Some fantastic destinations that await include the Western Caribbean islands of Bora Bora, Tahiti, and Moorea; European countries of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Sicily, Malta, Greece, and France; and more.

The Types of Merchant Marine Jobs

No matter what kind of vessel you work on, there are some regular maritime jobs that you can apply for once you are certified and have received a qualification from a maritime school or academy. These include the navigational jobs of captain or skipper, 1st, 2nd and 3rd mate, and able seaman. They are responsible for the safe keeping of everyone on board the vessel and need to have in depth knowledge of all marine terminology and the workings of a ship. The deckhands are also required to have certification and are mainly responsible for the repairs, cleaning and maintenance on the vessel. The oiler will be in charge of the keeping the engine and equipment lubricated and in good working order, while the engine department jobs of chief engineer, dde (designated duty engineer), assistant engineer and engineer all need specific qualifications for working on a vessel. Join as a member now to learn more about other maritime jobs and how you can work at sea.

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Introduction to Maritime and Merchant Marine Jobs

There are hundreds of different maritime jobs that one can find, and while working on board a ship may be your idea of a perfect working vacation, you must also realize that this type of work is tough. Cruise ship jobs may be the first thing you think of when we talk about maritime jobs, but there are lots of other jobs that you can find on a ship, such as:

  • Tour boat jobs
  • Ferry boat jobs
  • Luxury yacht jobs
  • Cargo container ship jobs
  • Oil tanker jobs

These are just some of the great paying and exciting jobs that you can get as a seafarer working all over the world. With each type of maritime or merchant marine job, there are different skill sets that you will need to learn and certain qualifications that you have to have in order to apply. The main thing you will need to know when you apply for a job aboard any vessel is the marine terminology and how things work on a ship. When you order the video you will have unlimited access to the best maritime jobs available, and to the largest database of unique jobs at sea that you won’t find anywhere else on the internet.

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Merchant Marine Jobs | Nature of the Work

Engineers in the merchant marine monitor and maintain ships’ machinery, especially the engines that propel the vessels. They work on all kinds of ships, although most merchant marine ships are freighters or tankers that carry cargo.

Chief engineers supervise the seamen in engine departments and are responsible for main power plants and their auxiliary equipment. In addition, chief engineers direct and keep records of the repair and maintenance of the ships’ equipment.

First assistant engineers are in charge of starting, stopping, and controlling the speed of the engines. Second assistant engineers are responsible for the fuel and water aboard ships, including all boilers and pumps. Third assistant engineers are in charge of lubrication systems and, on some ships, refrigeration and electrical equipment.

Engine departments have several other types of workers. Firers and water tenders check the flow of oil and water in the ships’ oil-burning equipment and boilers. Oilers lubricate the moving parts in the mechanical equipment, while wipers clean engine rooms and the machinery.

Education and Training Requirements
Ship engineers start out as third assistant engineers and work their way up the ranks. Some third assistant engineers get their licenses without formal training: workers who have had three years of experience in engine rooms may take the licensing test if they are older than nineteen. However, the test is so difficult that few applicants pass it without formal training. That is why most ship engineers are graduates of approved training programs.

Graduates of marine academies receive U.S. Coast Guard licenses as third assistant engineers along with their bachelor’s degrees. In school they take courses in marine steam systems and diesel engines. The marine academies in the United States include the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and state academies in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Texas.

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