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New program connects youth with thriving industry

June 5, 2018

Posted in: Youth Programs and Job Training & Education

The maritime industry has a vast presence in our community and a bright future with a large number of mariners reaching retirement age during the next several years. Seattle Goodwill's new Youth Maritime Program is a great opportunity to explore a promising career. We asked members of the Seattle Maritime Academy a number of questions about the industry. Check out their responses below.

Q: What is maritime and how is it represented in Seattle and our state?

A: Maritime means connected with the sea, especially in relation to seafaring commercial or military activity. All six sectors of maritime are present in Seattle and Washington state.

  • Passenger water transportation
  • Maritime support services
  • Maritime logistics & shipping  
  • Fishing & seafood processing  
  • Boat & ship building  
  • Recreational boating  

Q: What type of job opportunities are there in the maritime industry?

A: At sea, job opportunities include:

  • Sailors, or deckhands (operate and maintain the vessel and deck equipment.)
  • Ship engineers (operate and maintain a vessel’s propulsion system.)
  • Marine oilers (work in the engine room, helping the engineers keep the propulsion system in working order.)
  • Motorboat operators (run small, motor-driven boats that only carry a few passengers.)

Ashore, job opportunities include:

Shipbuilding and repair (engineering, design and construction of new vessels and ship repair as well.)

  • Rigger (set up or repair rigging for construction projects)
  • Ship Fitter (lay out materials for manufacturing)
  • Painter or Construction Laborer
  • Welder, Plumber, Electrician, Machinist, or Diesel Mechanic
  • CNC Operator (operate computer-controlled machines)
  • Marine Engineer (design and evaluate marine vessels)

Port operations (cargo and passenger loading, unloading and distribution, fish processing, port security, tugboat guidance, spill cleanup and more.)

  • Port Security Officer
  • Longshoreman and Freight Movers
  • Bridge and Lock Tenders
  • Harbor Truckers and Truck and Ship Loaders
  • Cargo and Freight Agents and Clerk

Shore-based crossover positions:

  • Clerks and Warehouse Workers
  • Office Assistants and Receptionists
  • Marine Underwriters (reviews applications for insurance)
  • Systems Analysts

Q: What does the future look like for the maritime industry in relation to job opportunity?

A: The future of the maritime industry is bright! On its current trajectory, today’s workforce will fail to meet the future demand of our industry. The average age of maritime workers in Washington state is 54. Water-transportation workers face an impending mass retirement of almost a third of the workforce. Overall, the maritime industry projects a job shortage of 150,000 mariners by 2025.

Q: What is the average salary of a maritime worker?

A: The annual average salary before benefits for maritime industry employees is $70,800 — more than $20,000 above the average wage in Washington!

Q: What type of education is necessary for a maritime career?

A: This depends on the maritime position you want to pursue. There are a variety of training resources depending on the maritime job you desire.

Career and technical educational certificate programs:

Basic Safety Training & STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping):

Four-Year Maritime Institutions (Seven in the United States):

  1. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
  2. California Maritime Academy
  3. Great Lakes Maritime Academy
  4. Maine Maritime Academy
  5. Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  6. SUNY Maritime College
  7. Texas A&M Maritime Academy

Q: What would you say to someone who is considering a maritime career but has never been on the water?

A: “While a maritime career can often be strenuous, with long stretches away from home, it can be incredibly rewarding if you decide it’s the lifestyle for you. It offers numerous opportunities that are unavailable in any other field of work.” – Thomas Crotty, Seattle Maritime Academy

A: “If you have an adventurous spirit, this career is for you!” – Mark Pickett, Seattle Maritime Academy Simulator Operator & Vessel Captain

A: “The positives of a career in maritime are: extended time off, good pay/benefits, developing a diverse skill set (i.e. safety, technical, interpersonal, managerial), time to plan (your life), short daily commute, tangible job satisfaction (high level every trip). The negatives of a maritime career are: extended time away from family and sometimes challenging personalities.” -Rick Kenney, Seattle Maritime Academy Engineering Instructor

A: “Working at sea on passenger vessels was the best job and growing experience of my life. At first it was difficult to adjust to limited phone access and internet, but it was ultimately very freeing to disconnect. Working with a diverse crew, traveling the world and providing an excellent shipboard experience was all highly rewarding.” – Whitney Moore, Youth Maritime Collaborative Coordinator

A: “Being a sailor and going to sea is a whirlwind adventure full of amazing sites, cultures and friendships. The sacrifice of leaving a life at home may be difficult at first but the life experience you gain and the future you’re building will be prosperous and rewarding. Set sail and discover for yourself!” – Seattle Maritime Instructor Erik Davis 

Q: What are some rewarding aspects about a maritime career?

A: Below are some benefits to a career in maritime:

  • Possible extensive travel
  • Long time off in between contracts so you can pursue other interests & take long vacations
  • It provides a generous pay scale
  • It’s easy to save money while you’re at sea
  • You get to meet a wide range of people from all over the world
  • A great sense of accomplishment
  • Some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see!
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