About Me

Joining the Merchant Marine

As a midwestern boy, I never knew much about the ocean or about merchant mariners, but then I moved to Florida and soon after that I began to piece together information about what a merchant sailor was and what it meant to “join” the merchant marines.  I first learned what I really needed to know to become a merchant marine sailor within a few days of moving to Florida, but it took me seven long years before I took advantage of that information.

You see, nowdays it’s not like it was in the 1970′s where one could just go down and register for a Z-card and then immediately go find employment.  Now there are many other hurdles.  Regardless of how many certifications you have, BST, TWIC, etc. you are not initially going to be very employable until you are able to upgrade your skills and certifications based on experience, so this creates a real problem for people joining the industry.

So that’s why I decided to put up this website, to help people like you sort out the information available and to point you to one or two genuine and affordable resources that can make your job hunt about seven years shorter than mine was.  You see, when I joined the merchant marines I was looking for a shortcut to make myself employable so I went and got my Z-card and started sailing, but because I wasn’t employable I was only making $18,000 per year and I wasn’t building the kind of seatime on the kind of vessel that I needed to get my next job.  Well I’m here to tell it like it is and help you be able to get to working at a real sailor job as quick and painlessly as possible.

So enjoy the website and if you have more information that you want to ask about then let me know and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.  You can write to me at jason at tugboatjobs.org or you can use the contact us form on the contact us page of the website and if I see your email I’ll respond to your question as soon as I can.  Pay particular attention to the resources I recommend because I am good at evaluating these resources and only recommending the resources that are affordable and can really help you and I only recommend stuff that is a really good deal in terms of the benefits it provides versus it’s cost.

Be careful about buying maritime training and be especially careful about taking out loans to get marine instruction because there are many schools out there that are less than reputable and they’ll leave you high and dry if you’re not careful, in debt up to your ears and still not employable.  There are formulas that work for entering the industry and if you have the time and energy to pay the price you can become a merchant mariner for a few hundred bucks, and have all your expenses paid while doing so, but you have to do it the right way you can’t just go off getting certified in different stuff and then expect that you are going to get hired and be able to start building your seatime and your credentials.  Unfortunately the industry doesn’t work that way anymore.  So make sure to read everything on the site and you’ll be pointed in the right direction.

Oh, and about me, well after a few years I did figure out the right way to become a Merchant Marine and I did it.  I traveled the world making up to $385 per day all expenses paid, took four or five months off each year, traveled on my time off, saw 25 countries, in short, I had a ball and I’d do it all over again.  I worked a lot on tugboats so that’s why I call the page tugboatjobs.org but also I worked on ships and on barges.  Best of luck to you in determining whether being a sailor is right for you and if so how to get a job. For more information you can email me or use the Contact Us form.

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