Working as a Mariner

Welcome Future Mariner! 


A maritime career can provide you with a wonderful life full of adventure and financial security which very few other vocations can match.

Professional mariners love their job; make a lot of money, have a lot of time off and as a bonus can travel the world if they wish.

Currently, about 60 percent of our maritime workforce is over 50 years old and will be retiring soon. This means that the job market in the next 10 years will be excellent for the individuals interested in making a living on a boat or ship.  The maritime industry needs you.


Maritime Work Schedules:

In maritime, a crew member goes to work on a vessel for weeks or months at a time . . . but then has time off for weeks or months at a time. 

For example; a typical towboat pushing barges on the inland waterways may work a schedule of 20 days on the boat followed by 10 days off.  An offshore supply boat may work 28 days on and then 14 days off.  Big ships may work 2 months on and then 1 month off.  How many careers allow for 1/3 of the year for vacation?


Maritime Compensation:

Whereas, a deckhand may start at $125.00 per day it does not take long to start moving up the ladder working towards the Captain’s seat.  The average towboat Captain in the Houston Ship Channel is making about $100,000.00 per year.  Even more money can be made offshore.


1. You must be the right kind of person.  It is entirely up to you.

If you are “the right kind of person” you will be very well rewarded with financial compensation many times the national average and a quality of life most people can only dream of.

Conversely, if you are not “the right kind of person” the maritime industry does not need you, does not want you and will not keep you. It is a Zero Tolerance industry.

2. You must be willing to do what you are told, when you are told to do it and how you are told to do it – the first time.

The only way that the Captain can count on you to do the right thing in an emergency situation is if he or she sees you doing the right thing every minute of every day.  If your captain cannot count on you every minute of every day, they will not keep you on the boat.

3. You must stay out of trouble. 

There is an extensive (FBI) TWIC background check to even get the job.  Once you are hired, your Captain and your company see everything.  Recently, there was a crew member here in Houston fired because he was not paying attention in a safety class.  U.S. Coast Guard monitors and watches everything as well.  If you get into trouble in your personal life – on land – the Coast Guard can and will suspend and/or revoke your maritime license and you are out of a job, a $100,000.00 per year job.

4. You must be willing to go away for weeks or months at a time. 

You will likely miss birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, holidays and more.

5. You must be the kind of person who can get along with everyone. 

A boat crew, even on a 1000 foot oil tanker, is a small group of individuals.  A personality conflict or a personal prejudice in a company of 5000 employees is a relatively minor problem.  A personality problem on a boat with 4 to 40 crew is a much larger issue and will usually cost someone their job.

6. You must be willing to put down the cell phone and iPad while you are on watch.

You will be “on watch” 8 to 12 hours a day.  What happens if you have headphones in your ears when an engine alarm sounds?  The first time the Captain sees you on watch, on deck with headphones in your ears will probably be your last day on the boat.  “Off watch” is a different story, except for being available in case of emergency; your time is your own.  Cell phones (if you are in range), iPods, iPads, gaming systems, laptops are usually all permitted.

7. You must be willing to study and learn.

Each step up the ladder, as required by the U.S. Coast Guard, each promotion, requires sea time plus class work.  During your entire career you will intermittently be required to attend various classes.  Hint: Pay particular attention to science and math in high school.

All of the above being said, a maritime career can provide you with a wonderful life full of adventure and financial security. 

If you are the “right kind of person” and this sounds like a lifestyle you’d like to have, please fill out our online application here.