What Are Merchant Marine Jobs? What Do They Do?

There are different types of merchant marine jobs available, where you work in different sectors of a ship. Learn What Merchant Marine Jobs Are, What They Do

Merchant marine jobs differ based on role and the department they work in. You can work in the engine, deckhand, and food departments. 

It is worth saying that the merchant marine career is a land of opportunities for people who are looking for the best-paying jobs and want to travel across the sea. 

This article will cover what merchant mariner jobs are, their duties, and the requirements to get a job.

What Are Merchant Marine Jobs?

Merchant marine jobs are where a person works in a specific sector or ship’s department. Their role and duties positively impact a ship’s operation as they carry out some of the important tasks and assist the senior engineers and workers.

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What types of ships do merchant mariners work on

What types of ships do merchant mariners work on?

As their name indicates, merchant mariner work in ships whose sole purpose is for commercial usage. That means a merchant marine can work in ships that carry both products/goods and passengers. 

Let’s find a few ship categories where you’ll find marine merchant jobs easily. 

  • Container Ship
  • Oil Tanker
  • Bulk Carrier
  • Reefer Vessels 
  • Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships
  • Ferries 
  • Cruise ships

If you’re willing to secure a job as a merchant mariner, you’re more likely to work in any of these ships! 

What Are The Job Roles For Merchant Mariner?

There are many job positions available for a merchant mariner. First, let’s know the department where most merchant mariner work, and then we’ll discuss the job roles. 

Department merchant mariners work in: 

  • Steward’s department

As people working on a ship don’t have any access to food in the middle of the sea, they recruit people for their food supply/cooking. You can work as a professional chef in any ship’s steward department. 

  • Deck department

Various types of professionals work in the deck department. Their most common duty of theirs is to inspect, maintain & fix equipment, navigate the ship/vessel, look after deck crew members and their tasks, oversee the loading and unloading process, etc.  

  • Engine department

Professionals working in the engine department are in charge of operating, troubleshooting and maintaining the engine, electric generators, pumps and boilers. 

Please note that these two departments are where most merchant mariners work, but their roles aren’t limited to these departments. Depending on the companies, there could be other departments where merchant mariners work.

Qualifications Required For Merchant Marine Jobs

Qualifications Required For Merchant Marine Jobs

In terms of qualifications, you must fulfill a range of criteria to secure a merchant marine job. 

Let’s see what the qualifications required for marine merchant jobs are: 

  • Education

You must have the minimum educational qualifications to get a job as a merchant mariner. Different levels of educational qualification are sought for different roles.

For entry-level jobs, a high school or college-level education is enough. Additionally, graduating from university is essential for captain, engineering, and senior roles.

  • Get TWIC (Transportation Worker Identity Card)

The TWIC or transportation worker identity card is a must-have for every individual seeking jobs in marine merchant positions. The Transportation Security Administration of the USA will issue this card. 

This identity card will give you access to all the ports and marine facilities. This card will check your background, criminal history, immigration status and assess security threats. 

  • Drug tests and medical examinations

Many employers will conduct drug and medical tests before offering a full-time position. In this case, employers will pay for the expenses. On the contrary, some employers might want you to show proof of drug and medical tests; in such stances, you’ll have to do the tests at your own expense. 

  • Get Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)

Finally, you’ll need a merchant mariner credential (MMC) from the United States Coast Guard. This documentation is also a must-have for all the crew members of a merchant ship. 

Merchant mariner credential comes with a five(5) years validity, and if you want to continue your work in this sector, you’re obliged to renew your MMC after five years. 

  • Certifications

Like other industries, having certifications means being an expert (or at least more knowledge)in certain fields; among many, you can consider getting Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio operator and Lifeboatman certifications, as many employers look for these two certifications.

Urgently Hiring Merchant Marine Jobs at Chittagong, Chittagong


Do I Need To Attend Marine Training programs?

It completely depends on the employers. Some employers would rather have candidates with maritime training programs than a high school diploma or GED because, in training programs, they get hands-on experience of what they’ll do in their job. 

Skills Needed For Merchant Marine Jobs

Skills Needed For Merchant Marine Jobs

No matter where or which position you work as a mariner, there’s no scope to ignore the importance of skills. Along with academic credentials, you should also have a few skills before you enjoy life at the ocean. 

Some of the most important skills for merchant mariner jobs.

  • Problem solving & Decision making

While working in the marine industry, you’ll encounter many unexpected situations and scenarios. To alleviate the problems, you must be an expert when it comes to problem solving and making decisions. 

  • Physical Strength

Whether you work in an entry-level deckhand role or as a ship captain, every job in the marine industry is physically demanding. You’ve to stand for long hours, work hanging, throw mooring lines, etc. That’s why being physically fit is mandatory, 

  • Time management

You might think you’ll stay on board for months and 24/7 and can do the tasks whenever you want! Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen in this industry. Rather, you must maintain your time and complete the assigned tasks within your shift. 

  • Organizational skills

Although organizational skill is beneficial for every crew member on a ship, but this skill is mostly sought for mid and high-level jobs where a person or professional needs to maintain a team.

Is a Merchant Mariner A Good Career?

Yes! This merchant mariner or marine transportation industry is an excellent career path; if you are passionate about traveling, and earning a high wage, then there can’t be any better alternatives!