If you have ever been interested in getting paid, while seeing the world at the same time, a career in maritime might be for you.
There are numerous different maritime industry segments, so the first thing to do when considering a life at sea is to choose what kind of boat you would like to work on.
Some of the most common pathways into a career in maritime include:
- Ferries & Cruises
- Cargo Shipping
- Naval Ships
- Fishing & Ecology
- Racing & Deliveries
The maritime industry segments differ drastically, and aside from completely different lifestyles, some provide much greater opportunities for travel than others.
Regardless of what industry segment and position you decide on, the global Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) dictates that the following two certifications are required, as a minimum, by all commercial seamen:
ENG1 Medical Certificate
The ENG1 is a basic medical examination set by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) to assess whether individuals are fit to work on a seagoing vessel and perform duties at sea. You’ll need an ENG1 if you’re in charge of a ship (a captain), serving on a merchant ship, or a seafarer.Read more.
STCW 95 Certificate
Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers was introduced in 1978 to promote safety of life and property at sea. STCW Basic Training, as it is known, shows that the holder has achieved a minimum standard of safety training required to work on a commercial vessel.Read more.
The ENG1 medical and STCW 95 certificates are the basic requirement for all who wish to complete paid work at sea. While the ENG1 is just a basic medical test, the STCW 95 is slightly more intense, hands on sea survival training.
It is important to note that MLC requires additional training, skills and experience for certain positions, such as captains and engineers, but if you wish to begin a career in maritime, then securing the STCW and ENG1 certificates is the perfect start.
Along with STCW courses, Barcelona Sea Academy also provides the following specialty training courses for deck and interior crew:
But if you are like me, and want to commandeer whichever boat you end up on, consider training to complete an RYA captains license examination.
I completed the Yachtmaster exam with MT Sail & Power, and recommend them as a family run RYA training centre with experienced and professional instructors.
Still not sure if a life at sea is right for you?
Look at some of the positives and negatives of being a sailor.
- Generous tips and salaries
- There is usually a permanent chef on board
- Living expenses are often nil
- Working outside in the sun
- Opportunities to see new places
- Healthy lifestyle on offer
- Making lifelong friends and contacts
- Constantly learning
- Rewarding and exciting work
- Working in a team environment
- Physically demanding work
- Long days, often 12 hours or more
- Limited or no days off during long contracts
- Possibility of living/working with a bad crew
- Possibility of having nasty owners/guests
- Spending many days at sea gets tiring
- Life at sea is dangerous
- Sleeping in big waves is horrible
- Long time away from home/friends/family
- Hangovers induce sea sickness
Don’t wait for tomorrow to do the things you love.