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So You Want To Work On A Boat

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  • So You Want To Work On A Boat

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    ‘Just wanted to share some news about a book that covers employment on the water. The book is called So You Want to Work on a Boat. It's a practical guide for finding jobs, what to expect on a job, how to keep a job in a tough economy, and more. The book outlines the maritime industry and presents the pros and cons of working as a commercial mariner. It describes the various jobs and titles that arise on inland and ocean-going vessels, as well as the places where applicants should direct their efforts.

    The book isn’t devoted specifically to any one particular sector of maritime employment. It is more of a general guide, which covers jobs on the water as a whole… including tugboats, ferries, ocean-going cargo vessels, research vessels, cruise ships, fishing vessels, etc. It discusses how to get hired, and provides templates for professional mariner resumes and cover letters.

    It discusses how to prepare for the interview process. The book also covers some of the burdensome and costly aspects of entering the field, such as MMCs, TWICs, and STCW certification. It includes lists of employers, including operators of container ships, towing vessels, OSVs, ferries, water taxis, research vessels, cruise ships, and dredging companies. It also covers government employers. A chapter is devoted to practical maritime law for commercial mariners, included the unjust criminalization of seamanship or judgmental errors of professional mariners. It also touches upon laws and legal concepts that are important for commercial mariners to know.

    The book also covers educational resources, including maritime academies, community colleges, private institutions and union schools. Since the industry isn't for everyone, the book touches upon employment opportunities within the maritime community that do not require going to sea in the service of a vessel. These areas include shipyards, marine insurance, surveying, maritime security, cargo operations, and more.

    One of the good things about the book is that it doesn’t act as a cheerleader for pursuing work on commercial vessels, whether offshore supply vessels or container ships. It more or less presents facts and allows readers to make their own decisions. Many veteran mariners today speak of not wanting their kids to follow in their footsteps. Things have changed a lot in the industry. More of the commercial mariners’ errors in judgment have become criminalized under more aggressive legislation, meaning that it’s easier to go to jail for an error in seamanship than it was in the past.

    It also costs more to break into the maritime industry than in the past, with the emergence of new credentialing measures. Still, the industry continues to be a draw for candidates who are willing to take their chances in a difficult industry to embark upon a career path that could someday yield an ocean license or an inland 1600 ton license and the possibility of providing a good standard of living for one’s family. The book also addresses the fact that there are sectors of employment in the maritime industry that do not require going to sea.

    Probably the best thing to do is to form one’s own judgments after learning as much as possible. Going to sea can seem enticing, offering the possibilities of attractive wages and adventure, but it isn’t for everyone. It can involve a lifestyle that some find too regimented, too lacking in privacy, too void of contact with loved ones, and too expensive to break into. Not everyone who goes to sea finds it exciting, lucrative, and rewarding. Some do and some don’t. It can depend on one’s age, attitudes, resilience for new challenges and possibly hardships. It can depend on the good fortune of running across good shipmates, a good ship, and prevailing safety philosophies. Add to that a healthy measure of luck!

    The book is featured on and

    It is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Createspace -