Merchant Mariner

Now accepting applications for summer programs

Apply by May 17 to meet the priority deadline. Applications received after the deadline may still be considered if there is space available. 

Important things to know before applying:

  • Students must be logged in to their district account to submit an application
  • Applications take 15-20 minutes to complete
  • Students will be asked to provide contact information for themselves and a parent/guardian
  • Programs have age requirements, please review details before applying

Apply now

Through the Merchant Mariner summer program students gain hands-on experience and begin developing the skills necessary for a career working on freighters, oil tankers, tugs, ferries, cruise ships, and fishing boats. The program prepares students for a career with a livable wage in the international realm of transporting goods across the globe.

Students learn deep water survival skills by entering a life raft in a pool

There are three job categories for a merchant mariner:

  1. Deck: securing ship cargo, navigating the vessel, and general maintenance of the ship
  2. Engine Room: maintaining mechanical systems (hydraulics, electrical, propulsion, etc.)
  3. Steward: cooking for the crew and cleaning indoor areas

Students will:

  • Learn shipboard firefighting procedures
  • Learn how to deploy and survive on life rafts
  • Learn first aid and gain general awareness of personal safety
  • Participate in 5 days of field trips to explore career opportunities

With the Merchant Marine credential earned through this program, numerous employment opportunities become available, including: tug boats, the Washington State ferry system, the Seafarers International Union (deep water ships) and fishing boats in Alaska.

Students train to fight fires during the Merchant Marine Certification Program

After Graduation:  

The Seafarers International Union (SIU) offers a full apprenticeship program and is eager to hire Merchant Mariner graduates. SIU provides all future training opportunities for career advancement and connects you with jobs for the duration of your time in the union. Salaries at SIU start at about $4,000 per month and increase as you gain experience. The SIU Apprenticeship covers training, food, lodging, etc. Apply to the SIU Apprenticeship now.

Additionally, JobCore offers additional training opportunities for the maritime industry. All JobCore training is free for Tacoma graduates and includes food, lodging, and more.

Summer 2024 Program Details

  • Application deadline: May 17 is the priority deadline. Applications received after the deadline may be considered if there is space.
  • Program datesJuly 1-16 (M-F, no class July 3-5) 
  • Meeting location: Hunt Middle School
  • Notification of selected applicants: early June
  • Approximate hours to complete: 80
  • Certification(s) offered: Merchant Mariner Card (MMC) which includes Basic Safety and Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (VPDSD); Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC); Financial Literacy through EverFi
  • Completion stipend: $500 (upon successful completion of all program components)
  • Credits toward graduation: 0.5 CTE Credits
  • Total spots available: 18
  • Special considerations for this program:
    • Mandatory drug test and physical exam
    • State or federally-issued ID (United States Coast Guard requirement)
    • Must be at least 17 years old to receive certifications. Younger students may apply but are not eligible to earn certifications.
  • For additional information, please contact Jeff Klancke:

Merchant Mariner Careers by the Numbers