Tug boats are a common sight in port cities around the US.

Have you ever wondered how people get a job on a boat? Tug boats, cruise ships, water taxis, yachts – boats are all around us, but who runs them?

What you might not know is that the US maritime industry is one of the strongest job markets in the country. The average wage for a mariner in Washington state is $70,800. The west coast maritime industry shows steady, stable growth, with no sign of slowing down.

Capt. Kate McCue of Celebrity Cruise Lines has helped raise awareness of how cool a maritime job can be.

So how do you get into this adventurous, high-paying job market?

In the past, these jobs were hard to get into. You usually had to know someone, or be able to afford the expensive tuition of a Maritime Academy.

The Seafarer Collective is a program of the non-profit maritime organization, Grays Harbor Historical Seaport. The Seafarer Collective’s mission is to provide accessible learning platforms, career mentorship, and crew volunteer opportunities to aspiring mariners. We help participants build skills that will last a lifetime. Our hybrid curriculum grounds modern maritime training in our trade’s traditional roots, and prepares our students for a career on the water today through self-paced online curriculum, mentorship, and volunteer crew opportunities.

How do you know if this career is right for you? There are many different reasons people work on the water, but here are a few common ones:

  • You like to work outside and do something unusual for a job
  • UnCruise Adventures is a company out of Seattle that operates small passenger vessels all over the Pacific. Their crews get to do things like guide hikes and kayaking trips.

    You want to make a lot of money and be able to be promoted for working hard

  • You don’t like office work or a typical 9 to 5 schedule
  • You don’t mind traveling for work, and find the idea exciting
  • You are ok with working in the dark, rain, wind, or snow
  • You feel like you are a practical person who takes pride in being self-reliant
At The Seafarer Collective, we place the power of professional success directly into the hands of our students.  We help participants build skills that will last a lifetime. Our hybrid curriculum grounds modern maritime training in our trade’s traditional roots, and prepares our students for a career on the water today through self-paced online curriculum, mentorship, and volunteer crew opportunities.

TSC’s three distinct educational paths are designed to support mariners at all stages of professional development. From entry-level participants looking to learn more about opportunities on the water, to experienced mariners seeking professional credentials, TSC’s self-paced online content and volunteer crew placement supports maritime careers. Students entering the world of sailing for the first time will join our Entry-Level Merchant Mariner Course or Recreational Marlinspike Course. These students are invited to join a Seafarer Collective training vessel as Volunteer Crew upon completion of the online curriculum. Volunteer Crew phases allow students to solidify the vital hands-on seamanship skills they have begun to build in their online courses, and start to accumulate valuable sea time.

For the more experienced mariner, we have our USCG Approved Online Able Bodied Seaman Certificate Course. Participants are required to have the mandatory sea time for their Domestic AB Endorsement.  At the conclusion of their self-paced online coursework, participants will attend an in-person proctored exam to earn their certificate.  Students work with an online Seafarer Collective Instructor to determine any remaining requirements for their AB application before submitting to the USCG.

Sound good? Scholarships are limited, so apply today! Women, people of color, coastal residents, Washington residents, LGBTQ+ people, and registered tribal members are encouraged to apply.