Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path In 2022?

Over the past decade, work in maritime transportation has exploded. As international trade grows, so does the need for sea transportation services. Before diving into a profession in this area, there are a few key considerations you should give some thought to.

Shipping items or people from one location to another is one example of marine transportation. All types of watercraft such as passenger liners, freight ships, ferries, and tugboats are included. Commercial shipping and military transport are the two primary modes of waterborne movement.

Goods and people are carried from one country to another via commercial sea transport. Transportation of military personnel and supplies using naval means.

Working in the marine transportation industry comes with a number of perks. To begin with, you will be compensated fairly for your abilities and expertise. You’ll get to work in a wide range of settings, from urban to rural to coastal to inland, and you’ll find that every setting offers something new and exciting. Last but not least, you’ll be able to take advantage of wonderful chances to learn and develop your career.

Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path In 2022?
Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path In 2022?

What Is Marine Transportation?

The term “marine transportation” refers to any method that uses waterways to move passengers and cargo. Long-distance delivery of raw goods like crude oil, cereals, coal, etc. is typically accomplished by ship.

Over $1 trillion in annual trade and nearly 1 million jobs are supported by the marine transportation industry in the United States. Additionally, the marine transportation industry contributes over $1 billion in annual tax revenue from diesel fuel tax on inland barges that transport freight along the nation’s rivers and fuel taxes on ocean-going vessels entering American ports.

Many high-paying positions may be found in the marine transportation business, which is currently one of the most sought-after sectors. In this industry, there is a broad variety of job opportunities and room for advancement, so finding a job is not too difficult.

What Do Marine Transportation Workers Do?

In your daily life, you likely purchase items that were manufactured in a variety of different nations. The maritime transportation sector is the unsung hero that brings you the goods you use every day without even thinking about it.

Alternatively, you may ride a ferry to get to work or rent a boat for the afternoon. These are additional job duties that may be found in the maritime industry.

Marine transportation employees, also known as water transportation workers or merchant marines, are responsible for running and maintaining the vessels that transport passengers and freight along the world’s waterways. Workers in the maritime industry pilot ships that transport customers, goods, or both.

It is the responsibility of maritime professionals to ensure the safe arrival of their ships at their destination, regardless of whether they are sailing the open seas or via confined waterways.

This implies that every ship has a wide variety of occupations accessible, increasing your odds of landing excellent employment. There are many employment available on the open seas for people of all skill levels and educational backgrounds.

What Jobs Can I Find In Marine Transportation?

As was previously said, the maritime transportation business offers a wide variety of work options. To begin, though, let’s think about the classic marine jobs. To begin, there are the sailors, who are responsible for keeping the ship running smoothly, managing the deck machinery, loading and unloading cargo, and keeping a constant lookout for danger.

Professionals known as “marine oilers” are responsible for keeping the engine room in ship shape. Under the watchful eye of an engineer, they grease the engine’s moving components, check the gauges, make repairs, and plan preventative upkeep. The building, maintenance, and furnishing of ships all fall within the purview of boat builders and shipwrights.

Working as a wholesaler, importer, or exporter in the marine transportation industry is another option in this sector. They are in charge of the management and administration of businesses engaged in international trade (export, import, and wholesale). In this industry, you may anticipate seeking out new local and global business prospects, developing and implementing strategic initiatives, and coordinating product and order fulfillment with distributors and suppliers.

Work in maritime transportation is another option. You will be in charge of overseeing the daily operations of various watercraft and shipping vessels. In addition to these, numerous additional possibilities exist, including;

  • Marine welders
  • Shipping agents
  • Marine engineers
  • Maritime brokers
  • Ship chandlers
  • Deep-sea divers
  • Ferry workers/Port manager
  • Transport commissioners
  • Ship captains

These are just a handful of the many options open to you if a career in marine transportation is what you’re aiming for.

Marine Engineer Job

What Is The Average Salary For Marine Transportation Jobs?

The average salary in this field is greater than in most others. In the United States, the median compensation for those working in maritime transportation is $89,113 per year, with entry-level roles typically paying $75,000.

Expert workers may anticipate earning somewhere around $118,000 per year.

Marine Transportation Job Outlook

There will be a lot of new job openings in the years leading up to 2030, with projections indicating an increase of 12 per cent. There are promising prospects for those who operate motorboats and serve as captains.

These are the two most important factors that make maritime transportation an attractive profession.

Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path?

Employment in the marine transportation industry may be quite satisfying because of the high wages, variety of work options, and the possibility of seeing the world. You may enter the company at the bottom and work your way up as you gather experience. Exciting opportunities to see the world and discover new places await you on the high seas.

In the process of doing so, you will be exposed to a broad variety of cultures and cuisines from across the world.

Working in this sector of the economy will provide you with possibilities such as:

  • Potential for accelerated professional growth
  • Flexibility in your career
  • The opportunity to be part of a tight-knit team
  • Travel possibilities
  • Adventure
  • Outdoor living

What Does It Take To Work In Maritime Transportation?

It’s critical to keep in mind that the Marine business is physically and emotionally demanding while thinking about a career there.

The labor can be demanding, and you may be exposed to hazardous conditions, unpleasant temperatures, and unpleasant sanitation. For this reason, working long hours in inclement weather necessitates a high degree of physical fitness and endurance.

Having good eyesight and hearing will also come in handy since these skills will help you navigate through stormy seas and spot potential dangers like pirates and icebergs. Good problem-solving and decision-making skills, especially under pressure, are also desirable.

Although these traits may appear difficult, they are essential for a successful maritime career. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you might want to think twice about entering the marine business because of the preponderance of men there.

Professional advancement sometimes necessitates formal education, technical proficiency, and work experience related to one’s chosen field of study.

Crew workers in this industry need to have strong manual dexterity and balance to navigate confined quarters and slippery floors. To obtain their MMC, Mariners must first pass both hearing and vision exams. To guarantee they have positive interactions with their guests, motorboat operators should have strong customer service abilities.

Do You Need A Degree To Work In Marine Transportation?

Many positions in the maritime transportation sector, however, do not need formal education and may be picked up through on-the-job training alone. Marine welders, for example, need to learn their trade through an apprenticeship program and on-the-job training.

However, if you want to move up the career ladder and earn more money, a degree from a reputable university or college would open more doors for you. Degrees from merchant marine academies may be highly sought after by potential employers. Bachelor’s degrees and the Merchant Mariner Credential are available via these academies.

Successful graduates are eligible for ensign commissions in the United States Merchant Marine Reserve, United States Coast Guard Reserve, and United States Navy Reserve. Entry-level mariners normally train on the job for six months to a year.

The size and complexity of the vessel and the canal one will be operating on determining how long training will take. For instance, a worker who is interested in working on a vessel that operates in the open ocean would require more training than workers who will be employed on ships that operate in rivers.

Education For Marine Transportation Careers

If you want to advance in your profession or enter a higher-level position in this industry, earning a degree is essential. There are a wide variety of degree programs from which to pick to meet the educational needs of any given profession.

B.S. in Marine Transportation

This degree program prepares students to operate ships on land and at sea, including cargo ships, cruise liners, and container ships.

In addition to educating apprentices on how to conduct themselves and live on the wide seas, marine transportation degree programs often focus on nautical disciplines and fundamental engineering principles.

Four Year Programs

Some of the best places to get a degree or certification in maritime transportation are listed below. These programs normally last four years and award Bachelor’s degrees in fields including maritime transportation, maritime logistics, marine engineering, marine science, and others.

You may get your maritime career off to a great start by enrolling in one of these programs. Courses might include a wide range of topics, from science to navigation to ship safety to maritime law. You may jump the queue for entry-level jobs and go straight to a higher-paying, higher-skilled career.

Naval architects, Port engineers, and port captains are some of the most in-demand professionals among those who study maritime transportation. While all of these do need more schooling, the high median wages make them worthwhile.

Two Year And Certificate Programs

Since our main interest is in providing access to associate degree programs and vocational schools, we made sure to include such options. Here are several programs that can be completed in two years and will prepare you for a successful career.

The ideal school for you will depend on your interests since each of these institutions provides a unique set of certificate and degree options.

  • Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
  • Seattle Central College
  • Ingalls Apprentice School
  • Newport News Apprentice School
Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path
Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path?

What Abilities Should You Have to Succeed in the Marine Transportation Industry?

Maritime employees need a wide variety of practical abilities to do their tasks in spite of the hostile atmosphere and harsh conditions they frequently encounter at work.

Abilities Relating to Mechanical Devices

Knowing how to use tools and do minor repairs is useful, so learning some mechanics is a good idea. All crew members, but especially those assigned to vital sections like the engine room, should be mechanically savvy. Physical strength and mechanical aptitude go hand in hand since both are needed to load and unload the ship, as well as to move cargo throughout the ship.

Ability to Communicate and Deal with Others

You’ll need to be able to get along well with others. Working in the marine business may provide opportunities to see the world and meet people from all walks of life.

Because of the wide variety of individuals, you will be interacting with on the job, it is essential that you develop strong interpersonal skills. Being a good listener will serve you well in determining what others need and providing satisfactory satisfaction in return. You should try to keep your cool in tense situations, whether they involve coworkers or complete strangers.

Fantastic foresight

Anyone interested in a job in maritime transportation must have excellent eyesight. Having good eyesight is essential for your daily tasks on board. Good eyesight on the part of the pilot, for instance, is essential for scanning the horizon swiftly and safely docking the ship, especially in congested harbors.

A visual exam is performed prior to certification since having good eyesight is a requirement in the profession.


Coordination of hand and eye is another important trait for those considering a career in marine transport.

Steering the ships requires officers and pilots to keep their eyes on the horizon displays on the dashboard at all times while using a number of buttons at once. Coordination is also important for engineers and sailors to do their jobs and move equipment around. This ability is especially useful while operating in situations when the ship is subject to motion due to strong waves or other unfavorable weather.

It is common practice for crewmen on commercial ships and fishing boats to communicate vocally while passing on orders. If the fishing line on a boat gets tangled, for instance, the crew has to talk to each other to untangle it and salvage the catch. Therefore, the ability to hear is so essential in this industry that a hearing test is required for licensing.

How To Get A Job In The Marine Transportation Sector?

Getting an internship or summer job in the marine transportation business is a great way to get a feel for the field if you’re thinking about making it your career. Deckhand positions on fishing boats and ferries are a good place to start.

Make use of your time here by meeting and talking to individuals in the maritime industry and learning as much as you can from them.

You should brush up on your math and science skills in preparation for the sailing course’s entrance test if you’re planning on pursuing a more advanced professional path. Before committing to a course, it’s important to consider whether or not the material will hold your attention over the long haul.

Apprenticeships and other maritime training programs can provide you with the experience and knowledge you need to get a foot in the door. It’s possible to pursue a career in marine transportation with little more than some technical instruction at a trade school or via on-the-job experience.

There may also be medical checks and drug screenings performed before you begin work. A career in marine transportation is still one of the greatest options in today’s work market, regardless of whether you go for formal schooling or learn on the job.

Advantages Of Working In Maritime Transportation

Despite the obvious downside of being away from loved ones, a job at sea might provide opportunities for financial success that other professions would not.

Outstanding Pay

Workers in the maritime transportation industry enjoy greater pay than those in many other fields. These earnings may be exempt from taxation, giving you more room to put money away toward your goals. As food and housing are provided for you while at sea, you can save money for other purposes.

Gain Valuable Experience in a Specialized Field

Many people’s day consists of sitting at a desk at an office from 9 to 5. The marine sector, by contrast, offers a refreshingly varied and dynamic work environment. As a bonus, you get to interact with individuals of all cultural backgrounds and experience things that other professions might not provide.

You Are Making A Difference With Your Work

More than 90 percent of global products are moved by water, making maritime transport crucial to the global economy. To that end, the fate of international trade rests in the hands of the mariners who must carry these products.

With It, You Can See The Whole World

Despite the fact that contemporary ships have tighter timetables and spend less time in port, those who work in the maritime business get to visit fascinating cities and countries all over the globe. As a result of working in this field, you will be able to travel the world and see its many cultures, as well as enjoy its many delicious cuisines.

Extensive Vacation Time

Working in maritime transportation might require extensive time away from loved ones. However, this is not always a drawback because of the extended time off that is provided. Seafarers are eligible for up to four months of annual leave. As a result, you may use the extra vacation time to strengthen your ties with your family and friends.

Possibility of Success in the Long Term

Working in marine transportation can help you develop transferable abilities like leadership and organization that might be valuable in a variety of careers.

In addition, having worked on the seas will offer you an edge when applying for positions on land, as employers there will appreciate your shown ability to handle the physical and mental demands of your previous employment.

Disadvantages Of Working In Maritime Transportation

Although there are numerous potential upsides to working in this field, there are also many potential downsides.


A crew member’s mental health can take a serious hit when at sea due to the hazards they face every day. Those who aren’t mentally and physically strong will not last long in this setting.

Risks May Exist

There are several ways in which a crew member might get an injury while on the job. This can occur, for instance, if a crew member gets seasick, slips and falls on a damp surface, or is injured while carrying heavy supplies.

The fear of piracy is also quite serious for marine transport employees As they travel on the open sea. Because of this, they are vulnerable to pirates who may board their ships, seize their crew, and hold them for ransom.

Situations with Lots of Pressure

Even while there is space for success in some of these settings, the majority of individuals may find that they are extremely difficult since there is no tolerance for mistakes. Since injuries or even death can occur from mistakes made when at sea, this is very important.

Restricted Interactions With Close Relatives and Friends

When you’re working long hours on a ship, it might be difficult to find time to keep in touch with loved ones on land. Because of your absence for long periods of time, family and friendship ties may suffer.

Potentially Serious Health Effects

Illnesses spread rapidly among crew members when they are cooped up together for long periods of time, which can have disastrous consequences if the crew members are unable to get medical attention. For instance, if the ship’s water supply is tainted, the whole crew might get ill and be unable to maintain control of the ship.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Money Can I Make With A Career In Marine Transport?

It’s been shown that salaries in the maritime transportation industry are often higher than the national average.
In the United States, the median compensation for those working in maritime transportation is $89,113 per year, with entry-level roles typically paying $75,000.
Expert workers may anticipate earning somewhere around $118,000 per year.

What Are The Best Jobs In Marine Transport?

Some of the greatest and highest paying occupations in the maritime transportation business are reserved for those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, such as ship captain, naval architect, or marine engineer.

What Are The Three Types Of Marine Transportation?

Ships, ferries, and barges are all examples of vessels that fall under this umbrella term.

Does Marine Transportation Require A Board Exam?

Yes, in some situations you will be required to take a board test, such as the Marine Deck Officers Board Exam.

What Skills Do You Need To Have A Successful Career At Sea?

To succeed in this line of employment, you’ll need to be physically healthy, socially adept, and mentally robust. Your individual function in the crew will determine what other abilities you’ll need.

What Are Entry Level Marine Transportation Jobs That Require No Education?

Many entry-level jobs don’t need formal schooling and instead provide on-the-job instruction. There may be less money involved, but if you desire long-term stability, these occupations are for you.
Examples of typical entry-level jobs include:
1. Cook
2. Ship fitter
3. Sailors
4. Oilers
5. Wiper
6. Welders
7. Deckhand/Deck cadet
These are the entry-level positions available in the maritime transportation sector that don’t need a college degree.

Conclusion – Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path?

Those who are interested in maritime traffic might want to consider working in marine transportation as a profession. It’s a great profession to get into because there are so many chances and places to work in. As the global population rises and more goods need to be sent from one location to another, the marine transportation business is expected to flourish.

You may make decent money, see the world, and interact with interesting people by working in the maritime transportation industry.