mapyourcareer.org The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County

maritime careers overview

“Mariners don’t care what side of the tracks you’re from, where you went to school, what color you are. None of that matters. What matters is how well you do your job and whether you are a good ship mate.” - Richard Berkowitz, Director of the Pacific Coast Operations of the Transportation Institute


Why consider a maritime career?

  • It pays well. Maritime workers sacrifice a lot—but they are fairly reimbursed for those sacrifices, too. The heavy involvement of labor unions in this industry ensures competitive wages and benefits for maritime workers.
  • The local job market is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rapidly increasing international trade means that maritime employment is expected to grow faster than the overall job market in the Puget Sound area.
  • The current labor force is aging. In 2009, the average age of all maritime industry chief engineers was 50.
  • The Puget Sound enjoys a large share of the national market. The Puget Sound is home to more than 250,000 port activity jobs. In 2009, the area generated $10.3 billion worth of maritime-related business. And consider this: the Washington State Ferry system is the largest ferry system in the country.
  • Great career flexibility. "Recent statistics have indicated that today's professionals will change careers at least three times during their working lives. A career in the maritime industry offers such diversity that you can change careers innumerable times and still stay in the same industry." - The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers At Sea.
  • Challenging, hands-on work. Mariners' skills are constantly expanding with numerous opportunities for on-the-job training. And sailors enjoy learning and using the latest technology.
  • Quick advancement for the quick learner. Maritime employers often prefer to promote current workers rather than look outside the fold. Excellent training is available right here in the Puget Sound (and sometimes, your company will even pay for it!).
  • It could be your chance to see the world. Few jobs offer more adventure than jobs at sea.