Many U.S. military veterans transition into the commercial maritime industry following their retirement from service. There are many careers in the commercial maritime industry that are well-suited to military veterans’ training and skills, and veterans often spend long careers as “merchant mariners” in both inshore and offshore waters. Working as a merchant mariner carries risks. While many U.S. military veterans are no strangers to encountering risks on the job, those who transition into careers as merchant mariners must still heed these risks and protect themselves accordingly. Among other things, this means obtaining all necessary training and certifications, knowing how to identify risks on the job and on the water, and knowing how to avoid these risks when necessary. Merchant Mariner Training and Certification Programs Before going into a job as a merchant marine, most veterans will need to obtain job-specific training and certification. The United States is a party to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), which establishes the qualifications for merchant mariners who embark on international voyages. Veterans who are transitioning to careers as merchant mariners must complete STCW training in order to obtain their U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) licenses and other necessary qualifications. There are several maritime academies that offer accredited STCW programs, including: California Maritime Academy Great Lakes Maritime Academy (Michigan) Maine Maritime Academy Massachusetts Maritime Academy State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College Texas Maritime Academy U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (New York) Through STCW training, veterans can obtain […]

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