marine chemist career path

Hi guys,


I have a bachelors and masters in chemistry, and was looking at switching into maritime careers. Not sure how I came across this, but I recently learned about the marine chemist occupation, who works in shipyards inspecting boats. This job sounds appealing to me. Are there any practicing marine chemists out there that could offer insight into the line of work? I cannot see and salary data on glassdoor, cannot find any marine chemists on linkedin (from looking briefly and there are no job advertisements). Is this a low paying job, or what? I make good money in research right now but fuck, I really hate my day to day. I just need an okay paying job to be happy.

It looks like to get into the field, you need to either have a bunch of work in a shipyard, which I don’t have–or you have to just have some lab experience testing materials on ships. I see there is actually some Navy jobs on []( that I may apply to out of interest. One year of experience is all I would need to move into training for one year under licensed marine chemist. There are a couple small analytical labs where I live that offer marine consulting/chemists/analysis, maybe they could fast track me into this career path? So I should also reach out to them and explain my situation and show them my resume?

It is also appealing if this is a field where down the line I can take my skillset and branch out into my own small operation, continuing freelance type work into retirement.

Just trying to reach out and assess the feasibility of these ideas. If there’s a better sub, please let me know. Thanks in advance.

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2 thoughts on “marine chemist career path

  • July 11, 2020 at 12:20 am

    I work as an engineer for a smaller boat company out in Seattle WA, I’ve taken a Shipyard Competent Persons course through Sound Testing and they would be a great company to contact to find out more information about being a marine chemist as a career. From my third person perspective and heresay that I’ve heard through shipyards, the person that started the company was a leading figure in the field and has built a company with a great reputation. I’ve interacted with two marine chemists in particular from the company and have heard great things about the field. I’ve heard pay is great, but the job is for the most part quite demanding. They often make trips across the US and are regularly on call because of the (again, just from what I’ve heard at shipyards) shortage of marine chemists in the US. Also, the job is indeed quite dangerous, as the marine chemist sometimes play the role of the “canary in the coal mine”. The risks are real, but if you have passion for the job you won’t mind it too much.

    I would call their office or send them an email and I certainly know for a fact that they would point you in the right direction on how to pursue such a career as well as answer some basic questions you might have about the field.

    Best of luck on your journey!

    Sound Testing
    Phone: (206)-932-0206

  • July 11, 2020 at 12:20 am

    A Marine Chemist is more of a tradesman than a professional career. Check out I believe NFPA is the largest (only?) certifying body for Marine Chemists in the US. From what I know, basically your only job is to test the atmosphere in certain spaces on ships. Either for entry into confined spaces or for hot work (welding, etc).

    That said, like a compass adjuster, it’s such a niche that I’m sure the pay is okay.

    I’m a Navy certified Gas Free Engineer, which is our shipboard equivalent, but for crew (usually the Chief Officer), it’s just a collateral duty.


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