Maritime Industry Info Needed!!!

Hello all,

I’m considering maritime school eventually to become a deck officer and am looking for some feedback on a couple things.

1) I have shoplifting convictions from when I was 16 & 17 years old. Record has been clean since. I wouldn’t graduate until my mid to late 30’s. Is this going to be a major issue for me seeking work in the industry? I certainly don’t want to spend a fortune on school to find out afterwards I’m barred from entry.

2) I’m bad at math and I hear the schooling is math heavy. This makes me extremely nervous as I will be the student who will have to seek full time tutoring for any math requirements. Was anyone else in this situation and did they prevail? How much math is actually used on the job?

I appreciate any feedback, thanks in advance. Cheers!



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3 thoughts on “Maritime Industry Info Needed!!!

  • April 24, 2020 at 10:14 am
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    They ask about felonies and misdemeanors on the license application but I honestly don’t know if they disqualify you or not. I’d call up the National Maritime Center and just ask them directly. Make sure you tell them it was prior to being 18. I think if you mail your application from a federal prison it’d be a hard sell, but something relatively minor like that, especially at that age and having a clean record since, I have a hard time imagining that being a hard no.

    As for the math… yes and no. On the general education side you’re going to have to take college algebra, physics, etc. so be aware of that. On the license track side you’re going to see math mainly in navigation and stability. Navigation is pretty straight forward, it’s mostly arithmetic with a handful of large equations that you basically plug in numbers to (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great-circle_navigation for example. If that seems intimidating, it took me longer to Google that than it did to solve when I was in school. Once somebody shows you it’s extremely simple, don’t let it scare you). Celestial navigation is a little bit more of the same types of things, you use a little bit of trigonometry but it’s still plug and chug. Stability is very similar, just different subject matter. The key with all this stuff is if you sit in the front row and do the homework you’ll be fine. If something doesn’t make sense, stop the teacher and make them explain it again. My license prep instructor put it like this – there are guys out there collecting pensions who can’t write their own name but sailed around the world, no reason you can’t be one of them.

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  • April 24, 2020 at 10:14 am
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    If the shoplifting charge is still on your record, you might need a waiver when going from country to country. When my (Canadian) ship goes to the US, a few guys with records have to present their waivers to customs. These guys mostly have drug and/or drinking and driving charges, and the waivers let them go the USA without problem. If you were fully pardoned from your charge, then you probably won’t even need a waiver.

    I went to school with a couple of fellows in their late 20s and their 30s. Most companies don’t care how old you are as long as you can do the job. Truth is, even if you can’t do the job they’ll still keep you because many companies are starving for crew.

    I suppose it depends on how bad at math you are. For deck officers, the math you will need to do is trigonometry, graphing, interpolation, algebra and arithmetic. In general, the math is no harder than high school math, maybe first year university math. That being said, there are very specific formulas and mathematical functions, such Simpsons’ Rules, Napiers’ rules, and plenty of formulas for stability that you don’t often see outside the marine industry. This might seem intimidating at first, but it is very procedural. For example, a celestial navigation question could take 10 minutes to solve and cover two pages of calculations and drawings, but once you know the process and practiced few times, it’s like filling in the blanks. You don’t need to use any mathematical creativity like in higher level math, just follow the plan step by step.

    About 90% of the math you use in school you will never use on the ship. The only math skill that is essential on a ship is interpolation and arithmetic. It’s hard to describe exactly, but you don’t math per se, but numerical organization. You have to take a bunch of numerical figures and organize them to get a final solution. For example, you burn 20 tonnes of fuel and 3 tonnes of water a day. It takes 50 tonnes to change the draft 1cm of draft midship. A ship at 8.15 metres draft will carry 29,000 tonnes. You have three days before you reach the next port with a minimum depth of 8.20 metres, but the water level is 11 cm higher than normal. The company has a 30cm underkeel clearance limit, the ship squats about 5cm at slow speed, and the Captain wants you to load 2cm light as a safety margin. How deep can you load and how many tonnes will that be? To solve this, you are only using basic arithmetic, but you need to organize the data you have and solve it bit by bit.

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  • April 24, 2020 at 10:14 am
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    😂 It’s a pre-requisite for UK seafarers. I wouldn’t worry, but I’ve no idea where the US is concerned

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