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Studies & Degrees in Maritime Transportation

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Maritime transportation actually means water transportation, and is involved with the movement of significant amounts of cargo or passengers between countries and continents through the use of merchant ships, tugboats, ferries, barges, offshore supply vessels, cruise ships, etc. This suggests that a degree related to maritime transportation would equip you with the skills to operate, maintain or manage such a waterborne craft.

Workers engaged in maritime transportation can either supervise the operation of the vessel, or take full command of it. These workers have to ensure that all procedures and safety measures are followed, as well as regularly check whether equipment and machinery are in good order. They are also responsible for managing the movement of cargo and passengers from and to the ship, ferry, etc.  Another responsibility maritime workers have is to keep logs and control pollution caused, while the captain also decides on the speed and direction of the vessel.

Personal Qualities

Very organized personality, able to follow direction and work under pressure would suit such a profession. Other qualities include:

  • A love of sea travel, as most of the time will be spent off-board
  • Good attention to detail
  • Time-management skills
  • Ability to solve problems under pressure
  • Great physical condition
  • Willingness to stay away from home for long periods of time

Study Options

There are two ways you can go if you wish to be involved in maritime transportation. One is to be an ordinary seaman, or a deckhand, for which occupations you do not need any specific qualification. Normally only a few days of training are required, including first aid and firefighting.

On the other hand, if you are aiming at higher-paid jobs, such as deck officer, engineer, or even captain, you would need to graduate from a maritime academy. The academies normally offer a four-year education, which results in a Bachelor of Science degree and a license as a third mate, or a third engineer. In order to achieve more advanced positions, a great number of years experience is required, and possibly further education.

Career Options

The career outlook for jobs in maritime transportation is very good, and the number of jobs offered is expected to grow above average. Just so you have an idea, a typical deep-sea merchant ship has a captain, three deck officers or mates, a chief engineer, and three assistant engineers. To give you a fuller picture of what you could do, the occupation of ship engineers involves the repair, maintenance and constant observation of engines, boilers, generators, pumps, and other machinery. The captain and the mates constantly employ charts and navigation aids to determine the direction and speed of the vessel. In such a case, you would also be responsible to manage the cargo loads and ensure that they are placed according to regulations. On the other hand, the occupation of the pilot is to guide ships in and out of harbors, while sailors and deckhands take care of the deck equipment and over watch for other vessels.