What is the merchant marine?

Martin Hyde: Feel free to check the link I provided in Post #16.

Ah, I hadn’t seen that. I did look at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s website after posting and noticed they have this to say about graduation:


Known for its rigorous academic program, USMMA requires more credit hours for a baccalaureate degree than any other Federal service academy. This challenging coursework is augmented by the Academy’s Sea year experience, which affords midshipmen the opportunity to acquire hands-on, real-world experiences aboard working commercial vessels sailing to ports around the world. Midshipmen who master this demanding curriculum earn a unique combination of credentials:

[li]An highly-regarded Bachelor of Science degree[/li][li]A U.S. Coast Guard license[/li][li]An officer’s commission in the U.S. Armed Forces[/li][/quote]

It doesn’t say what “class” of license it is, though.

The Merchant Marine is not made up of boats. It is made up of ships that are measured in the number of thousands of tons they can carry. It takes very little to get a certificate to operate a boat. If you want to operate a large ship in the unlimited range the officers are required to have unlimited licenses. Which takes years to get.

You do not volunteer to become part of the Merchant Marine. You look for a job and if you can get hired the you are part of the Merchant Marine.

The steps to get a unlimited master’s, or Chief Engineer’s license takes over 6 years.
!st step would be to get a thirds license. There are two routes to getting a thirds. Thee 1st way sail for 3 years in the different classifications of the department. the 2nd and more common way is 4 years at one of the maritime academies. Then take the Coast Guard test for a thirds license. It is not a easy test. In 1970 I started the test Monday Morning at 8:00 Am went until 4:00 PM each day that week. I finished at 3:00PM on Friday. If you pass the test you are now a third.

after you have sailed 365 days as a senior 3rd you can take the 2nds test. If you pass you can now apply for a job as a 2nd.

after you have sailed 365 days as a 2nd you can take the 1st’s test. If you pass you can now apply for a job as a 1st.

after you have sailed 365 days as a 1st you can take the master’s or Chief Engineer’s test. If you pass you can now apply for a job as a master or Chief Engineer.

For deckies it would be an Unlimited Third Mate.
For the Engineers a Third Assistant Engineer Steam and Motor Vessel any Horsepower.