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The maritime industry is one of the most lucrative in the world and it’s no wonder given that 90% of everything we consume is brought to us by container ship, some of which can carry up to 18,000 containers carrying everything from clothes and electronics to food.

Why then, do so few people consider the maritime industry as a lifelong and fulfilling career? It might be because so few people are aware of exactly what kind of jobs the industry has to offer and how they can gain some ground on the first rung of the ladder.

Let’s start with a simple question: Why choose shipping?

The maritime industry is so much more than ship captains and deckhands, indeed, it’s an industry that has evolved as technology has done likewise. Today, there is an incredibly wide range of roles available within the industry that ranges from safety and management roles to those in social media and marketing.

Shipping is also the most environmentally friendly form of commercial transport, which means that there are plenty of roles available in roles engineered towards furthering the sector’s environmental goals.

But what do some of these jobs actually look like?

Crew – The crew are tasked with cargo operations, berthing and unberthing, as well as ensuring equipment and the vessel itself is well maintained.

Operations – The operations team are the ones who keep everything running reliably and on time. They organise the logistical tasks often associated with shipping and is a route into the industry that’s perfectly suited to junior workers.

Superintendents – This is essentially the next rung up on the ladder and refers to engineers who oversee operations and ensure environmental compliance, undertake surveys of ships and equipment and generally ensure the safety of everyone working at the shipyard.

Design – If you have a history in architecture and design then you might be able to find a way into the industry by designing and modelling. All commercial ships today will be designed initially using virtual tools (software) and then built into a scale ship model.

Cooking – If you are a chef that fancies a life at sea then most ships will have their own marine cook on board to prepare meals and budget for supplies.

Cruising – The cruise industry continues to grow at an incredible pace, with over 400 ships currently in operation across the world carrying millions of passengers every year. Over the next decade, it’s expected to grow even further, so getting in on the ground level as a worker on a cruise ship could be an enticing route into the maritime industry.

What can you do?

Be pragmatic! The first step should always be to simply get a job aboard a ship, but there are a few different routes to consider:-

Working up – The old fashioned way. If you are working on a small vessel then you might be able to get a job as a deckhand and then work your way through the ranks. If you want to work on larger ships, however, you are likely to need proper certifications.

Maritime school – Maritime training academies will include programmes for students of all ages and all skill levels that will train them in the intricacies of life at sea. This is perhaps the most reliable way to get involved in the industry and there will be various tracks to take that should align with your individual goals.

Whatever path you choose to take, there are thousands of opportunities in the maritime industry. So what are you waiting for?

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