When someone decides to join the merchant marine it usually starts with a love of the sea.
The smell of the salt air and the openness of the waters gives you a sense of freedom even as you are aboard a ship looking out over the vastness of the ocean. Merchant mariners are a vital and respected part of our naval history. Not only are they committed to moving goods from one far-flung place to another there is also a rich history of their wartime efforts.
The men and women in the merchant marine are dedicated to serving and work tirelessly. During times of peace, they are integral to our vast shipping system around the world. During times of war, they become an auxiliary arm of our Navy that helps move troops and goods where needed. The work of merchant marine is vital during both times.
There is pride that is felt among these mariners and they know that they are part of something bigger than themselves. The crew members work closely together and relationships of trust and respect are built. When you have a large group of men and women aboard of ship for weeks, sometimes months, you learn to depend on one another. There is a camaraderie that is created out of this that is unique and valuable.
The merchant marine came before the U.S. Navy or the Coast Guard. They are vital to national security and shipping industry. They cross the world’s oceans, lakes and inland waters. From the Revolutionary War to today merchant mariners have traversed the world’s waters and their history is rich. A merchant mariner knows from the first step that they take on board ship that they are part of that history.
Being a merchant mariner requires education, skills and a commitment to excellence that is not always found in other careers. The path to becoming a merchant mariner involves time and energy, You also come to understand that you are taking steps to live out your dream.
Deciding on a career in the merchant marine means that you are offering yourself and your time to a long-lasting promise of excellence and service. It’s not always an easy job but the rewards outweigh the difficulties. You will always be challenged and you will learn things about yourself. You have the opportunity to apply all that you learned on your journey to join the merchant marine. At the end of the day, you will also have pride in a job well done.
Being a merchant mariner means that you are ready to take your place in naval history and to carry on the tradition of sailors that came before you.