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The shipping industry offers you one of the most diverse and exciting career paths within industries today.

Global trade has expanded tremendously. International economies depend upon shipping for sustainability and growth. As international trade continues to increase worldwide, then the demand for shipping also grows and along with it, increased opportunities to enter this exciting sector.

This will allow you find many exciting and interesting employment opportunities in the shipping industry and not all of them are sea based.

There are plenty of job opportunities ashore that are linked to maritime and shipping operations. These range from back-office functions in shipping companies, jobs in the port sector and logistics operations, legal, accountants, surveyors through to administrative positions in maritime public authorities. For some of these positions it would be an advantage to have spent some time at sea, but many of these job opportunities are also available if you have no prior seafarer experience.

Life on the Seas
As mentioned previously, working on a sea-going vessel is exciting. Your on-board colleagues become like an extended family and these relationships can endure for a lifetime, even after leaving the vessel, especially if you work for a solid shipping company with a fleet of ships around which you can rotate your service. The experience and skills you gain are easily transferred to on-shore operations or to a different industry altogether.

The types of sea-based maritime careers are:

  • Shipping & Transportation
  • Commercial Fishing
  • Cruises & Ferries
  • Offshore Operations
  • Government Operations
  • Science & Research

The list of career opportunities on international shipping vessels is extensive, but essentially they break down into four general categories:

General Crew:
Responsible for the cargo and deck areas, including cargo operations, navigation, berthing and un-berthing operations, ship maintenance and general servicing of all vessel deck equipment, utilities and deck machinery.

Marine Engineer:
Responsible for ensuring the safety of mechanical and structural systems. This job requires good multi-tasking capabilities.

Deck Officer:
Responsible for safely navigating the vessel at sea, including: designing and implementing passage plan, managing navigational watch, monitoring of vessel’s position via location instruments such as electronic charts and radar. Once at port, deck officers are responsible for the orderly flow of cargo from the vessel to dock.

Marine Cook:
Responsible for preparing the meals for the staff on the vessel, including ordering and budgeting everything needed for the galley.

Primarily found on long-haul vessels, responsible for crew accommodations and assisting the marine cook. Usually the steward holds a safety and or medical training certificate.

Land-Based Careers
On-shore careers land-based careers though extensive we have for easy reference used three general categories: shipbuilding and repair, port operations and crossover positions.

Shipbuilding and Repair:
Designing, engineering and construction of new vessels, as well as repair of existing stock.

Port Operations:
Ports are busy and dynamic and can be as exciting as being on the vessels at sea. A wide variety of shipping vessels, cargo, personnel and government officials move in and out of the ports. Additionally, one has to track, monitor and comply with a myriad of international and domestic port regulations.

Careers at port include: passenger and cargo loading, unloading, and distribution, and port security. This includes such positions as: longshoreman, truck and ship loaders, transportation manager, shipping broker, cargo and freight agent, marine engineer, chartering manager, and fleet engineer. A shipping broker position, for instance, will keep you on your edge. To be successful, you must be able to correctly assess current market conditions and predict the future of supply and demand for your company’s cargo. Your analyses can make or break the company—excitement for sure!

Crossover positions are for those who love the field of international shipping however prefer not to spend time on the seas or at port, but instead to work with the many resource services that interact with international shipping companies on a daily basis. Careers include: shipping and receiving clerk, accountant, public relations specialist, maritime lawyer, marine biologist, maritime accounts,  and human resources specialist.

Finding your niche, though, requires careful planning, research, proper education and training, determination and flexibility.

Some useful websites:

Careers Advice

The national on-going campaign to enthuse the young people of today about the maritime opportunities of tomorrow

Skills Development Scotland
Scottish government agency providing career advice and services

Talent Retention Solution
Career guidance and opportunities for those with existing skills

Career Transition Partnership and Regular Forces Employment Agency
Career advice and guidance for those leaving the UK armed forces who are seeking civilian employment. Also for employers looking for a skilled workforce.

Global merchant shipping industry http://www.ics-shipping.org/careers-at-sea/careers-in-shipping


http://www.mapyourcareer.org/maritime/sea-based-careers.html USA site





Universities and Colleges

Newcastle University

University of Southampton

University of Strathclyde Department of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering

Anniesland College

Carnegie College

Cornwall College

Southampton City College

The Plymouth University Technical College

Southampton Solent University


Maritime Studies

Warsash Maritime Academy

City of Glasgow College

Lowestoft College

South Tyneside College

Blackpool and The Fylde College

Professional Bodies

Royal Institution of Naval Architects

The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology

UK Naval Engineering Science & Technology

National Maritime

The Nautical Institute   www.nautinst.org Watch… An introduction to The Nautical Institute www.youtube.com/user/TheNauticalInstitute

Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers 

Global Maritime Job Sites

Jobs in Maritime

Spinnaker Global

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