How to Join the Merchant Marines

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The Merchant Marines have been around longer than the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy. During the revolutionary war, a group of mariners took action after hearing of the success at Lexington. Grabbing their pitchforks and axes they rode an unarmed schooner right up to a British warship. They captured the ship and gave birth to the U.S. Merchant Marines.

Request an application by calling the Merchant Marines headquarters. You can also download an application from their "How to Apply" webpage, or you can complete it directly online. March 1 is the deadline, but start this process early, as this affects your join date.

Sfter you've completed the application, contact your senator if you want to join the Merchant Marines as an officer. Go to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and review their nomination webpage. Receive an interview. You'll be competing with other people from your state for a limited number of slots.

Wait for your senator's office to inform you of your nomination status. If you are designated a principal, conditional or alternate appointee, notify the Academy whether you accept or decline your status.

Join the Merchant Marines through the normal hiring process. Attend maritime-related training. Apply for a position just as you would a regular job. Submit a resume, cover letter and references.

Wait a week, as their human resources department gets many applications. Call and ask if the department has received your resume. Find out what you can do to increase your chances of landing a particular job.