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Working at sea

Although the British-owned fleet has decreased in recent years, there are still job opportunities at sea. These include careers as a seaman or deck officer, engineer, cook or steward. The jobs have varying requirements for qualifications and training. To become a deck or engineering officer usually requires a form of apprenticeship.

Probably the easiest way to make enquiries is through the relevant sector bodies. The Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) [www.mntb.org.uk] is the shipping industry`s body for developing and promoting the training and qualification of seafarers. It lists on its website British training bodies and sponsoring shipowners which recruit new entrants for a career at sea. The Chamber of Shipping [www.british-shipping.org/maritime] is the trade association for British shipowners and ship managers. It tends to be concerned more with larger, ocean-going ships and ferries, whereas the Ship Safe Training Group [www.sstg.org] is a training organisation for a consortium comprising over twenty five shipping companies operating over 300 smaller vessels such as coasters [definition] and oil rig supply vessels.

You can also contact shipping companies direct. The best guide to their addresses is the up-to-date edition of Lloyd`s Register`s List of Shipowners. Major libraries in port cities usually have copies. The MNTB website lists the companies that recruit officer cadets [definition] and ratings [definition] each year.


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