Looking for summer work in Alaska? Our Summer Mariner Program brings in college-aged people for two or three 24-day trips between May and September for our “summer rush.” This helps our regular crew members get some well-deserved summer vacation time, while giving those interested in trying mariner life a taste for the work and a well-earned paycheck.
The program is not for the faint of heart or the lazy. It is hard work, physically and mentally. You need to be self-motivated and a great team player.
Watch this video to see what it’s like.
You’ll spend about three weeks working and training in Seattle and on the Salish Sea before venturing out on an Aleutian freighter. It’s hard, rigorous training designed to get you ready for a hard, rigorous job. In Seattle, you’ll spend eight hours a day Monday to Friday as a beginning dock worker at $17/hour, picking up the fundamentals of cargo operation. You’ll also spend three to four hours per day on seamanship training, such as knot tying, ship terminology, etc. The training part of the day is paid at either Seattle minimum wage or $15.75/hour.
When possible, we’ll send you on weekend “boomerang trips” where you’ll go out on an outbound freighter on Friday afternoon and transfer at sea to an inbound freighter returning back to the Seattle dock on Sunday or Monday. These two-day boomerang trips give you essential experience in cargo lashing and mooring-line operations. Your evenings and some weekends are up to you. Throughout the training, you'll live on the training boat. We’ll supply your food,but you will be responsible for your own cooking.
The training also usually includes a nine-day voyage on the Salish Sea on our 65-foot steel-hulled training boat, Curlew, where you’ll learn watchstanding, steering, maintenance, etc. Again, you’ll be required to do very hard work. The voyage usually has a small boat expedition associated with it. The Curlew brings along an old-school lifeboat with oars, sails, and limited supplies, but no GPS. We put the trainees in the lifeboat (with an experienced trainer), and then the lifeboat crew has to pilot the lifeboat for three to five days from point X to point Z using old-school navigation skills. You’ll have no engines and support from the outside—real 19th century stuff. The experience toughens our trainees, gives them life-saving knowledge, and turns them into bonavide mariners, not one-trick ponies. Our training is the best because we train the best.
Pay for trainees varies from $300/day for merchant marine academy students to $200/day for persons without maritime experience. A.B.s in the program make $350/day. Transportation is paid for. COVID-19 vaccination and booster required.