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What was your certification process like?

Ashley H. (USA) emailed asking,

What was your certification process like?  (I saw online that some lines require medical certificates, Visas, safety certs, Seaman’s books….etc.)

In the Philippines, we are required to go through a seaman’s Basic Safety Course or Safety Of Life At Sea.  After passing that and getting certified, we can get a Seaman’s Book.  Filipino crew are required to have a seaman’s book to work as seafarers.

Some ships may require a Seaman’s Book, but don’t worry about that for now.  First get yourself hired, then if the Seaman’s Book is required, you’ll get help with that.  Some people just get it once they are already working on ships, through the ship’s HR.  That’s right, not everyone working on ships have a seaman’s book.  But that may change if the IMO says so.

And because I have a Philippine passport, pretty much any port I have to fly to to join a ship will require that I get a visa.  But people with U.S. or British or Canadian passports don’t have many travel hassles, I think.  So it will be different for you.

Everybody will need a full medical that shows they are fit to work and travel.

Every time you join a ship, you will go through ship-required training.  It’s free, and they do give certificates for some essential trainings.

At this point, the only things you need to be concerned about are

  • getting the job (which really isn’t difficult),
  • health/fitness requirements, and
  • travel requirements (be sure your passport won’t expire during your contract).