To become a seafarer depends on different factors of your current situation. Factors like age, status, profession, reason, and more. There are multiple ways to become one, but in this post I will be sharing how I became a mariner or seafarer myself.
As an Electronics Engineer, my chances of becoming a mariner depends on what position I will choose to perform on-board the ship. The most viable and easiest one in my case is to become an Electro Technical Officer. I could also pursue to become a Marine Engineer but it would take longer time and more money to spend. So what steps did I take to become a qualified Electro Technical Officer?
- I took trainings for electrical technicians. You may wonder why I need to take that, it’s because my expertise is in the field of electronics, and even though the basic principles of electronics and electrical are the same, there are other electrical things that I need to know in order to perform well as an Electro Technical Officer. By the way, I took my training at MFI Technological Institute or popularly know as MERALCO Foundation Incorporated.
- Apply for Passport and SIRB (Seafarer’s Identification Record Book or Seaman’s Book). Those two are the basic travel documents that you will need if you want to become a mariner. Make sure that before applying to shipping agencies you should already have those with you.
- Apply for COC (Certificate of Competency) and SRC (Seafarer’s Registration Certificate). These documents can be accomplished after accomplishing the items in no. 2 step.
- Apply to different manning agencies. There are many manning agencies in the Philippines. But make sure that you apply to the legitimate ones. In my case, I searched and checked it in the POEA’s website. You can also visit the renowned meeting place for seafarers at T.M. Kalaw Street in Ermita, Manila.
- Take specialized trainings. These are trainings your agency might require you to take. An example of these are MARPOL, PSCRB, HAZMAT, and more. It really depends on the agency so I suggest you take it only when you already have an agency. Some agencies shoulder the expenses but others don’t.
So there it goes, those are the things I encountered during my transition from a land-based engineer into a mariner or seafarer. The steps above serves as an outline so that you will have an idea how it is to change a career. It won’t be that easy, but as long as you are determined I’m sure you can conquer it.