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Seattle Maritime Academy Prepares Students for Amazing Careers

May 18, 2022

By the Seattle Propeller Club

Want to jump start a career where you can make a difference and work on really big projects that matter? How would you like to start your career with a high-paying and in-demand job with little or no college debt? You can at Seattle Central College’s Seattle Maritime Academy (SMA).

Preparing the maritime workforce of the future

Seattle is inextricably linked to the sea and the world is changing with technology reshaping many industries. The maritime industry is a vital part of the culture of our region and will continue to require a robust workforce in the future.

“People are drawn to the ocean for many reasons. Being on boats can further that appreciation of the sea. But the public is unaware of the opportunities created by keeping boats afloat,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “There are many quality careers associated with designing and maintaining mechanical, electrical, and other systems as well as skilled crew needed to make them operate.” 

Photo of Seattle Maritime Academy
Photo copyright Seattle Maritime Academy

Explore the Seattle Maritime Academy

You are invited to visit Seattle Central College’s Seattle Maritime Academy to explore its new, state-of-the-art facility that includes a computer lab, a collaborative workspace, classrooms, simulator labs, vessels, and more.

Seattle Maritime Academy
Seattle Central College
4455 Shilshole Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98107
206.934.2647 (phone)
206.934.2821 (fax)

Join the tour and information session the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. in Building 1 on these dates:

  • Tuesday, June 7      6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 12    6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 9   6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Located by the Ballard Bridge, Seattle Maritime Academy is now accepting applications for the Fall.

Maritime student uses communications technology
Photo copyright Seattle Maritime Academy

Maritime curriculum

“Our graduates fill vital roles in the maritime sector, including in commercial and passenger transportation, commercial fishing, deep sea sailing, and the workboat industry,” said Dale Bateman, Seattle Maritime Academy Dean. “We provide classroom instruction and hands-on training at our state-of-the-art facility, with three 11-week quarters followed by an at-sea internship. It is the only program of its kind serving Washington and Alaska.”

Seattle Maritime Academy offers two US Coast Guard-approved certificate programs that prepare students in less than one year for a career at sea.

Marine Engineering Technology

Learn how to operate and maintain a wide range of marine propulsion plants and equipment. This includes engines, hydraulic systems, electrical systems, and refrigeration equipment. Graduates satisfy the requirements needed to earn a US Coast Guard endorsement of Qualified Member of the Engine Department (QMED).

“Our expert instructors, with extensive at-sea experience, will help you gain practical experience in our advanced training facility equipped with a simulation lab and aboard our fleet of vessels,” Bateman said. “You will build the skills needed to operate and maintain a vessel’s propulsion system, which includes the engine, boilers, generators, pumps, and other equipment and apply those skills during an at-sea internship.”

Marine Deck Technology

Learn how to perform all aspects of deck operations. This includes navigation, vessel handling, maintenance, knot work, and line handling. Graduates satisfy the requirements needed to earn a US Coast Guard endorsement of Able Seaman (AB) Special, which is your first step in an exciting journey that could one day lead you to the wheelhouse as a mate or a captain of a vessel. 

“My favorite part of the Deck Program is that they have a vessel to take us out on,” said Malin Lunsford, Marine Deck Technology student. “It really helps to apply the material that we are learning in a classroom to what will be expected at a job. They do a really good job at making things realistic and preparing you for the workforce after you graduate.”

And if you are a student at Seattle Public Schools, tuition can be FREE, thanks to the Seattle Promise program. There are also scholarships and other financial aid available for all students. Enjoy a satisfying career with little or no college debt.

Port of Seattle employee
Photo copyright Port of Seattle

Maritime workforce in demand

“There is an incredible demand for skilled maritime employees, as the industry is growing rapidly and the average age of today’s maritime employee is 55 years old,” said Stephanie Bowman, Governor Inslee’s Maritime Sector Lead at the Washington State Department of Commerce. “The Seattle Maritime Academy offers a tremendous pathway to a great maritime career and many graduates find immediate work in the maritime industry.”

“Seattle Maritime Academy is vital to the health of the local maritime industry because of the demand for its graduates on ships sailing in and out of Seattle and because of the ongoing training it provides to existing mariners,” said John Persak, Strategic Advisor — Maritime, Manufacturing, and Logistics, Seattle Office of Economic Development. “As a community, we have to let young people know that this choice exists. Not everyone desires or is able to afford the investment or debt of a traditional four-year degree. Making an intentional choice for this career path sets up young folks to access the jobs to earn a living and help support a family.”

Persak noted that maritime contributes $37 billion to the economy of Washington State with nearly 70,000 direct jobs. 

“The Seattle Maritime Academy is one of the few institutions with the instructors and facilities to expose people to new opportunities and get them on a career path that has so many openings,” Commissioner Felleman said. “There’s a critical need to keep the vital services the maritime industry provides to our economy and to preserve the cultural fabric that stiches together so many components of what makes the great Northwest so great. This is a truly fascinating industry — we just need to get more people to dip their toes in to see that the water is more than fine. The SMA is key to making that happen."

About the Seattle Propeller Club

The Seattle Propeller Club is the largest and most diverse maritime business organization in Seattle. The 
Club is designed to promote maritime commerce in the Puget Sound region and holds monthly networking events, raises funds to support maritime nonprofit organizations, and supports initiatives to enhance the vitality of the industry. The Maritime Festival, Seattle Maritime Matters, and Seafood 101 campaigns are produced by the Seattle Propeller Club. 

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