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Unlicensed Apprentice (UA) Maritime Training - The Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship (SHLSS)

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What is the purpose of Unlicensed Apprentice program?: The purpose of the Unlicensed Apprentice Program at Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education is to train, guide and encourage men and women to make careers for themselves on the world’s oceans or on America’s network of coastal and inland waterways.

Who is this program for?: The Unlicensed Apprentice Program is recommended for individuals who wish to seek employment through the hiring halls affiliated with the Seafarers International Union. The Center’s philosophy is that every new person coming into the maritime industry needs certain basic skills and knowledge before he or she embarks on more specific career training in one of the three departments: deck, engine or steward.

How is this program structured?: The Unlicensed Apprentice Program consists of three phases of instruction: (1) a twelve-week vocational curriculum focusing on maritime organization, basic seamanship, emergency action and social responsibility; (2) twelve weeks of shipboard training focusing on ship operations and maintenance. The student serves in each of the different departments and maintains a journal of his/her activities; and (3) specialized department-specific training based on the department choice of the Unlicensed Apprentice. Successful completion of the program qualifies the student to ship as an ordinary sea-man, wiper or steward assistant.

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Apprentice Program



SIU Unlicensed Apprentice (UA) Training

  • Phase I: During Phase I, students receive 13 weeks of resident training at the Paul Hall Center. These courses provide fundamental maritime knowledge and safety skills required for a merchant mariner.Courses include Shipboard Sanitation; Galley Familiarization; Basic Fire Fighting; First Aid and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation; Industrial Relations; Water Survival; Vessel Familiarization; Vessel Maintenance and Operations; Physical Education; and Social Responsibilities.
  • Phase II: In Phase II the unlicensed apprentices spend 12 weeks aboard a vessel contracted with the SIU. During these weeks at sea, the students spend four weeks in each department (deck, engine, and steward). This experience provides hand-on learning of the skills and knowledge studies during the first phase of training.Students must complete a sea project involving information from each department aboard the ship. The sea voyage provides the students with the opportunity to determine their personal interest and the area of specialization when they return to study at the Center.
  • Phase III: Phase III begins with the upgrading of skills in a specific field of study. First students begin their training with Tanker Familiarization and Government Vessels, followed by their specialty courses in either Specially Trained Ordinary Seaman, Basic Auxiliary Plant Operations, or the Unlicensed Steward Program. Upon completion of this phase of training, the unlicensed apprentice will return to sea for an additional 120 days of sea time. The sea voyage provides the students with specialization when they return to study at the Center.
  • Cost: There is no charge for tuition or room and board for Program participants. However, students are responsible for paying the costs of their uniforms (once the student receives their uniform the fees are non-refundable), a physical exam, etc. These fees and costs are approximately USD1,500.
  • Admission Requirements: The Program only accepts applicants whom the Admission Committee determines will be able to successfully pursue a seafaring career. A candidate must demonstrate that he or she possesses the discipline, ability, and fitness level necessary to work as a merchant mariner in order to be accepted into the Program. Candidates are accepted throughout the year.
  • Apply for the Unlicensed Apprentice program

Progresson from Unlicensed Apprentice

  • Unlicensed Apprentice to Able Seafarer Deck Program: The UA to ASD Program consists of a combination of five phases of resident training and sea service meeting the training requirements for an Able Seafarer-Deck endorsement. This program differs from the old UA program in that thay have added new elements to the Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (RFPNW) course.
  • UA to FOWT Program: Students completing the UA to FOWT program and making application within 1 year of completion will: (1) satisfy the written exam requirements of 46 CFR 12.505 for the endorsements as FOWT, provided that the applicant presents evidence of at least 90 qualifying days of engine room sea service; AND (2) satisfy the training and assessment requirements of 46 CFR 12.609(1)(3) and Table A-III/4 of the STCW Code, as amended for RFPEW - Limited to Steam and Motor propelled vessels only PROVIDED that the applicant also presents evidence of at least 60 days of engine watchkeeping service; AND (3) receive 90 days of sea service credit that can be applied towards the service requirements of 46 CFR 12.503 for QMED endorsements PROVIDED applicants present an additional 90 days of qualifying engine room sea service, and meet all other requirements before issuance of any QMED endorsements.