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How to Become a Full Pledged Seaman in the Philippines – Training Course, Requirements, Salary

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Seaman Schools Philippines

Seaman Schools Philippines

Becoming a full time seafarer in the Philippines and earning big money by working in luxury ships, cargo vessel or any shipping lines traveling overseas is not as easy as many Pinoys think. But just a couple of months ago, ABS-CBN revealed that chances of becoming a full pledged seafarer is not just for those who finished or graduated marine related courses. It has long been known by some that luxury ships don’t employ just the regular seamen, most of the employees there are deployed in hotel and restaurant management related positions like waiters, bell boy, cabin steward, chambermaid, carpetman, kitchen steward, cook, chef de partie, sound and stage technician and operators, sofa upholsterers, beauty parlor staff, nail art staff and more.

Many other positions have opened up for potentially earning big in the shipping industry if you work here but since we usually refer to the regular seaman jobs when we talk about becoming a full pledged seafarer in the Philippines, I will be revealing some details mostly about it. For those who would like to work in a luxury ship in a different position I have mentioned above, there is a big chance for you even if you just graduated high school. In fact me and my wifey is on the way to test this out by having her niece undergo trainings to become a ship worker as a chamber maid or cabin crew.

seaman trainingWhile and legitimate full pledged seaman before employment and dispatch to a vessel would take to finish a 4 year course as an educational requirement, others would only go for the shortcut I have mentioned above. As the saying goes, there is nothing wrong with knowing and wanting to do things the easy way than spend a century to finish and find out it’s too late the hero.

Now, there is a big difference between really becoming a full pledged seafarer from becoming an overseas worker in a shipping company, a navigation cruise line, a maritime agency or a bulk carrier with the help of any of the listed POEA accredited manning agencies in the Philippines which you can find here.

In that part, I would like to reveal some secrets to becoming a legitimate sea worker in no time without the hassle of finishing a 4-year course in college but by just taking the Basic Seaman’s Training (BST) and getting your own SOLAS, SRC and Seamanbook after high school graduation. True!, a high school graduate can actually become a marine worker even without finishing college and that’s what’s good from the tip I am going to reveal today. Furthermore, this is from an actual experience by me being in the seaman loan lending industry for more than 3 years now. I’ve personally talked and discussed possibilities with qualified people – seaman and seawoman alike just to prove my word right – You can become a mariner even without finishing college and earn more than college graduates can.

I know there are many Filipinos who want to be seaman or seafarer or mariner because of multiple good benefits and high salary. If you are asking how much is the salary of seaman, how is the training being undertaken and where to apply for jobs with maritime or shipping companies, where to find the best maritime jobs and sea-based jobs for qualified crew, then maybe this will answer all those frequently asked questions. Read more tips below.

Seaman Basic Training Course in the Philippines

In order to become a seaman, the first step is to have the basic seaman training (also known as BST). As a beginner, you need to take the STCW 95. This is a world-recognized most basic training for all sorts of seafarers under entry level. With this certification course one can be allowed to work on boats, yacht or ships over 24m here and abroad.

If and when you complete this type of maritime training, the school or training center where you took the said course will give you a certification which you can use to apply for seaman jobs later on. This will serve as a license to go forth and become a full pledged seaman and enjoy all the benefits that a maritime career offers including high salary.

solasIn the Philippines, however, before you get a STCW95 certification (SOLAS), you first have to finish, complete and pass a 7-day training and course which covers the following:

  • Sea Survival Techniques
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
  • First Aid
  • Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention

My wife’s niece, Joy had been through with this training and so far passed it from Magsaysay Training Center last April 4. If you are asking where to train or enroll, well, you can always ask in MARINA on which schools and colleges offer these maritime training and courses that had proper accreditation from this government agency in the Philippines. Make sure you enroll only at trusted training centers and schools approved and accredited by Maritime Training Council of the Philippines.

How much is the Basic Seaman Training in the Philippines?

Again, from an actual experience for my wife’s niece this year 2014, BST usually costs around P4000 to P4500 for an 8-day rigid theoretical and practical training which includes actual survival in the sea as well as fire fighting techniques utilized in the last day of training in Laguna.

Seaman Requirements to Work Abroad and Overseas

After you have acquired a BST certificate upon medical after the training and passing the test and actual application of theory, there are still requirements for you to work and be employed by a shipping company, yacht or go on cruise and overseas. A seaman needs the following:

  • BST or STCW 95 Certificate
  • Seaman Book
  • SRC
  • Passport

If you don’t have a seaman’s book yet, work out as soon as possible on ways how to get it. It is a must before a seafarer can sail the seas and work in a vessel or ship. Note that the seaman book is being stamped every time you go on board or whenever a seafarer is deployed in a ship or marine vessel. Visas will also never be issued without the seamanbook if you are a seafarer looking to sail and work abroad.

Once hired, you need to register at POEA to become an official and registered Filipino Seaman. Please visit this page of the POEA. An employment contract from your shipping company is required here plus other documents listed above like the seaman book, passport and the BST certificate or SOLAS. They will issue you an SRC (Seafarers Registration Certificate). Transit visas will be needed but a usual way to get this document is by your employer or manning agency. They will be the one to handle this process and the processing.

Seaman Salary in the Philippines

Starting salary of seafarers usually ranges from P20,000 – P25,000. This will greatly depend on your manning agency or company plus the total salary deductions and overtime pays. Manning agencies usually don’t declare big salaries on the payslip to avoid getting high tax payments. Being in the lending industry having seafarers as clients in applying for a loan, i’ve seen offshore seafarers getting as high as $4,000 USD salary in their contract or pay slip for 2-3 months only which is the biggest earner for a seaman in the Philippines in terms of monthly salary.

Seaman level had to be upgraded once you start to get deployed for work onboard. This level up is acquired by studying or training for a particular position. Promotion always works this way in the industry. You must train to get or deserve to be promoted. This will later equate to a bigger salary.

Some seamen receive as much as P60,000 or P150,000 and even more depending on the hiring company. Big ones and big payers are in the likes of NSK, Maersk and so on. Europen companies are the usual ones that offer big pay for Pinoy seafarers.

Salary and benefits may differ depending on a seaman’s positions like chief officer, chief mate, second mate, third mate,bosun, fitter, oiler, steward etc. According to another article I have read, some maritime positions offer paying three times the basic salary. These positions may be a wheelhouse, master, able seaman, harbor pilot and the like. Majority of companies offer paid vacation leave.

Agencies hiring seaman in the Philippines include Magsaysay Maritime, NHK, Maersk, Aboitiz Shipping, Career Shipping Co., Marlow BST, Maunlad and more. Some POEA accredited seaman schools also offer seaman jobs.

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