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Paul Bruno

U.S. and Canadian Maritime License Costs

By April 29, 2012

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Canada and the United States have the same standards to meet under the STCW convention but the two nations take much different approaches to training their mariners.

This week Maritime Executive Magazine is hosting a forum May 7 - 9 in Washington D.C. as part of Maritime Week. The topic is "Revitalizing the Maritime Industry" which is a perennial topic within the industry but has little interest among the general public. This out of sight, out of mind attitude plagues the whole sector and is a significant reason that almost no funding is provided to grow or at least sustain something that is so integral to the nation's economy and independence.

For example consider the process of obtaining your first professional license. It was a process that took some time whether you did the work with a quill and iron-gall ink or with your smartphone. The biggest difference is not the curriculum, since that is set by treaty, but the upfront investment a potential mariner must make to complete a program.

The fact that a Canadian might pay $20 out of pocket to obtain a license that costs an American worker thousands of dollars contributes to the lack of vibrancy in the industry. There are few solutions to this particular problem and the whole issue in general. It will be necessary to take some action soon or we might be faced with the extinction of the American ship owner and eventually, the American mariner.

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