Have you ever wanted to work at sea? Last week I attended the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in beautiful Piney Point, Maryland. This school offers a great career path for those interested in becoming certified sailors and working on large cargo ships that sail worldwide. The pay is very good and the program is excellent and extremely tough. All classes are certified by the US Coast Guard and their rules and regulations are very stringent.
The US Coast Guard has a strong presence worldwide since it sets the standards for the safety of life at sea (SOLAS) for the entire world. This even includes cruise ships! Think about it. On a container ship, you most likely have no more than 20-25 people. However, on a cruise ship, you have thousands. All those sailing on a container ship are seasoned and well-trained sailors. The passengers on a cruise ship are far from it. That’s why the staff and crew MUST be highly trained in all aspects of safety at sea. The passengers must know that they are sailing with staff that is very well trained for any emergency just like their cousins that work on large ocean-going container ships.
I was sent to the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). This is where the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship is located. Why would Norwegian Cruise Line send me there? I was hired as a chef for their flagship ship called Pride of America. This is the only United States-flagged cruise ship in the world and it circumnavigates the Hawaiian islands. So, you can surely bet that the United States Coast Guard is very much involved with safety education for all crew on board and wants them to be certified through this maritime training and education center.
Norwegian Cruise Line has their own classrooms at the school where they send new crew members to be trained by the certified US Coast Guard instructors at Piney Point. The program is a fast-paced week of safety and survival at sea courses. The list below is the classes that must be taken. The program consists of written and physical tests along with your punctuality and ability to follow directions correctly. All students get two chances to pass a test. If you fail any class twice you are unfortunately removed from the program. Overall this was a wonderful experience. The teachers and staff at the school are great and they truly care about their students. Now that all is completed I’m excited to get back to work (cook) on the high seas!
The School’s US Coast Guard Certified Curriculum
- Personal Safety and Social Responsibility
- Shipboard Firefighting
- Personal Survival Techniques
- Maritime Security Awareness
- Crowd Management
- First Aid, CPR & AED
Once all is successfully completed you are deemed ready to work at sea and in my case on board NCL’s Pride of America.
Pictures From the Program
Click here to learn more about cooking at sea on cruise ships.