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The Seafarer Collective Program Updates: An Overview of New Courses

Updated: Nov 12, 2018

The Seafarer Collective team has been hard at work, and we have exciting additions to report. In this post, you will learn more about the nuts and bolts of our 3 unique course pathways, and get some commonly asked questions answered.

New course pathways you say! What are they?

The Seafarer Collective now has 3 course pathways to explore - Entry-Level Merchant Mariner, Online Able Seaman Certificate Course, and Recreational Marlinspike.

Entry-Level Merchant Mariner and Recreational Marlinspike serve as GHHS Volunteer Crew Training paths, and serve as solid first exposures to working on the water. Our Online Able Seaman Certificate Course is a USCG approved distance learning course with an in-person exam requirement, designed for mariners that are ready to move ahead in their professional careers.

What is the Entry-Level Merchant Mariner Course?

The Seafarer Collective's Entry-Level Merchant Mariner Course is designed for folks looking to get their start in the maritime field, and takes place in two phases:

  • Phase 1 - Online: Students complete seven modules of uniquely designed distance learning curriculum on Eliademy, where they work through entry-level maritime education with an online instructor. This phase is expected to take 7 weeks and is self paced throughout each week. Topics of this course include entry-level deckhand skills. Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog series on course curriculum previews to learn more about the materials you will cover in this class.

  • Phase 2 - Volunteer Crew: Once students complete their online coursework, they receive a formal evaluation from their instructor where it is decided whether moving on to the next phase is appropriate or not. If invited to continue, students join a GHHS Vessel as Volunteer Crew for 2-8 weeks. During or at the end of this phase (depending on timing), students will submit the necessary paperwork for their Merchant Mariner Credential with an OS rating, have developed a maritime resume and will have already looked at jobs in the maritime field.  

The introductory discounted cost of the ELMMC is $1,950 and students may be eligible for full or partial scholarships. Interested students apply directly to The Seafarer Collective, and must complete the fillable application available on our website HERE.

I am an experienced mariner, does The Seafarer Collective have a course for me?

Yes! The Online Able Seaman Certificate Course is a 4-week Online AB Course which has been approved by the USCG’s National Maritime Center. The course will be offered to mariners who meet the sea service requirements of at least 180 days, and have the capacity to participate in a distance learning classroom experience.

The Seafarer Collective's Online AB material is housed on Eliademy, with an instructor providing feedback and guidance throughout the course. Upon completion of the course, an in-person exam must be completed, which will be proctored by an approved TSC staff member.

We are currently ACCEPTING applicants for the first Online AB program which begins December 9th. If you, or other mariners are interested in joining an upcoming Online AB cohort, please check out our Online AB page HERE.

Mariners who pass The Seafarer Collective AB exams will be presented with a certificate of completion of THE TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR AB and for Lifeboatman Limited, which can be presented to the USCG National Maritime Center upon application for a merchant mariner credential.

Why did you put that in bold? Is this an important distinction?

YES, it is! When you take our Online AB Certificate Course, you are NOT also completing a full Lifeboatman Course or completing a Lifeboatman Limited Shipboard Assessment - that is something you must complete independently. We can help to explain the process, and here are some more details on this important distinction:

  • Sea Service requirements for AB and Lifeboatman Limited: The minimum sea service requirement for a mariner for AB Sail is 180 days, and 360 for AB Special. However, without a full Lifeboatman course, the mariner must reach 360 days of sea service to qualify for Lifeboatman Limited, as well as complete shipboard assessments (not part of this class). Mariners taking The Seafarer Collective AB course must pursue the shipboard assessments on their own, or take a separate Lifeboatman course before applying for their AB.

  • Lifeboatman Limited Shipboard Assessments: In The Seafarer Collective AB course, students will be provided with a how-to video and Q&A with the instructor to learn how to work with their qualified captain/mate to complete their shipboard assessments for Lifeboatman Limited. However, if a student is interested in earning their full Lifeboatman and/or only has 180 days of sea service, they will need to take a separate, in-person (not online) Lifeboatman course.

A note on Domestic vs. STCW: Students applying for a domestic Able Seaman (not STCW) do not need to take a Basic Training course to apply for their AB.

Can you tell me more about how to get my Lifeboatman Limited Shipboard Assessment completed?

Absolutely, we will be posting a how-to blog on what is required to have your shipboard assessments completed. Stay tuned!

I have heard that there is a new addition to the GHHS program, Two Weeks Before the Mast. Is this true?

Yep, more improvements all around! The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport program, TWBM now takes place in two phases - an online TSC training course called Recreational Marlinspike and an onboard Volunteer Crewing phase called Two Weeks Before the Mast.

The first phase, Recreational Marlinspike, is housed on our online learning platform, Eliademy. Students gain a foundation of language, maritime skills, and shipboard expectations before they step onto their assigned vessel. Sections of the Recreational Marlinspike Course include: Marlinspike Seamanship, Sail Theory, Docking, Watch Standing, Engine Room Basics, and much more.

Students work with an approved online instructor who guides them through the program and answers any questions. The Volunteer Crew phase, TWBM, takes place once students have completed their online work, and are invited to join their assigned vessel, on either Lady Washington or Hawaiian Chieftain. At this point, the Recreational Marlinspike students become Volunteer Crew.  

Volunteer crew opportunities allow students to solidify their new knowledge with hands-on practice and application. Student will still have access to Eliademy when they are onboard to use as study or reference material, and will receive the support of professional crew onboard to continue their training and skill advancement.

The cost for this total offering is still $750, and interested students enroll directly through GHHS.

How exciting! Can I sign up now?

Yep! There is a waiting list for the TWBM program, we are filling out the student list for the ELMMC term beginning November 5th, and getting students signed up for our first two Online AB cohorts. Get your applications in now to be included in our upcoming courses.

Still have questions? Please feel free to reach out to

See you out on the water!

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