A seaman’s entry level salary ranges from P10,000 - P12,000 per month and may even go up to P17,000 per month for those highly-trained and experienced. Seaman abroad has a starting monthly salary of $900.

Basic Educational Requirement

There is a four-year course for anyone who wants to pursue a career on board. However, individuals who are not graduates of a marine course can still work on a ship, provided they undergo a 10-day training that is administered by accredited training centers. It is important to check if the training center or maritime school is CHED, or MARINA-accredited and compliant to international standards set by International Maritime Organization's (IMO) and amended Standards of Training Certification and Watch Keeping Convention (STCWC). Sea-based workers also need to undergo the Basic Safety Course (BSC), should have a valid Seafarers Identification and Record Book (SIRB) and Certificate of Competency (COC) issued by the MARINA and the Seafarer’s Registration Certificate (SRC).

Cost of Education *

A seaman’s course may range approximately from P25,000 - P35,000 per semester in private technical schools and about P10,000 to P15,000 in public institutions.

Employment Opportunities

Most Seamen are employed on a passenger ship, cargo vessel, oil tanker and fishing boats. Seamen may also be employed in the following industries: Fishing, Transport, Storage and Communication, and Public Adminstration and Defense, Compulsory Social Security.

Prospects for Career Advancement

A seaman’s opportunity for advancement depends on the trainings and further studies he/she has completed, although most of them are aiming for an officer level position someday.

Nature of Work

A Seaman stands watch at bow or on wing of bridge to look for obstructions in path of vessel; measure water depth; turn wheel on bridge or use emergency equipment as directed by mate; break out, rig, overhaul, and store cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear; and chip rust from and paint deck or ship’s structure. He must hold a government-issued certification when working aboard liquid-carrying vessels.


  • Measures depth of water in shallow or unfamiliar waters, using leadline, and telephones or shouts information to bridge;
  • Breaks out, rigs, overhauls, and stows cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear;
  • Stands watch from bow of ship or wing of bridge to look for obstruction in path of ship; Steers ship and maintains visual communication with other ships;
  • Steers ship under direction of ship’s commander or navigating officer, or directs helmsman to steer, following designated course;
  • Overhauls lifeboats and lifeboat gear, and lowers or raises lifeboats with winch or falls; and
  • Paints and chips rust on deck or super structure of ship.

Skills and Competencies

  • Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits;
  • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance;
  • Controlling operations of equipment or systems; and
  • Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Physical Attributes and Characteristics

  • Physically fit;
  • Ability to see details at a distance;
  • The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions;
  • The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you; and
  • The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

* Based on tuition fee rates for school year 2010-2011.