MAP Mate Unlimited Program

Modern ships are the largest moving creations in the history of the world. Coordinating that movement are a team of professional mariners that carry out extensive duties of cargo transfer operations, navigational voyage planning, emergency management, equipment upkeep and record-keeping.

This team is responsible for the safe transit of millions of dollars of cargo and the lives of two dozen crew members across ocean routes and into different nations. These duties are shared in the various roles of the deck officers.

As a Third Mate, you will serve as a deck watch officer under the guidance of senior officers and be responsible for the inspection and maintenance of all safety equipment including lifeboats and fire-fighting gear. You will manage crew in the upkeep of deck machinery as well as assist on deck with mooring procedures. Management of shipboard operations is a constant job that is shared on watch systems. Traditionally you will stand “4-8 watch”; four hours of watch with eight hours off in between, seven days a week for the duration of your dispatch. Your duty on watch depends on the ship's schedule.

While at sea, the Third Mate stands a navigational watch with a helmsman, plots the ship’s position, practices collision avoidance, consults navigational equipment, and directs the helmsman to change course when needed. The Third Mate notifies the Chief Officer or Master according to the standing orders.

When in port, the priority is the efficient and safe transfer of cargo, either loading or unloading. You will monitor the mooring lines and trim/list of the ship with operation of ballast pumps, make rounds, communicate with dock crew and be the eyes/ears for the Captain.

There is a level of prestige that comes with an unlimited license. The routes are more international, crews are larger and dispatches are longer. An unlimited deck license and more experience at sea make a mariner highly capable and employable on a global scope.


  • Apprentice primarily on ships such as:
    • Tankers;
    • Containers;
    • Cruise ships,
    • Research ships and all vessels of ‘unlimited ‘tonnage’ (over 1600 GRT)
  • Washington State Ferries
  • Crew size around 22, with exception of the cruise ships
  • Voyages at average a few months in length
  • Lengthy international ocean voyages
  • May work for various companies each trip
  • Work with a steersman/helmsman/ quartermaster
  • Oversee Cargo Operations

What Graduates Say

"The Maritime Apprenticeship Program allowed me to fully experience life and work on the water while providing the level of support and structure I needed ashore and in the classroom. I've been sailing for seven years on tugboats and now hold a 1600 Ton Master, Oceans, and Master of Towing, Oceans. I am continually rewarded by my thriving career."

Elizabeth Simenstad, (WBA Graduate)
Baydelta Maritime

“Going through the Maritime Apprenticeship Program was the best career decision I ever made”.

Nelson Traynham, (WBA Graduate)
Maryland Pilot Trainee

“The MAP gave me real-world training and experience that was invaluable for starting my career, and I still use my training every day on the job.”

Ty Stewart, (WBA Graduate)
Moran Towing

“The apprenticeship relationship between the cadet and partner company allows both parties to get to know each other and grow together. The schedule of the program is excellent and the order of classes is logical. I went straight from License Prep to sit for my license; two days after getting my license I was sailing as a full time employee.”

Cameron Northrop, (WBA Graduate)

Partner Companies

  • Partner Companies
  • Andrie Marine
  • Aries Marine
  • Brusco Tug and Barge
  • Crosby Tugs
  • Crowley Marine Services
  • Dann Marine Towing
  • Donjon
  • Dunlap Towing Company
  • Foss Maritime
  • Gulfmark Offshore
  • Harley Marine Services
  • Harvey Gulf
  • Kirby Offshore
  • L&M Botruc
  • Laborde Marine
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • LMS Ship Management
  • Moran Towing Company
  • NOAA Pacific/Atlantic
  • Oceaneering
  • Odyssea
  • Overseas Shipholding Group
  • Penn Maritime
  • Resolve Marine
  • Sause Bros.
  • Scripps Institute of Oceanography
  • Seacor
  • Seawolf Marine
  • Stabbert Maritime
  • Starlight Marine
  • Tidewater
  • Tradewinds Towing
  • Uncruise Adventures
  • United Ocean Services
  • University of Washington
  • University of Hawaii
  • Vane Brothers
  • Washington State Ferries
  • Weeks Marine
  • Western Towboat Company