Go to Sea with the SUP

"If and when an American kid can no longer choose to go down to the sea in ships bearing the American flag, and follow that way of life, something vital will have died in the heart and character of America"

                                                                                   - the late Lane Kirkland, president of the AFL-CIO 1979-1995.


The Sailors' Union of the Pacific is currently registering qualified mariners to crew merchant ships such as tankers, government vessels, container ships and in other jobs. 

Registration will be conducted in accordance our established practice and the SUP SHIPPING RULES. Some more detailed instruction are here at HOW TO GET A JOB WITH THE SUP.

To register, a mariner must apply at any SUP union hall or fill out the registration form available at the link below.  Then save the form to your computer and email it to dispatcher@sailors.org or matt@sailors.org. Then you can mail a check or money order with the registration fee of $100.00 separately.

If you fill out the form and send it, independent of any payment, we will contact you to disucss options and fee payment options.

Or you can print the form and mail it with check or money order for registration fee . See addresses of Headquarters and Branches on the Contact Us page of this site.

SUP Fillable Registration Form

Generally, you must be present in the hall to be shipped to any SUP vessel. Jobs are shipped by seniority and by registration date. Read an overview of the SUP and information about our seniority system elsewhere on this page. 

Additional questions may be addressed to any Branch Agent, Business Agent or Vice President Matt Henning, at SUP HQ at 415 777 3400.

Documentation and credentials are a critical part of gaining work at sea on U.S. merchant ships. You need a Merchant Mariner's Document (AB, OS, QMED, etc.), STCW qualifications including a Basic Safety Training certificate, passport, TWIC card, a valid Fit for Duty (within one year), a clean drug screen not more than 180 days old, and $100.00 to register, which is valid for three calendar months. Also a VPDSD-VI/6 (Vessel Personnel Designated with Security Duties/Security Awareness) is recommended and needed for most jobs including all offshore jobs. The MMC and STCW certification is handled by application to the U.S. Coast Guard. See links below and on the training page for information on this process.

The main SUP jobs available are for unlicensed, qualified able seamen and ordinary seamen. AB's and OS's operate the vessel and its deck equipment. They steer, moor and unmoor the ships, and perform various other tasks including sanitary work, maintenance work, and safety work. On tankers, unlicensed mariners are designated to hook up hoses, operate pumps, and clean tanks.



The following are the most common deck unlicensed ratings (and the credentialing checklists) in some seagoing vessels:

Ordinary Seaman means an “entry-level” unlicensed member of the deck department. Most entry level, initial issue documents including O.S. Here's the Coast Guard checklist for Entry Level Ratings. All offshore sailors will need the STCW Basic Safety Training (BST) endorsement. Here's the Coast Guard link to the BT checklist that covers that. 

Able Seaman means qualified member of the deck department that may work as a watchstander and/or day worker. AB's on a domestic or national level have gained seatime and other qualifications to raise their grade from O.S. to A.B. An offshore, or international AB is known as an Able Seafarer Deck or AS/D and has that certification in the MMC. Here's the Coast Guard checklist for Able Seafarer Deck. To become an Able Seafarer Deck the endorsement RFPNW (Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch) is required. Here's the Coast Guard RFPNW checklist. AB's also need Proficiency in Survival Craft PSC for the STCW international endorsement as part of AS/D. Here the link to the Coast Guard's PSC checklist.

Tankerman means a qualified member of the deck department trained to assist or supervise the transfer of liquid cargo. Domestically, that qualification is an endorsement of Tankman Assistant or Person in Charge (Tank Asst/PIC) Dangerous Liquids (DL). Internationally it is known as Basic or Advanced Oil Tanker Chemical Cargo Operation. Here's the Coast Guard checklists for the National Endorsement of Tankerman and the International Basic Oil Tanker Chemical Cargo Operations.

Lifeboatman means a member of the crew qualified to take charge of a lifeboat or a life raft. Internationally, under the STCW Code, the lifeboatman endorsement is known as Proficiency in Survival Craft or PSC. That is also an endorsment. Click here for the Coast Guard link to the National Lifeboatman checklist.

Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties is a member of a crew of an oceangoing ship that has operational security duties, as apart from Security Awareness or basic security familiarity and Vessel Security Officer which is the management level of security. It is a pre-requisite for STCW Able Seafarer Deck endorsement. Here's the checklist for VPDSD.