Skip to main content

SIU – 50th Anniversary

The core of the campus is really the spirit of the industry and the spirit of SIU.

Tom OrzechowskiVP, Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School

The fact that we don’t have to pay for travel, classes, or boarding — you really can’t beat that.

Lindsay Austin, ABGraduate of Paul Hall Center

We prepare everything from scratch. Delicious food, so the crew is happy.

Chef John DobsonInstructor at Paul Hall Center

SIU – 75th Anniversary

A great resource for training, upgrading, and advancement. I look forward to coming to work.

Sean LeesonSIU Member

That’s a really good feeling … knowing that in 3 years, I’ll have my days in for my pension.
You feel proud, you feel good about what you’ve done.

Cle PopperwillSIU Member

Call it a dream fulfilled. Not in a city, or town, but in the world. One essential, common purpose. Run by seafarers, for seafarers.

The SeafarersStanley Kubrick film

In Their Own Voices


November 2019

This month’s question was answered by students at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education.

Why did you choose to be a mariner?

I chose to be a mariner because I knew I could learn a trade that I could use on land. I plan to put in 15-20 years in my sailing career.

Lavontat AndersonOiler

I chose to be a mariner because there's no other job like this in the world. You learn while you grow, and the pay is great.

Kevin WillisOiler

Nothing else better to get a change of pace, change of life. No other job pays like it. What could be better?

Tim JonesOiler

Because I don't mind turning wrenches on a ship to make money and travel the world. After I received my B-book, I found out my great grandfather was a mariner. I didn't know before then.

Chanel PetersOiler

My dad was in the military, and he had mariner friends in dredging. Through them, I found the SIU. I plan on doing this for 10 years, then take my money and invest it.

Marcus 'Muscles' LopezOiler

My brother has been a mariner for about 15 years, and I finally decided to take his advice. So far, it's everything he said it was, and the money and travel are pretty great incentives. I like being missed back home. Plus, Popeye the Sailor Man was my idol.

Denard WilliamsOiler

Chief Cook

April 2020

This month’s question was answered by students in the certified chief cook class at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education.

What are some things you like about your job?

I enjoy the fast-paced environment, and I love to cook and travel the world. I also enjoy meeting and cooking for people from multiple cultures and in different environments. I enjoy that we make great money and you’re able to widen your horizon on cooking and build your skill set.

Nakeya WhiteChief Cook

Just the camaraderie between fellow sailors. Positivity, learning experiences I go through on a day-to-day basis. Cooking on a ship is not an ordinary job…. The people that work in this industry, I’ll never meet on land. They’re characters. The money is good, too, and I love cooking, but the people are what keeps me coming back.

Alex EmrickChief Cook

Travel, meeting new people and of course the money. That’s why I’m here. And I love cooking. But the number one reason I stick with it is the money. I have a wife and a daughter who’s 11 months old, and the money I earn at sea covers everything.

Carlos Colon De JesusChief Cook

The number one thing I love is being able to travel. The job is very flexible – you’re able to see the world and meet new people. I cook for my family, so I was able to apply basic cooking skills and maximize my them in a professional way. There’s a lot of room for growth in this industry and the people that you meet are wonderful, on the ships and in the ports.

Kristina JonesChief Cook

What I love about my job is being able to travel, run the steward department, upgrade, make a whole lot of money and do in life what I choose to do when I want to do it. It’s more than what I expected – I see parts of the world I’d never heard of and that people couldn’t imagine. I’ve been able to take vacations in other countries I hadn’t seen on a map. I love everything about it.

Howard BrooksChief Cook


October Inquire

This month’s question was answered by members of the most recent bosun recertification class at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education.

Why did you join the SIU and why have you remained with the union?

I joined to see the world and because of the excellent wages and excellent benefits. I have stayed because it’s now in my blood.

Raymond JohnsonRecertified Bosun

I joined the SIU because I always had daydreamed about traveling the world. The chance came and I jumped on it. What keeps me going is the travelling, seeing different places.

Ronald WebbRecertified Bosun

I was offered the chance to join when my life was in a period of uncertainty. A chance to see the world and get paid sounded good. I stayed because of the money, of course, but also the time off and adventure.

John O’ShaughnessyRecertified Bosun

I joined the SIU to travel and see the world. I have remained in the union because it’s a good career. I am able to support my family and live a very comfortable lifestyle.

Donley JohnsonRecertified Bosun

My dad and uncle were merchant seamen. I started off in the NMU. In 1987, I was on board the USNS Neosho, where I met (current SIU VP) Kate Hunt. I listened to her remarks about the union and that’s when I joined. Now, we became the SIU and it has been great. (The unions merged in 2001.)

William LimaRecertified Bosun

I joined because I wanted to travel, see the world and make money. I remain with the union because the SIU gave me the opportunity to have a career, grow, and support my family.

Shawn StrandRecertified Bosun

Because of the opportunities for career advancement. You can go as high up as you want in this career, and the SIU gives you the tools to do it. I’ve remained because with the SIU, I have job security and I belong to something big. The opportunity to get a job at any of our 20 halls is amazing.

Christopher RosadoRecertified Bosun

I joined because my father was a sailor and he got me into it. I remained because the SIU changed my life. I get time off for vacation. I have better and more benefits than I had before. This was my dream and it became true. When I was younger, I worked in many industries, but I’ve never found one better than this career.

Foaad SalehRecertified Bosun

A friend of my father came home from work with an application (for the trainee program) and told me to make a copy so I can get my life together. This was back in 1990. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but from the moment I walked into the school, I knew that I wanted to be part of the SIU. The SIU saved my life in all areas.

Lovell SmithRecertified Bosun

I became a merchant seaman because my uncle David Dove went through the program and my mother saw a great opportunity for me to travel around the world and be financially stable. I’ve been sailing 30 years. I encourage my fellow seamen to take advantage of the opportunities available for upgrading. This field allows us to have a very comfortable lifestyle.

Antjuan WebbRecertified Bosun


Stewards Inquire

Why did you join the SIU, and why have you remained with the union?

I joined the SIU because of the opportunities that I got. I was able to send my daughter to graduate school, thanks to the economic stability afforded by the union. Plus, I travel the world for free! I enjoy everything this organization has done for me.

Frank RamonesRecertified Steward

My parents decided to send my younger brother to Piney Point, and asked if I wanted to go. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. The SIU has provided my family and I with a better quality of life.

Rocky DuprawRecertified Steward

I joined the union in 1998 in San Francisco, and joined the Steward department. I started from the bottom, and built my way up to recertified steward. The SIU is a great union, and works with the best maritime school in the U.S. I want to thank all the officials for giving me the opportunity to get recertified.

Fakhruddin MalahiRecertified Steward

After a 10-year stint in the Navy, I wanted more adventure. I’ve traveled to all parts of the world thanks to the SIU. The union has provided me and my family a most beautiful life, and joining has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Robert OwensRecertified Steward

I decided to join the union to travel, and meet people from different parts of the world. Continuing to travel and meet new people keeps me sailing SIU.

Angela RobertsonRecertified Steward

I joined the union because my dad was in the union, and he told me how nice it was to go to sea, and that was the truth. I love it, and I am going to get my kids to join the union. I want to thank everyone in the union for everything you’ve done for me.

Ali MunsarRecertified Steward


March 2020

This month’s question was answered by students in the junior engineer class at the union-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education.

Why did you decide to become a mariner?

I can answer that easily. The pay is much different than on land. The possibility to progress in my career. Before I did this, I was an electrician. The main reason is it’s not a 9-to-5 job. I go out and work hard, then play hard. The free time after working hard is great.

Kevin WillisOiler

To better my family. I picked the union and it was a good choice. I travel the world, make good money, meet new people and hone my craft. I’ve been sailing since 2012 and I aspire to become a third engineer.

Joel BoydQMED

I got bored with business sales and decided to find something that would be more interesting and let me travel. After looking around at my options, this seemed the most interesting. I can travel the world and learn a useful skill set. I love it.

Caleb DonovanOiler

It seemed like a good opportunity for someone my age. I was 18 when I started. There are lots of opportunities to progress. I’ve gotten to travel and make decent money and also have time off. This let’s me set my own schedule instead of a 9-to-5 job.

Maksim ShpylyevyyOiler

I decided to become an SIU mariner because I wanted to be part of a brotherhood. I get to see the world on my own terms, and it’s working out great. I’ve been to northern Europe, the Middle East, Turkey. Lately I’ve been sailing tankers, so I’ve been stateside, and that’s been fun, too.

Dontrell RiddickOiler

I wanted to better myself and get away – travel, have a little bit of fun. I want to be an engineer someday, and this was the best way to do it. I joined in 2017 and it’s been great. I’ve been able to see a lot of the world already.

Paul HudginsOiler

Get Started Today

Take the next step in your nautical journey.