The Domestic Maritime Industry Applauds President Trump on Executive Order Supporting Veteran Hiring

On March 4, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order to help sea veterans seamlessly transition into the United States Merchant Marine. The American maritime industry proudly supports the hiring of veterans, some of our nation’s most dedicated citizens, into a 650,000 strong workforce where their skills and experiences can be applied to securing our nation’s economic, homeland and national security interests.

As described by Dr. Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for manufacturing and trade policy and director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, the “Executive Order on Supporting the Transition of Active Duty Service Members and Military Veterans into the Merchant Marine” will seek to achieve the following:

President Trump’s latest executive order will help sea veterans, in services ranging from the Coast Guard and Marines to the Army and Navy, transition into the civilian workforce as mariners in several ways. First, the United States government will help pay various fees associated with merchant mariner credentialing and licensing, which can exceed a thousand dollars.

Second, and of even greater value, ­­President Trump’s executive order helps enable veterans apply their education and experience on military ships toward the mariner credentialing curriculum, thereby removing other costly barriers to entry. For example, mid-career seamen, 1st mates, and engineers will no longer be forced to re-enroll in basic maritime classes, the costs of which are estimated anecdotally by veterans to be as high as $25,000. As part of this effort, the United States government will further develop online resources to help veterans navigate the process of becoming a merchant mariner.

On the economic security front, the executive order will help American veterans more quickly find high-paying jobs worthy of their skill sets. On average, water transportation workers earn $65,720 every year, well above the national occupational average of $50,620. Workers in the merchant mariner categories routinely earn even more.

On the national security front, this executive order will help address a significant merchant mariner shortfall. In the past several decades, the number of United States merchant mariners with unlimited oceangoing credentials who have sailed in the last 18 months has dropped below 12,000. According to estimates from the Department of Transportation, if the United States entered into a large-scale conflict that required the military’s full mobilization, we could fall short of the number of mariners needed to sustain contingency operations. In other words, after six months the most powerful country in the world could find itself challenged to supply its overseas military personnel.

Representatives of the domestic maritime industry thank President Trump for his commitment to our nation’s veterans and the U.S. Merchant Marine. More information about the American maritime industry’s commitment to veteran hiring, and a digital job board connecting veterans to careers in the domestic maritime industry, can be found at

“President Trump has continued to champion an agenda that supports our American veterans and workers. On behalf of the 650,000 American men and women whose jobs are supported by the US domestic maritime industry, we thank President Trump for his leadership to create an easier pathway for our nation’s heroes to join our proudly American-built, American-owned, and American-crewed industry,” said Matt Woodruff, president of the American Maritime Partnership.

“The American maritime industry, which provides the U.S. flag vessels crewed by U.S. civilian mariners to our nation’s military in times of need, joins President Trump in supporting and hiring veterans. We applaud his leadership to ensure our nation’s veterans can translate their valuable skills and experience from the sea services directly into a meaningful maritime career, which provides an anchor for our nation’s defense industrial base,” said James H. Henry, chairman, Transportation Institute.

“The brave men and women who have protected our nation should have good-paying, family-wage jobs to come home to once they complete their service, and the U.S. shipyard industrial base is honored to continue welcoming them into our field. The maritime industry serves as the backbone of our economic and national security, and we are proud to see the Administration prioritizing the American maritime worker by creating programs that can help our veterans easily transition into civilian life. U.S. veterans will always have a home in the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry,” said Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA).

“Military to Maritime is an incredible program that seeks to ensure our nation’s veterans have access to the ladders of career opportunity that the maritime industry has to offer and enhances the strength of our Merchant Marine. We are grateful for President Trump’s support in helping our veterans transition into the maritime workforce and thus in ensuring the robustness of our country’s domestic maritime fleet,” said American Waterway Operators (AWO) president & CEO Tom Allegretti.

“We are pleased and grateful that the Military to Maritime initiative will be enhanced by this executive order. Former members of the military who have joined the maritime industry have made significant contributions to the success of American maritime companies and the U.S. merchant marine. The need for their contributions remains great, which is why Crowley helped start the Military to Maritime program and has supported its growth nationally under the American Maritime Partnership. This presidential executive order will make it easier for active duty service members and veterans to transition into the commercial maritime industry by recognizing that their experience and skills gained while in the military can serve to jump-start the training and credentialing process necessary for them to become commercial mariners,” said Rob Grune, SVP and GM, Crowley Shipping.

“We are pleased to see the Administration stand behind the Military to Maritime Program. It is critical that we as a nation continue to build up our pool of qualified domestic mariners to crew the U.S. Jones Act fleet, and to support a successful shift from military to commercial maritime jobs for our Service Members,” said Ed Washburn, senior vice president, Fleet Operations, Pasha Hawaii.

“TOTE proudly employs many veterans, representing some of the brightest men and women we have, to manage and crew an extensive fleet of vessels that contribute to our Nation’s merchant marine and support our national and economic security. We applaud the President’s Executive Order that supports the transition of active duty service members and military veterans into the merchant marine. This military to maritime initiative will help attract trained and credentialed mariners, which is critically important to promoting the long-term success of our nation’s domestic maritime industry, our national security and our economic prosperity,” said Tim Nolan, president and CEO, TOTE, LLC.

“We commend President Trump for signing the Executive Order today in support of the Military to Maritime program, making it easier for active duty service members and military veterans to transition from the service into the maritime industry. We were thrilled to have two mariners in our fleet attend the Executive Order signing at the White House. Captain Jeremy Mock and Mate Jack Brandenburg, both former U.S. Marines, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and were able to meet the President, shake his hand and thank him for his support of the Military to Maritime program. We were thrilled to have two mariners in our fleet attend the Executive Order signing at the White House. Captain Jeremy Mock and Mate Jack Brandenburg, both former U.S. Marines, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and were able to meet the President, shake his hand and thank him for his support of the Military to Maritime program. The Interlake Steamship Company is a proud employer of military veterans across many positions throughout our fleet. Their leadership skills, self-sacrifice, honor, dedication and respect developed during military service transfer nicely into the maritime industry. Military veterans hold positions at all levels of leadership in our fleet. These military veterans adapt well to the fast-paced, 24-7 demanding nature of the maritime industry, which like the military also requires spending time away from home and loved ones. Not only can military veterans find good-paying, rewarding careers in the maritime industry that often allow them to use their specialized military training, they also connect with the hierarchy and living arrangements aboard our Great Lakes vessels. Based upon our personal experiences at The Interlake Steamship Company, the initiative of hiring former members of the armed services will be a successful undertaking for the maritime industry,” said Mark Barker, president of the Interlake Steamship Company.

“As a company that employs veterans from all military branches, Cashman Dredging & Marine Contracting Co., LLC would like to thank President Trump for his attention to the U.S. Merchant Marine, and his strong support for our military and veterans. Today’s Executive Order will help the men and women of the Armed Services, who have selflessly sacrificed for our country, transition into the civilian workforce as mariners. A strong United States Jones Act maritime workforce is vital to our national defense and continued prosperity. By alleviating the barriers for our veterans, so that their military training is more easily applied to obtaining Maritime credentials, you are also strengthening our vital US maritime economy. Thank you, Mr. President,” said Dale Pyatt, president and CEO of Quincy, Massachusetts-based Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting Company.

“We at GLDD are thrilled that President Trump has chosen to acknowledge and encourage the men and women of our armed forces who are making and have made the transition from military to maritime careers. In our case, GLDD has 75 veterans who are now career dredging employees, each of whom is making a positive difference in our company, our industry, and our country,” said Lasse Petterson, chief executive officer of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company (GLDD) commented.

“U.S dredging industry maintains the Nation’s seventeen sensitive Navy bases and military terminals. Further, the U.S. dredging companies have always recruited personnel from the ranks of the Armed Services. This is a great thing President Trump is doing,” said William P. Doyle, CEO and executive director of the Dredging Contractors of America.