Professional Mariner

Does the idea of a career at sea appeal to you? Do you see yourself as the captain of a luxury yacht, or the crew on a large charter boat or even a cruise ship? Maybe you’re interested in being a merchant marine? If so, prepare for a career as a professional mariner through Orange Coast College’s unique Professional Mariner program. At our beautiful Sailing Center on the Newport Harbor, we provide mariner training that prepares you for the Merchant Mariner Credential. Or, you may wish to complete an associate degree and transfer to the California Maritime Academy. Trained captains and crew are in demand in Coastal California. If you’re looking to make your living with a maritime career, read on to learn more our unique mariner programs.

A sampling of courses for these careers

Coastal Navigation
Yachtkeeping and Engine Maintenance
Boat Handling

Maritime Environment
Introduction to Ocean Sailing
Radar Observer

Did you know?

Projected employment for professional mariners in California is expected to grow 15 percent through 2024, faster than average, according to O*Net Online.

Program Details

Complete our certificate program, and you’ll be well-prepared to enter a maritime career. Earn an associate degree for even greater advancement opportunities.

See Evening, Weekend and Online Courses

In less than 2 years
you can earn:
Certificate of Achievement

Prepare for a career in the maritime industry, maritime environment, seamanship, marine safety, boat handling, navigation and boat maintenance. Learn nautical protocol, how to safely operate and maintain vessels, prevention and safety response in first aid, personal survival and social responsibility at sea, as well as fire prevention and response. Students must be able to swim 50 yards and tread water for 10 minutes. View program detail in course catalog.

Build on your certificate
of achievement with a:
Certificate of Specialization

Or earn your
associate degree
in under 4 years

Prepare for a career in the maritime industry in Southern California and around the world in private or commercial vessels, such as large private yachts, charter yachts, cruise ships, passenger ferries, sport fishing, commercial fishing and more. Most courses include hands-on practical exercises, and students are required to meet minimum swimming standards in certain courses. View program detail in course catalog.


To enroll in a Career Advantage program, you must first apply for admission to Orange Coast College. To apply, go to the Admissions Application Information webpage and review the information for admissions. Select the type of student you are and follow the steps listed to get started.

Classes cost $46 per unit for residents of California. Classes vary in their unit value, but an average 3-unit class costs $138. There are additional fees required to register and additional costs associated with each program. Click here to view the estimated total costs of the program in this career cluster.

View this chart for the length of the core program.

This program does not offer courses online, evenings or weekends. For details about offerings in this program, speak to a counselor or consult the class schedule. The class schedule tool searches through all Orange Coast College course offerings and includes a filter for online, evenings and weekend classes. For tips on how to navigate this tool click here.

You can make an appointment in person, online or by phone.  Click here for more information about Counseling Services and how to make an appointment.

For general questions about enrollment, availability of classes and other services for prospective and current OCC students, call The Answer Center at 714-432-5772. For answers to specific questions you can speak to a counselor or to the faculty member listed on this program page.

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Did you know?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who have a certificate as
their highest level of education earned, on average, 20 percent more than
those whose highest education level is a high school diploma.

Our Team

Christina Anchondo, M.S.

CTE Outreach Specialist

Katie Ottoson

Katie Ottoson, M.S.

Counselor, CTE and
Career Services

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