Apprentice Application

Seafarers Unlicensed Apprentice Program Application

The Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship is a vocational school dedicated to preparing students for successful careers as U.S. merchant mariners. Please complete the application form linked at the bottom of this page to get started. Make sure to review the application process and requirements before you begin the process.

The application process is free of charge. If anyone is attempting to charge money to submit an application for you, please contact the admissions department at (301) 994-0010.

If you have attended the Unlicensed Apprentice Program previously you are not eligible to apply and retake the program.



Employment in the U.S. maritime industry requires drug testing – not just initially but periodically throughout a mariner’s career. The testing, which is required by U.S. Coast Guard regulations, includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Marijuana – While legal in some states, it is still prohibited under federal law. CBD oil is also illegal under federal law, and may cause a positive drug test result for marijuana metabolites.
  • Some prescription medications – Even though they’re lawful some may prohibit employment in the maritime industry. (Before stopping any prescription medication, check with your physician.)
  • Any Department of Transportation banned substance. More information is available at the following website:

Drug Testing Requirements for Apprentices

If you are accepted into the Unlicensed Apprentice Program at the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship, you must take and pass a Coast Guard approved Pre-employment drug test immediately before beginning the training program. Before you return to the School for Phase III, you must take and pass a Coast Guard approved Periodic drug test, unless you were subject to random drug testing on a ship for at least 60 days during the 185-day period prior to beginning Phase III. Once you complete the Apprentice Program, you will be subject to the drug testing requirements for mariners seeking employment at SIU-affiliated hiring halls.

Drug Testing Requirements for Mariners Seeking Employment at an SIU-affiliated Hiring Hall

If you are a mariner who is seeking employment for the first time at an SIU-affiliated hall, you must take and pass a USCG Pre-employment drug test at a clinic approved by the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan (SHBP) as a requirement to obtain a job. Once this drug test is on file with the SHBP, it is valid for six months. After that, you must take another Pre-employment drug test to continue shipping, unless you were subject to random drug testing on a vessel for at least 60 days during the 185 days immediately before shipping out.


If you have a medical issue that requires regular evaluation/monitoring, you should talk to your doctor to help you decide if you can work for several months at a time in a remote environment, without quick access to medical care.

New applicants are encouraged to consider the sometimes physically demanding nature of maritime work. No matter which division or department you sail in, these are not sedentary jobs. If you have questions about the physical demands of the job, please talk to the Port Agent.

For more information, check with the local Port Agent or call the SHBP Medical Department at (301) 994-0010, extension 5264. If you are applying to the Apprentice Program, you may also email Nurse Sharon at the SHBP Medical Department at [email protected] with medical questions.