Author: Capt. Kelly Sweeney

Document renewals: Stay alert to changes or pay the price

For decades, unlicensed mariners such as ordinary seamen, able seamen and oilers never had to worry about renewing their merchant mariner document (MMD), since it was issued for life. Officers had to renew their license every five years, and could…

The time is now for maritime outreach in public schools

Scott, a friend of ours who's the principal of the local alternative high school, arranged for me to talk with the students about the merchant marine as a career. He told me how there had been doctors, lawyers, police and…

Onboard systems don't always provide clean, safe water

One morning while out on deck having my first cup of coffee, I started talking with Dan, a QMED (qualified member of the engine department) who was enjoying his usual breakfast of a cigarette and black coffee. We were on…

When times get tough, it's time to polish your resume

The last month or so before graduating from Cal Maritime, whenever I'd start to work on my resume, I would always decide that my time was better spent studying instead. So, after passing my third mate's test, with graduation a…

Tour aboard dredge off Balboa comes to an end

Ahoy Shipmates! Yesterday, as we were coming into the slip to dump a load of sand, on the bank covered with mud was THE biggest crocodile I'd ever seen. He looked at least ten feet long! I thought of how…

A busy week on the dredge Stuyvesant

Ahoy Shipmates! It's been a busy week here on the Stuyvesant! We are almost always moving, either dredging up and loading sand off the Pearl Islands (where the TV show "Survivor Panama" was filmed, I hear), or discharging our sand…

Kelly Sweeney aboard dredge off Panama

Happy New Year, Shipmates! I am working as an officer on a US flag dredge, the M/V Stuyvesant, off the coast of Panama. I flew down to catch the job the week before Christmas, covering for a young mate so…