Data are presented that summarizes the present state of, and the projections for, offshore and maritime industry deep-sea licensed manpower needs. The essence of recent symposia dealing with the marine and offshore industry future projects and technological requirements and the future of maritime officer education and training are included. Additional data obtained from selected industry spokesmen as well as the several licensing and regulatory agencies are utilized to establish the manpower needs for the near future as well as the training demand forecasts.


The unique and various types of vessels utilized by the offshore oil and mineral exploration and production industry serves to give it a distinction not otherwise found in other segments of commercial waterborne commerce. Similarly, this vital and expanding portion of the U.S. Merchant Marine is difficult to characterize not only because of its diversity of vessel types and tonnages, but also because of the several U.S. Coast Guard licenses pertaining to the operation and manning of the various vessels.

Compounding the problem of ascertaining the offshore marine manpower needs is the fact that conventional manpower data are not adequate to provide a clustering of the basic marine occupations from which to abstract subspecialities at the level under discussion.1

It has been projected by Lohse that there will be a strong trend of net growth of the U.S. offshore petroleum industry for at least 25 years and the industry will remain in force for an additional 25 years or more to meet national and worldwide energy needs.2

This paper will attempt to identify the demand by the offshore industry for maritime academy graduates with third mate, unlimited, and third assistant engineer, unlimited, U.S. Coast Guard licenses. A limiting factor is that a considerable amount of employment data regarding the offshore industries have been contradictory1 therefore, the demand and supply for licensed officer personnel as well as their training will be pursued to give a more accurate picture than currently exists.

Most of the vessels operating in the offshore industry do not require individuals with third mate and third assistant engineer licenses, but there is a definate trend by employers to seek these individuals because of their extensive education and training. Data regarding the particulars of the numbers and whereabouts of U.S. vessels, 200 tons and under, as well as those licensed to man them, are unavailable from Coast Guard Headquarters due to the method of data storage3, therefore their exclusion from the analysis.

The following forecasts must be read with the knowledge that they are subject to an exceptional variety of modifying variables ranging from international politics to technological innovation.


Offshore drilling for oil and gas commenced in 1897 and by the end of 1974, 19,126 wells had been drilled in U.S. offshore water, with 913 of them drilled in 1974 alone.2.

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