Are you looking for maritime work, but not sure where to start? Are you an employer looking to fill a maritime position?

With more people wanting to fill the entry-level jobs available in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Mississippi River, maritime employers and job seekers are now looking for ways to get ahead.

For job seekers, the best way to break into the maritime industry is by getting a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential). If you are new and unfamiliar with TWIC and maritime jobs, then you have come to the right place.

Here, we’ll talk about how to acquire a TWIC card and describe the types of entry-level jobs you can get with one.

What Is a TWIC Card?

The TWIC is a way to show that you have been authorized to access secure areas of the maritime transportation system by yourself to work. When you earn the TWIC, you will receive a TWIC card. You need to show this card to be able to work in certain maritime environments like ports, ships, and boats.

If you have a TWIC, people know you have passed very thorough and specific physical exams and background checks. The card has information to identify you, and like a credit card, it contains a magnetic strip linked to your information when it is placed in a reader. This is all part of helping keep our U.S. ports safe and secure.

Benefits of Acquiring a TWIC

Once you get your TWIC, you become eligible to apply for maritime jobs and some other transportation industry jobs which require access to secure maritime areas. Also, the TWIC eliminates delays or extra paperwork for additional background checks, for example for other job applications or if you are trying to get advanced access for additional on-duty responsibilities.

Getting a TWIC Card

Applying for the TWIC is not an easy process, but there are certain steps you can take to make it easier.

  • Register Online: You can apply either online or in person at an application center.
  • Gather Documents: You’ll need to bring a valid driver’s license or other national photo ID and proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency like a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Facial photographs and fingerprints will be taken in the application center.
  • Pay Fees: You’ll need to pay a nonrefundable fee, which varies from state to state. Once approved, you receive a card that is valid for five years.

Entry-level Maritime Jobs a TWIC Can Help You Get

Once you have your TWIC, you can now look for entry-level maritime jobs. Here are some of the positions that are typically available:

Stevedore Jobs

Stevedores, also called dockworkers or longshoremen, load and unload ships. They are responsible for moving materials like containers, crates of goods, and other cargo between the dock or port and water transportation vessels. Longshoreman jobs and dockworker jobs involve heavy equipment and hazardous materials.

These workers should be able to follow meticulous safety guidelines. They work outdoors, in all types of weather and during day, night, weekend and holiday shifts. Assignments for beginning dockworkers are often as ‘casual workers’ with more irregular schedules. However, these assignments lead to more regular work.

Deckhand Jobs

Deckhands maintain a ship or boat to keep it clean and running in good condition. They work on tugboats, barges, and ferries and assist in towing, pushing, or pulling such vessels. They provide maintenance for the ship’s equipment, assist with watchkeeping duties, and ensure the general upkeep of the vessel. This might involve mopping the deck in the morning, making or breaking a tow that afternoon, and lookout or security rounds later that evening.

Deckhands typically get on-the-job training. They should be good at following directions and safety guidelines. Deckhands live and work in close quarters, may be offshore for days or weeks at a time, and often deal with harsh weather conditions.

Additional Certifications and Advancement

There are also opportunities to earn certifications and receive training that can help you advance in your current job or get higher-paying jobs in the maritime industry.

It is always good to try to earn certification if your profession offers it, for example certified crane operator. You should also consider adding certifications in specialties needed in your profession, like hazardous materials or safety. These extra certifications can increase your salary and open up opportunities for better jobs and promotions.

It’s important to research what is required for the area you want to work in so you can plan.

The range of entry-level maritime jobs and valuable experience you will find with your TWIC is only one key to building a good foundation for a career in the maritime industry. It is important to earn extra certifications and training to try to advance your knowledge and get higher-paying jobs as you gain experience and develop your skills.

How Complete Logistical Services Can Help

At CLS, we are committed to providing a proficient, dependable, and cost-effective solution for enhancing your staff in the transportation industry. We cater to both employers and job seekers and offer a range of staffing options. Here is a closer look at the options we offer:

Temporary Staffing

Temporary staffing offers short-term or seasonal positions. Employees will often seek temporary staffing when they are between commitments or are unsure of what their long-term situations will be. It may be a great way to build your experience, test a new job, or make additional money. Temporary staffing offers this to employers as a good method to scale up or down (decide how big they need their service to be), without committing to permanently hiring someone. It can be especially useful for businesses without regular demand or those that want to test out a new employee first.

Contract Staffing

Contract staffing is similar to temporary staffing but typically involves a longer-term commitment. It is a good option for employers who have a specific need that requires additional staff for an extended period. Contract staffing allows you to bring in specialized talent on a temporary basis, without having to go through a full hiring process. For employees, the extended length of the assignment means you work longer.

Direct Hire

With direct hire staffing, CLS will handle the entire recruitment process and present you with a pool of qualified candidates for a permanent position. This can save you time and resources since you won’t have to advertise the position or conduct interviews yourself. Direct-hire staffing is a good option for employers who need to fill a permanent position quickly and efficiently. Employees often seek this option because it offers more stability with long-term full-time work and benefits.


Temp-to-hire staffing is a form of temporary and permanent staffing. It allows you to bring in a temporary employee on a trial basis, and only hire them if they are a good fit for the company. This can be a good option for employers who want to see how an employee performs on the job first. For the employee, it usually offers the quickest way into a company. It is also a way to make sure a company and job meets their expectations.

Contact CLS Today

We have an ongoing “Get to Work Fast” campaign that ensures applicants who apply for a job listed on our website or upload their resumes will receive a recruiter response in one business day. No bots searching for resume keywords — just real people giving you the attention and service you deserve.

What’s better is that you don’t have to pay for this service. Unlike going to a traditional maritime staffing agency where more often than not you will pay a fee, CLS covers all costs associated with our services. This means you can focus on your job search and not worry about paying for it.

Whether you are an employer looking to fill staffing needs or a job seeker looking for work, CLS is here to help. CLS is a proud staffing agency in New Orleans serving the industries within the U.S. Gulf, surrounding ports, and around the world. Our team of coordinators successfully place candidates across construction, warehousing, IT, offshore, maritime, and many more industries. We offer a range of services and are dedicated to providing you with quality staff onboarding solutions that meet your specific needs. Contact us today to get started!