What is Maritime?

What is the Maritime Industry?

The Maritime Industry is waterborne commerce – it’s about moving people and goods over the water. 

Maritime is most everything connected to the sea or waterways throughout the world, especially in relation to navigation, shipping, and marine engineering. The industry has a direct impact on much of our everyday lives. Think about the oil that powers our cars, many of our vehicles, our electronics, the coffee we drink, the foods we eat, and the clothes we wear… most come from overseas. 

Maritime is all around you here in Seattle. Have you spotted these companies?
Maritime in Washington State

In 2015, Washington’s Maritime industry supported 69,500 jobs, $4.7 billion in wages, and $21.4 billion in business revenue.

The average age of maritime workers in Washington State is 54. Water-transportation workers face an impending mass retirement of almost a third of the workforce. Overall, the maritime industry projects a job shortage of 150,000 mariners by 2025.

As of 2016, Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry operator in the United States and the fourth-largest ferry system in the world!

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, composed of the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma, is the 4th largest container gateway in the US. In 2016 alone, they handled 3,615,752 TEUs (TEU stands for twenty-foot equivalent unit and is a standard-sized container on container ships)!

According to the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County, “Seattle is the closest seaport in the United States to both Asia and Alaska. Its location makes the city a prime gateway for shipping, cruise passengers, and tourists.”

In 2017, Seattle welcomed 218 cruise ships and 1,071,594 passengers. The cruise industry brings in billions of tourism dollars to our region as well as supports local businesses and farmers.


World Trade Carried by Ship


U.S. international trade is transported by ship


U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coastline


U.S. energy is imported by ship


Average Annual Salary

I Am Maritime

A glimpse of the maritime workforce:
Interviews with local industry professionals

Sarah Scherer

Sarah Scherer

Seattle Maritime Academy Director/Dean

Advice for how to decide if the Maritime Industry is a good for you from Seattle Maritime Academy Director/Dean, Sarah Scherer. Sarah Scherer has 25 years of experience in the maritime industry, including positions in hydrographic research, fishing vessel operations, and oil spill response with the NOAA.

Delmas Whittaker

Delmas Whittaker

Port of Seattle's Senior Manager, Fishing & Commercial Vessels

Delmas has been with the Port of Seattle for 13 years and in the Maritime Division as the Senior Manager Fishing and Commercial Vessels for the past three years serving at Fishermen’s Terminal. In his most recent position at Fishermen’s Terminal, Delmas has been responsible for maritime operations and facilities management of Fishermen’s Terminal, Salmon Bay Marina and the Maritime Industrial Center (MIC).

Scott Fairbank

Scott Fairbank

Director of Maritime Admissions at Great Lakes Maritime Academy

Scott Fairbank, gives us a glimpse of how Maritime is represented in the Great Lakes.


Phone: (206) 227 8216
Email: robert@maritimeblue.org

Youth Maritime Collaborative

Where Opportunity Sets Afloat

Guiding youth toward adventurous careers in the maritime industry through paid internships, experiential learning events, and thoughtful career exploration with a specific focus on equity and inclusivity.

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