Career Opportunities for Filipino Seafarers: How to Get Started

For aspiring Filipino seafarers, the chance to join a reputable and well-respected ship crew can be a career-defining opportunity. Joining as a sign-on seafarer allows for a seamless transition onto the vessel, as you will be trained and absorbed by the onboard team quickly.

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As with any new role, it is important to have all the necessary documentation and certifications ready, and to show initiative and a willingness to learn. With sign-on opportunities across a range of vessels and routes, Filipino seafarers have a world of opportunity at their fingertips. Whether it is cargo ships, passenger vessels, or niche luxury crafts, joining as a sign-on seafarer is a fantastic way to kickstart an exciting and rewarding career on the high seas.


Advantages of Being a Filipino Seafarer

Being a Filipino seafarer has its advantages. As the country consistently produces great seafarers, you can be sure of gaining many skills and experiences during your journey.

  1. Excellent training: With the Philippines producing highly skilled seafarers, you can expect top-notch training that equips you with the necessary expertise for your journey.
  2. Diverse experiences: As a Filipino seafarer, you have the opportunity to explore different parts of the world, immersing yourself in diverse cultures and gaining valuable experiences.
  3. Career growth: The demand for Filipino seafarers is high, offering ample opportunities for career advancement and growth in the maritime industry.
  4. Strong community support: With a large Filipino seafaring community, you can find support and camaraderie among fellow seafarers, making your journey more enjoyable.
  5. Competitive remuneration: Filipino seafarers are known to receive competitive salaries and benefits, ensuring a rewarding career at sea.

With the right motivation and training, you can start your journey today! So why wait? Become a part of this vibrant community and experience what life at sea has to offer.

Disadvantages of Working as a Seafarer

Aside from the great opportunity to explore and travel, working as a Filipino seafarer comes with certain drawbacks.

  1. Extended periods away from home and loved ones.
  2. Exposure to potentially hazardous working conditions and environments.
  3. Long working hours and demanding physical labor.
  4. Limited access to medical care and support while at sea.
  5. Language barriers and cultural differences when interacting with crew members from other nationalities.

But always remember that the rewards of working as a seafarer can far outweigh these potential drawbacks. With careful and proactive planning, you could still come out on top.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any Filipino seafarer who will be joining the ship.

Where to Submit the Application?

Bureau of Immigration Main Office

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What are the Requirements Needed?

Please carefully review the checklist of documentary requirements for Filipino seafarers joining (signing-on). Before proceeding with the completion of the required documents, ensure that you have read and understood the general instructions provided above.

a. A Duly Completed Application Form.


b. Make sure to Submit all the below documents:

  • Submit two (2) copies of the letter request addressed to the Commissioner, indicating the name of the ship and the port of arrival.
  • Provide a derogatory record verification without any derogatory stamp.
  • Include two (2) copies of the original guaranty letter from the local shipping/manning agency.
  • Submit the shipping notice/advice of the vessel’s arrival.
  • Provide the original and photocopy of the seaman’s passport bio-page.
  • Include the original and photocopy of the seaman’s book.
  • Submit the original and photocopy of the Contract of Employment.
  • Provide the original and photocopy of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).
  • Accomplish the Immigration departure card.
  • Submit two (2) copies of the Notice to Allow (BI Form 2014-10-008 Rev 0) addressed to the Alien Control Officer, if joining (signing-on) at the support.

Please ensure that you have prepared all the necessary documents as listed above.


To ensure smooth and timely processing of your application, please take note of the following instructions:

  1. Please make sure that you have compiled and arranged all the required documents as listed in the Checklist of Documentary Requirements (CDR). These documents should be organized in a legal size (8½ x 14 in.) folder and submitted within the specified timeframe, if applicable. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the rejection of your application.
  2. If the application is being submitted by a designated liaison officer, please attach a photocopy of the company ID from the shipping or manning agency.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can help avoid any potential delays or denials in the processing of your application.

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How to Apply: Step-by-Step Guide

To apply, please follow these steps:

Step 1: Ensure that you have securely obtained and completed the application form, along with any necessary supporting documents.

Step 2: Once you have filled out the form, please submit it in its entirety, making sure to attach all required supporting documents.

Step 3: Lastly, submit the completed application form along with the necessary attachments.

By following these instructions, you will successfully complete the application process.


Tips for Succeeding in the Seafaring Industry

The seafaring industry has plenty of opportunities for Filipino seafarers, but there are some tips that you should keep in mind before embarking on your journey. Here are some key steps that can help you navigate the industry and find success:

  1. Obtain the necessary certifications and qualifications required for the role.
  2. Build a strong network within the industry to expand your opportunities.
  3. Continuously upgrade your skills and stay updated with the latest industry trends.
  4. Develop excellent communication and teamwork skills to thrive in a collaborative environment.
  5. Prioritize safety and adhere to all regulations and protocols.
  6. Maintain a positive attitude and adaptability to handle the challenges of life at sea.
  7. Embrace a healthy lifestyle to ensure physical and mental well-being during long voyages.
  8. Take advantage of training and development programs to enhance your career prospects.
  9. Stay curious and embrace a lifelong learning mindset to continuously improve your knowledge and expertise.
  10. Finally, always be professional and demonstrate a strong work ethic to stand out in the industry.


These tips can help Filipino seafarers to excel in their chosen careers and make the most out of the abundant opportunities offered in the maritime sector. With dedication, hard work and a passion for sailing, seafarers can embark on a rewarding journey full of exciting adventures at sea.

Video: Salary of Filipino Seafarers in 2023

Watch this video to learn more about the salary of Filipino seafarers in 2023. Find out what kind of work is available to seafarers, how much they can expect to earn, and tips on how you can start your career in maritime.


Filipino seafarers are always in high demand in the maritime industry, thanks to their tireless work ethic and dedication to their craft. For any seaman looking to join a new vessel, the sign-on process is an exciting and important step in their career. Whether they’re joining a cruise ship, a tanker, or a cargo vessel, the thrill of beginning a new adventure out on the open sea is unparalleled.

With their skills and experience, Filipino seafarers are always a valuable addition to any crew. For those looking to join the ranks of the nation’s esteemed maritime workforce, the sign-on process is just the beginning of an exciting new journey.

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Hi, I am Laika and I am a full-blooded Cebuana, born and raised in Toledo City, Cebu. A mother of 2 girls. I love spending time with my family, watching movies and exploring the beauty of nature. For collabs, email me at