There is another maritime "service" you may not have heard much about, yet, the United States Merchant Marine is arguably incredibly important to the Armed Forces. Join the Merchant Marine as an unlicensed merchant mariner. How to join the Merchant Marines? Archived. 11. I keep hearing about it so I decided to Google it, I read a Wikipedia article about what the Merchant Marine does and I understand it But how the heck do you become a merchant marine?? I am prior enlisted NAVY and I am junior in college, so would they till make me go to their Academy? Posted by. Although the merchant Marines are a civilian counterpart, they often employ ex-marines or trade specialized persons who have graduated the academy. Those persons who are lucky enough to get into the Merchant Marines are typically highly trained individuals with backgrounds in the special forces or security fields. Students entering the academy declare a tentative major and pursue more specialized studies as the program progresses. Is there a resource/website available that outlines the requirements to become a cadet in the merchant marines? Entry-level mariners do not have afloat skills. Is 4 years of schooling required, or is that just to start in a higher level position? ? Close. u/Kalsiddon1. How to join the Merchant Marines? 1 year ago. How to Apply to the Merchant Marine. All I see is the US Merchant Marine academy online. Like most jobs, unlicensed members of a merchant vessel’s crew are either skilled or entry-level (unskilled) or skilled. Do I have to go through the Academy to join? The United States Merchant Marine Academy was founded in 1943 and provides a four-year academic training program for those seeking to become merchant marines.