The need has never been greater for competent and skilled mariners. To meet this demand, Orange Coast College is offering mariner training with up-to-date and innovative facilities at the OCC Waterfront Center.

Aerial view of the pier of Waterfront campus

Students in the Professional Mariner Program:

  1. Train on the water with a fleet of more than 40 vessels, and earn up to 60 days of sea service towards a Masters or AB, certificated by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  2. Get your hands dirty working with paint, varnish, marine diesel engines, and other yacht-keeping components.
  3. Practice scenarios in the simulator to gain experience in vessel handling, navigation, radar, leadership, and other critical skills needed on the job.

Student Testimonials

Ethan Beigel

I think OCC's Professional Mariner program is a complete gem – there's no other program like it. When I first started taking classes at the OCC Sailing Center, it blew me away that there was something like that available to students who were interested in pursuing careers in the maritime industry at the community college level.

Captain Prioleau really pushed me to do bigger and better things. I was in the program, and I didn't really know what I was going to do after I was done. She introduced me to the California Maritime Academy, which is the school I attend now.

I do want to become a maritime pilot someday. Currently I'm onboard with the Alaska Tanker Company, and it's because of the work ethic that I learned at Cal Martime and in OCC's Professional Mariner program, that I'm where I'm at today.

When I'm out on the open ocean, knowing that there's only a small percentage of people in the world who have been to that part of the world, it definitely opens your mind and your heart for the love of the sea.

Ethan Biegel

Heidi Mariner

Before I took Sailing 101 at OCC, I had never been on a boat. Once I took that first course, I completely fell in love with it. It wasn't until I was about three classes in that I realized "This is what I want to do with my life."

I appreciate OCC so much because I feel like I grew up there. Before finding the Professional Mariner program, I didn't even know that there was a sailing profession that you could do. OCC opened doors for me - this is where I found my path.

Professor Prioleau was the one who encouraged me to apply for a maritime academy, and I am now a junior at Maine Maritime. At first, my mom wasn't sure, but once we went to visit the school, she said "This is where you're meant to be. Your face lit up the minute you arrived."

In the future, I can see myself working on a tug near the coast, or I could see myself working on a yacht. I just got offered a job as a mate on an 85-foot yacht – there are so many incredible opportunities out there once you have the education and experience needed to get you there.

Heidi Mariner

Jenna Davis

I attended OCC's Professional Mariner program to obtain my Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping, and I found that the program not only offered that certification but also so much more that ended up being really helpful in my career.

After leaving OCC, I sailed on some of the most incredible yachts around the Caribbean and Mexico. I've also worked as a divemaster and snuba instructor, which eventually led me to move to Hawaii. It was while working on a boat in Hawaii that I first saw the coral reef depleting right before my eyes, with a major bleaching occurring in 2015.

That inspired me to make my own sunscreen – something natural that wouldn't further damage the reef – as a hobby, and my neighbors and friends started to request that I make it for them. Fast forward a couple years, and Raw Love Sunscreen is in full production, FDA approved, and I have two employees.

One of my biggest honors was when the instructors who run OCC's Professional Mariner program called me to ask if they could carry my product at their facility. As a student, those same instructors showed me all the different directions I could go in with the education I was receiving, so it definitely feels like I've come full circle.

Eventually, I'd like to participate in more conservation projects, possibly working on a research vessel. I've always felt like I'm kind of a siren of the sea, but instead of taking ships down, I want to use that voice to help the ocean thrive.

Jenna Davis


Some of the best hands on training I have ever received. Great program and incredible facilities!

Class of 2021!

Karen Prioleau

Captain Prioleau goes above and beyond to make sure it is a comprehnsive program that gives the students the most future opportunities.

Class 2020