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Thread: A question regarding Merchant Sailors.

  1. #1 A question regarding Merchant Sailors. 
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    For sometime I've been trying to find an answer about Merchant sailors. I am curious about how easy it was to get a job as a merchant sailor prior to the introduction of the Z-Card (Marine Merchant's Document). I've been working on a story that involves a character being briefly employed on a Shipping vessel. Originally it was supposed to be the '70s, but apparently by that time it was already kind of difficult to just walk up into a port and get a job. Because of other historical conflicts I've ruled out the '70s and the original setting (Great Lakes) altogether.

    So my question is this: Before the introduction of the Z-Card (Immediately after WWII), was it possible to merely walk into a port, request employment, and be hired (sort of like how you see in the movies and whatnot: a bunch of dockrats hanging around and getting some quick cash for a brief stint on a shipping vessel) in America - and if so, what was the latest date that it would've been plausible.

    I have been searching high-and-low for an answer to this question, I've emailed Unions that have been around since the early 1900s, I've looked through books, and to no avail have I found my answer. I would really appreciate it if somebody could answer this one for me - because I can't write my story until I have my answer (I am staunchly in favour of historical accuracy).


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    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Hi stander, I have had a look round to try and find the answer to your question, like you though I've not found it easy to find a conclusive answer, however I did come across some interesting info about Merchant Sailors prior to and around the time of the second world war. Battle of the Atlantic/Merchant Marine [Archive] - The Fedora Lounge


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    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris, much appreciated.
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