How Do I Become a Ship Chandler?

Andrew Kirmayer

To become a ship chandler, it is important to have a number of key skills. Ship chandlers need to have an understanding of accounting, operating a computer, problem solving, and customer service. A person in this job sells supplies and negotiates transactions directly with ship owners. Ropes and other shipping supplies can be sold, as well as food, chemicals, and cleaning supplies. Highly specialized ship chandler careers can focus on engine maintenance, for example, so the degree of education needed for the job can vary depending on what the individual intends to do.

A ship chandler plays an important role in the shipping industry, because he keeps the boats operating.
A ship chandler plays an important role in the shipping industry, because he keeps the boats operating.

Becoming a ship chandler requires familiarity with both local and international regulations. Ship chandlers may need to be licensed by local institutions, depending on where they live or begin their career. They also need to be familiar with the regulations of the International Ship Suppliers Association (ISSA), which regulates the profession and business practices. A code of ethics has been established by the association to ensure that ship chandlers follow proper behavior when it comes to advertising, pricing, and selling products.

Education is also needed to become a ship chandler. To be employed by a company or start a business, at least some college work may be necessary, and technical or vocational training is often required depending on the job. At the very least, computer and customer service skills are requirements that can launch a potentially lucrative career. Since duties can vary with the specialty, such as supplying mechanical components, handling hazardous materials, or performing radar or engine maintenance, the educational requirements can vary. For someone looking work as a ship chandler, it is wise to check job listings online to see what each individual position requires.

In the past, it was possible to visit boats in port to become a ship chandler, to see who needed the services. Today, jobs can often be found and applied for online as well. The Internet is also the preferred medium for conducting business, and ship supply companies routinely perform transactions via computer.

The ability to communicate well is desirable in order to become a ship chandler. It is the nature of the job to discuss with the ship owners, captains, and crew the supplies and services that are needed. A ship chandler career can be based anywhere in the world there is shipping, and include any number of specialties because of the diverse needs of shipping interests.

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