The other night I ran into someone who had a Merchant Marine in their story. They were curious about what resources were available. I told them that although I didn’t have anything in the Writer’s Guide about Merchant marines, I’d do a quick check on what was available in gov info sources. I thought what I found might interest you as well:
- Information Concerning Employment and Training in the U.S. Merchant Marine 2009 – http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/FinalDraft-Information_Concerning_Employment.pdf – Aside from providing basic info about training and working conditions, this publication offer contacts for the numerous organizations that may put you in touch with actual mariners.
- Merchant Marine Medals – Since 1992, Merchant Marines who served in times of war up through “Operation Enduring Freedom” are eligible for service medals. See http://www.marad.dot.gov/mariners_landing_page/mariner_medals/mariner_medals.htm for more.
- Merchant Marine and Commuter Families: A Comparison of Couples Who Live Apart. – Abstract only at http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED222752. 1982 study on family dynamics of Merchant Marine families. The full text is probably available on microfilm at a number of libraries.
- On the water, Answering the Call – http://amhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/6_3.html – Materials related to Merchant Marine Service in WWII. Perhaps this could provide materials for people your character may have known while in service.
If there was interest, I could provide full annotations for these resources and maybe find some other resources related to the Merchant Marines. So, if you have an interest in having more resources on this topic, please leave a comment. Also indicate whether you’re more interested in current life as a Merchant Marine or in the history of Merchant Marines.