MITAGS partners with Grand River Navigation to Train Next Generation of Ships’ Officers on the Great Lakes
2-Year Apprenticeship Provides Fast Track to Certification

Linthicum Heights, MD – August 9, 2023 – The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) is pleased to announce a new offering of its nationally-recognized Maritime Apprenticeship Program (MAP), in partnership with Grand River Navigation (GRN).  Applications are being accepted between now and October 15th. GRN will accept up to ten apprentices, whose training will commence in January, 2024 at the MITAGS campus just outside Baltimore, Maryland.

The largest fleet operator on the Great Lakes, Grand River Navigation specializes in transporting bulk cargoes such as limestone, coal, iron ore, salt, grain and other commodities across the Great Lakes region. It operates a fleet of ten self-unloading bulk carriers crewed by mariners represented by the International Organization of Masters Mates and Pilots (IOMMP).

A vast and critical waterway system, the Great Lakes have long played a pivotal role in trade, transportation and tourism. The smooth functioning of this maritime network relies heavily on skilled deck officers to navigate vessels through these challenging waters. In recent years however, all Great Lakes shipping companies have faced a severe shortage of deck officers, leading to concerns about maritime safety, efficiency and economic impact. To help meet the demand for these skilled professionals, MITAGS and GRN have stepped up to cultivate the next generation of maritime talent.

The MITAGS MAP is an intensive and immersive learning experience that equips participants with the skills required to thrive as ships’ officers. Over the course of two years, apprentices alternate between months of classroom instruction and simulator-based training at MITAGS with real-world exposure during deployments aboard Grand River Navigation vessels.

The comprehensive curriculum is designed to instill a deep understanding of maritime operations, regulations and best practices. Moreover, apprentices benefit from learning alongside seasoned maritime professionals, gaining valuable insights and mentorship that can shape their future careers. For those with a passion for the sea and a desire to embark on a rewarding maritime career, the MITAGS Grand River Navigation MAP presents an invaluable opportunity to set sail on a journey of growth, knowledge and adventure.

“With the MAP, you will be on a career path to a great job with a growing company in a stable industry. GRN offers exceptional IOMMP healthcare and retirement benefits and continued education through MITAGS after the MAP. Here is an opportunity for vertical advancement up to and including Captain while learning practical skills that will serve you through a rewarding career,” says Tom Bell, IOMMP, Vice President for the Great Lakes.

This program is approved by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and honors the Post 9/11 GI Bill® for eligible veterans and their dependents.

For more information about the MITAGS Grand River Navigation Apprenticeship program visit


The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) is a 501(c)(3) vocational training and maritime research center, and is the primary training center for members of the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots. MITAGS provides practical, high-quality maritime apprenticeships and continuing education programs. Curriculums include standard and custom courses for ship operators, pilot organizations, the armed forces and professional mariners.