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Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

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Longshoreman at Work

These union positions have a long and honoured history in the US. This guide is about getting a job as a longshoreman.



Here are questions related to Getting a Job as a Longshoreman.

Question: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

How do I go about applying for a job as a longshoreman?

By Montez from Brunswick, GA


Best Answers

By egrand05/09/2012

Everyone is a little off. I'm a casual working in the Port of Seattle. Basically, you have to wait until there is a signup for your area. PMA (Pacific Marine Association) will usually have that information because they are the ones that pay to train you.

Thousands apply, then they shuffle all of the applicants and you hope you get picked. You don't have to be a union member to initially get in. It takes awhile you have to be patient. I got on the training list and it took me 4 1/2 years to get my first shift. No training is required because they train within.

Best Answers

By Joan [13]01/28/2011

I would imagine you should check with the different shipping companies. You could even check with your local job service.

Best Answers

By Sherri [6]06/03/2010

My uncle was a longshoreman. He said to go to the local Longshoreman's Union and sign up. There are also ships that go to dangerous places so please be careful and ask for their destination and stops in between. Good luck, you will make good $.

Question: Applying for a Job as a Longshoreman

When do the books open to sign up for a longshoreman?

By Jamal


Most Recent Answer

By Marie Brack09/02/2013

Surely you should be asking at the port or at the union hall. I can't think why people on a site about thrift would be expected to have detailed knowledge about longshoreman jobs. You also didn't mention where you are and that probably makes a difference.

Question: Applying for Longshoreman Job in California

Where do you apply for longshoreman jobs in California?

By Rodney

Most Recent Answer

By Deanj02/01/2012

First, you have to be a union member to work the docks. Go to the union business office in the city they are located or the union hall and inquire about joining the union and working the docks. Then get help from the union for employment. If you are not a union member you won't get to work the docks.

Question: Getting Work as a Longshoreman

How do I get work as a longshoreman in Newark New Jersey?


Most Recent Answer

By Patricia Eldridge09/22/2011

Oops! My first post had a link that did not work. Try this one: ... onal-longshoremen%27s-association/16

Question: Applying for a Longshoreman Job

Where do I apply for a longshoreman job?

By Kevin

Most Recent Answer

By Dinah Ackerson [2]02/17/2015

Applying for a Longshore job takes a bit of time, however, actually working in a job takes seniority, much seniority!

Question: Becoming a Longshoreman

I would like to be a longshoreman. I would like to become a Casual. Hopefully, make union one day. I'm just not sure if I'm ready yet. I am from the upper middle class suburbs from Connecticut. I was wondering is there anychance of someone from my walk of life getting a chance at the greatest professional in the world?

PS., I'm not some kid who watched Season 2 of the Wire and decided this was for me. I'm doing boxing, lifting, running, mixtures of the combos. I don't know how strong you have to be. If I'm not strong enough yet would it be alright if I tried out again? I'm not strong then I will be in the gym strong. It goes without saying there will be people stronger. But all my boxing coaches and wrestling coaches will tell you there are few few people who can maintain my energy level for a long time.

I know the unfortunate thing is tragedy does strike. I realize a longshoreman can give powerliftings a run for the money in the strength department. My mom is scared, but I have to make my own path. I've worked jobs with sadistic supervisors before. I hope that there is no violence at the docks like there used to be. I don't scare easily. I understand the cultures of the docks. I just want to do my job, earn the respect for the casuals and the union men and women.

By Ryan F. from Milford, CT

Most Recent Answer

By heddie08/07/2014

Don't know what the east coast longshore process is but I am female Longshoreman in California. You can only apply when a casual process is opened. We haven't done it here since 2003.

Working out has nothing to do with the job, most everything is done by containers for the past 40 years. I am 48 years old as and still lash with the boys (I am not a crazy fitness freak, actually a few pounds overweight and only 5'4). Check with your local union to see when casual process is open. Used to be on the west coast only way in was through another Longshore man but that was changed in the last processing period. Hope this helps you out.

Question: Getting Hired as a Longshoreman

I am on the list to get hired. How do I find out my place on the list?

By Derek

Most Recent Answer

By leroy lammy11/14/2014

Just checking how long the wait list is before they call me.

Question: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

How old do you have to be to become a longshoreman?

By Ta'Quan

Most Recent Answer

By cybergrannie [30]08/30/2013

Hi - I do not know the age requirement but I do know there is a lot more to it than just your age.
Google your question and you will find your answer and hopefully lots of information to get you started.

May take many months/years to get one of these jobs.

Question: Finding a Job as Longshoreman

I have been working as a class A truck driver for 2 years. I have wanted to work as a longshoreman, for the past 13 years. I never seem to get the right information. What am I doing wrong? I need your help. Thanks.

By Preston from Los Angeles, CA

Most Recent Answer

By Marie Brack05/26/2013

Here's an overview:

What is up with all the longshoreman inquiries on this site, it seem like there is a new one every month.

If you're getting wrong information it might be because you're asking on a thrift board, not on a longshoreman, job-finding or union site. Use Google or Bing or any search engine to find the resources in your area.

Question: Longshoreman Qualifications

I am interested in applying for a longshoreman position locally, but 16 years ago, I committed a felony, assault and battery in a high and aggravated nature. I completed my probation sentence and have never been in any trouble since. Will I meet the qualifications for a longshoreman and to get a TWIC card?

By John

Most Recent Answer

By galmud04/25/2013

Regarding the TWIC card, go to and review the list under Disqualification, waivers and appeals.

Question: Working as a Longshoreman in Virginia

How do you obtain an employment application for a longshoreman position in Hampton Roads Virginia?

By joy2world2

Most Recent Answer

By Marie Brack01/19/2013

Specific questions like this are more likely to find an answer on a search engine. I typed: employment application for a longshoreman position in Hampton Roads Virginia? into a search engine and got relevant results immediately.

Question: Applying for Longshoreman Jobs

Where do I apply to be a longshoreman in Baltimore?

By Michael

Most Recent Answer

By Frugal Sunnie [11]04/10/2012

If I'm not mistaken, longshoreman have a long and honoured history in the US as strictly union, so your best first stop would be here:

Good luck, this is a very strenuous occupation, but one in which the labour is much needed by anyone who purchases any food, household supplies, clothing, and luxury goods!

Question: Applying for a Longshoreman Job

How do I get an application for a longshoreman job?

By Jeremiah

Most Recent Answer


Call or go to the closest union hall for your area for information. I say that because I am pretty sure most longshoreman jobs are unionized. I hope someone will correct be if I am wrong.

Question: Getting a Longshoreman Job in US

I am currently employed for the past 20 years as a longshoreman superintendent for a very reputable shipping company in South Africa. Is it possible to obtain a similar vacancy in the states? I am qualified in all aspects of stevedoring and also have a riggers certificate.

By Fayal from Richards Bay, South Africa

Question: Applying for Longshoreman Job in California

How do I apply for a longshoreman position in San Francisco, California?

By Mike J from San Francisco, CA

Question: Port of San Diego Longshoreman Lottery

2012---Recent lottery was drawn for San Diego port. Out of 12-15000 applications they cut it down to a final 500. Word is they went through the first 100 names to fill another 40 casuals. I am number 109 on that list. Anyone have any insight at all on what number they stopped on or when they will start training the rest? Thank you.

By Alex

Question: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

How do I go about filling out application for employment?

By Tony Long Beach, CA

Question: Longshoreman Jobs in New York

How can I get casual longshoreman work?

Tony from New York City, NY

Solutions: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

Do you have knowledge about this guide topic? Feel free to share a solution!


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

I need some one to help me to go through the procedures of becoming a longshoreman. I tried to find out but I can't find any steps.

Please help me.
tashface from Newark, NJ

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

try copying and pasting this link. I just googled longshoreman. I imagine a local union could give you some help on how to get in. (01/28/2006)

By Becki

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

You need to find out were the local union hall is and go there. I am a member of the I. L. A. "International Longshoreman Assoc." (11/29/2007)

By Dave

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

Good luck, the water front works on who you know. Basically if you're an outsider it's probably not going to happen. If you are hired, good luck getting a job out of the hall, as all the high seniority guys run their kids' numbers, and hire them off the pier. So they can get their hours and pass you in seniority. Expect to go for weeks or sometimes months with out working and when you do get a job expect it to be back breaking work, unless (if you are not in shape this job is not for you) you get a drivers job.

Everybody thinks you get a job at the waterfront, and you don't do anything, and you get payed over a 100k a year. It doesn't happen your first year out. You would be lucky to make 30k (the guys that make over a hundred are top pay and basically live there). Plan on spending a good part of your day sitting at the hiring hall waiting for jobs.

The waterfront is a good job. I'm not going to lie, but there's a lot of favoritism. It's basically a whose your father, or relative game. If I was you, I would find out where the longshoreman's hiring hall is and then union hall, and every other location they have. Start there, you will probably get the run around at first, but don't give up. Keep gathering all the info you can, and eventually you will find out where to go to fill out an application. Our union last year took 120 people there was a good 500 lined up around the union hall waiting to get an application and they all had the 2,000 dollars for their intuition fees. (12/09/2007)

By slinging chains on the waterfront

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

Contact the Pacific Maritime Association in Long Beach, CA. 562-495-7600. They jointly control the hiring process in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach along with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. They hire a group of "new hires" on the average of once every five to seven years. If you pass all the tests and requirements, you then are assigned part-time work until full-time positions become available. After hired full-time, you are then placed on a probationary period for an undetermined length of time until the union and employer agrees you have proven yourself, through work habits and reliability, to become a full fledged Longshoreman. The entire process takes years, but is well worth it if you like exciting and dangerous work. The wages and benefits are healthy, but the job is VERY dangerous and exhausting at times. (04/08/2008)

By Ship Gang 48

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

For all those seeking longshore work, know that it is a very long haul. I have worked in Tacoma since the fall of 1999 and I am still not fully registered. It is a falsehood that you need to be family to work here. The way it does help is that you understand what the union and brotherhood is all about. My father was a registered longshoreman for 44 years and he had a lot of knowledge to share with me. It is very dangerous work. If you are just looking to make a quick buck go sell used cars. I take my job very seriously and I truly care about my union brothers and sisters...It has to be that way because it is horrible to see anyone die on the job...even if you don't like that person. They don't just hand out A books to people, you have to earn them. It's a lot like going to medical school but not as clean of a job. For me it was worth every minute. (04/13/2008)

By Chucky

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

stay at your job

Being a longshoreman is not cut out to what you think it is. There are a lot of ups and downs about this job. I'm a longshoreman and these are true facts. (04/21/2008)

By christine

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

The first thing I would do would be to get a TWIC card, which will allow you to work on any sea port in the country. Having this card will not get you a job, but without it you cannot work on a port. Please use this link for more information. (07/03/2008)

By Chrischop442

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

You are no longer required to know someone to be a longshoreman, or to get work, although it does help. It used to be that way but now a days with people suing for spilling hot coffee on themselves things are a bit more structured. Here's how it works, down in LA / LB anyway:

1) You wait till they are hiring. Don't count on this happening anytime soon. They brought in 18,000 people and are still not done processing them. The first 5000 got "elevated" and the rest are still working as a casual. 2) A books and I think IDs(?) were given ONE application. I think there was 5000 of these given out. An application guaranteed you a job, but it's been 4 years since I turned mine in and I'm still working on being elevated. The rest of the 18,000 were lucky winners; 800,000 postcards were submitted. If you submitted more than one, you were cut. If you couldn't pass the physical, drug test, lashing test, you were cut. 3)To make a long story short, keep your ear to the news and find out when they are hiring.

My advice is this: there are other opportunities at the Port. Electricians will be needed to help operate the new technology they are implementing for a cleaner environment. Also, consider the security that is needed at the port. From port police to the coast guard, as time goes on and the port expands more jobs will be created. Getting your TWIC card wouldn't hurt, but I would wait til you have something going on first. They are not even implementing the TWIC system til April(?) 2009. The TWIC is good for 3 or 5 years, I forget, but the point is if you get it now, like I did, one year will be wasted since it's not even needed yet. (07/28/2008)

By Ray

Archive: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

I want a job as a longshoreman. Can anyone help me obtain information on this subject?


Archive: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

I was interested in a crane job with the longshoreman union. Does having 25 years experience, National Crane Certification, and being a military veteran help in accomplishing this? Thank you for your advice.


Archive: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

How do I get a job as a longshoreman? I have my twic card.

By Michael from Richmond, CA

RE: Getting a Job as a Longshoreman

Why don't you go the the longshoreman's union in San Francisco and inquire there? Good luck. (03/16/2010)

By K9cats