Maritime Trades ALF CIO
Close this search box.

Popular YouTube Host Advocates for Maritime Careers


Dr. Sal Mercogliano didn’t aim to become one of the most recognizable faces in American maritime – but now that he’s firmly established in that role, he wants people to know about career opportunities in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

Photo of Sal addressing the board
Dr. Sal Mercogliano

Mercogliano, a full-time college professor and department chair and former mariner, is best known to the public as the host of the popular YouTube channel “What’s Going on with Shipping” (approaching 300,000 subscribers as of late April). He addressed the Maritime Trades Department (MTD) Executive Board April 25 in the nation’s capital.

“I teach in a four-year college,” he told the board. “I’m supposed to be the liberal college professor who tells you that the college degree is the end-all, be-all, and I tell my students (on) day one, if you want a good, high-paying job, quit college right now and I can get you a job in a minute (in maritime) that will pay you six figures fairly quickly. Now, that comes with limitations sometimes, but you can go do that.”

He later added, “I am an unabashed fan of the U.S. Merchant Marine. I am one of those people who thinks that we can still fix what we have. I’m a historian. I can tell you what we came back from in the 1920s and 1930s…. When I see somebody wanting to blame everything on the Jones Act, I can’t help but go after them and say that’s wrong.”

MTD President David Heindel introduced Mercogliano and thanked him for posting accurate information about the maritime industry.

“If knowledgeable people aren’t out there setting the record straight, the maritime industry will fall victim to the same misinformation and disinformation that plagues much of the media today,” Heindel said.

Mercogliano, who sailed for three years on his license, told the audience at AFL-CIO headquarters about his surging online growth in recent years.

“It happened by complete accident,” said Mercogliano, 56, who works at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina.

He had run a YouTube channel for many years prior to 2021 but mainly used it to post videos of collegiate lectures. Then, he recorded and shared a segment about the Ever Given disaster in the Suez Canal. That proved to be the launching point for “What’s Going on with Shipping,” which now features a library of more than 700 videos. Some of the individual offerings have garnered more than a million views, including one with more than three million.

He said the channel’s success “shows a thirst out there for knowledge about the maritime industry.” (Mercogliano also said that his teenage son helps him not only with technical support but also with keeping the channel in perspective. When the elder Mercogliano mentioned his recent video that surged past three million views, the younger one “in a second, will pull up a video of a potato ship rotating around to Funkytown that has 35 million views. Immediately puts me back in my place.”)

Mercogliano, who also teaches an online class for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and works as a volunteer firefighter, encouraged attendees to take advantage of social media’s reach.

“One of the things that I’ve realized is that social media provides access to groups that are unfamiliar” with maritime, he said. “I want to convey to you how important I think social media is. We know how difficult it is to get people to come work for all your unions and do the jobs we want to do. One of the problems is just the lack of knowledge of the industries and the job opportunities that are out there.”

He said he’d be happy to utilize his channel to assist the MTD and its affiliates, and encouraged everyone to be patient in building and growing their own respective social-media presences.

“It’s not simple and it’s not easy,” he concluded. “It took me a long time. When I posted a six-minute video, it took me 30 years (to reach that level of subject knowledge and proficiency), not six minutes. So, don’t get discouraged. This is a great opportunity.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Fill out the form below the get the latest updates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Share this post