C. Keith Birkenfeld Teen Internship Program

This internship introduces high school students to the skills and tasks required to operate and maintain the SS VIRGINIA V, a US-Coast-Guard-inspected vessel and National Historic Landmark, and also provides students with an introduction to career opportunities in the maritime industry. Students are paid an hourly wage for their work shifts and attendance at required events during the internship, and will have the unique opportunity of helping to operate one of the last wooden-hulled passenger steamships anywhere in the country.

The internship program runs from late June through the end of August, and includes hands-on training and work shifts, job-skills training, career exploration events, and networking opportunities with other students and maritime professionals.

For more information, contact Margaret Saunders at margaret@virginiav.org or call (206) 624-9119.


  • 4 shifts in engineering (typically includes lining up pumps, performing oiling rounds, engine maintenance, etc.)
  • 4 shifts in deck (typically includes handling lines, stewarding passengers, navigating the ship during cruises, etc.)
  • 4 shifts in maintenance (typically includes varnishing, painting, small woodworking projects, etc.)
  • completion of one career exploration project during the course of the internship
  • attendance at additional skill-building workshops, career exploration events, and industry networking opportunities


Internship dates run June 25th - Aug. 31st.

Once students are selected for the internship, they will work with Virginia V Foundation staff to schedule work shifts based on their availability and the ship's cruising schedule. Interns are required to fulfill their four onboard shifts in each of the three ship departments - twelve (12) shifts total - between July 1-August 31. Shifts range from 4-6 hours depending on the event or tasks to be completed. Evening and/or weekend availability is often required.

Attendance at additional pre-scheduled weekday events between June 25th and Aug. 31st will also be required; please contact us with any specific questions about the intern events schedule.

Student Outcomes

During the course of the internship, students will:

  • Receive practical experience in all aspects of operating a steamship like the SS Virginia V, including deck, engineering, and maintenance tasks.
  • Participate in fun hands-on learning experiences at a variety of local maritime organizations including Northwest Seaport, the Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle Maritime Academy, and more.
  • Learn essential soft skills for success in the workforce, including resume and cover letter writing, interview prep, and networking.
  • Connect with key contacts in the local maritime industry and learn about career and education opportunities available to them post-internship.
  • Have the chance to meet and socialize with other students interested in maritime career pathways.
  • Receive a wage of $15.00/hr for their time spent working onboard shifts and attending required intern events.

Following their internship, interested students are encouraged to continue volunteering aboard the Virginia V as crew members, and can receive post-internship support and mentorship if they choose to pursue a career in the maritime industry.


Internship applications are being accepted via LaunchPath, an online tool for matching students with work-based learning opportunities. To register:

  1. Log in to LaunchPath or register a new Student/Youth account.
  2. Set up a Student profile, which includes information about your interests, goals, and any relevant past experience.
  3. Search for “Virginia V” under Internships to find and select our internship listing.
  4. Write a short personal message to go with your application explaining why you’re interested in the internship, how it aligns with your goals, and whether you have any past experience with boating or the maritime industry.

The deadline to apply is Monday, May 28th, 2018. Applications received after this date may be considered on a rolling basis if intern positions are still available. Students selected for follow-up interviews will be contacted shortly thereafter, and final intern selection is expected to be completed by early June.

Note for Applicants

LaunchPath requires that students register through a participating youth-serving organization. If you are a student of the Seattle School District, you are eligible to sign up for LaunchPath; please contact Maria Herrera-Lofton at meherreralof@seattleschools.org for assistance in setting up your account.

If you are not affiliated with one of the youth-serving organizations and are not a Seattle Public Schools student but would still like to apply, please contact Margaret Saunders at margaret@virginiav.org or (206) 624-9119 for additional information.

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