Brown water to Blue water


Inland time can be used for any of the AB endorsements except AB-Unlimited.



That’s good to know. I thought I was only eligible for AB Special. I have tons of sea time from working a 20 days on and 10 days off schedule with occasional ride over. I’m studying now to visit the REC center when I get home.


I had an interview with Illinois Marine Towing a couple of months ago. They have a pretty good schedule at 3 weeks on / 3 weeks off. I went a different direction, but it seems like a decent place to work. They’re also looking to train people for the wheelhouse.

Canal Barge has been mentioned, and Illinois Marine Towing is affiliated with them. I remember looking at Canal Barge’s application and it was 4 weeks on / 4 weeks off.


Yes, Canal Barges owns IMT. They also own a refinery, a shipyard a few fleets and have offices in Illinois, New Orleans, Lake Charles LA and Memphis. Solid company if you are working inland, they pay for flights/ car rentals as well.



I would hope so. I spoke to my brother who had to get the endorsement a long time ago. He suggested the possibility of me being required to have one even on an inland tug in the near future. Our vessels are required through subchapter M to be Inspected vessels now. In the past we’ve always been uninspected.


I spoke to a Port Captain from Canal this morning. Seems like a great place.


It’s a good company, I used to work there. And like every inland company, they are short wheelman right now.


I’m looking to do the opposite and transition to a brown water mate(pilot).


It’s not that often I’ve seen blue water guys come to inland. I had a good friend I met out here who started out blue and came to my company. He held a 1600 ton. He ended up going back offshore about a year into it. Typically they’ll have you work the deck for a while regardless what experience you have. Not to obtain an endorsement but just so you get familiar with our line handling and tow work. Brown water tugs usually push atleast 2 barges so tow work has to be learned. They don’t push the tankerman part on new wheelman. It’s optional. They’ll let you learn it and then pay to send you to school if you’d like. Close quarters maneuvering is our specialty. It takes time to learn it. When I meet other vessels in the canal it’s not uncommon to be making 5 knots and come within 4 or 6 yards of one another.


That sounds about right up my alley…I’m a 3rd mate/Tankerman right now on ATBs. The money is pretty good, but I’m a boat handler. Always have been. Just doing cargo and keeping the boat on a track line for 3 days isn’t really what I want to do. I want more of a challenge. Call me crazy.


It’s for sure a challenge. No assist boats, low water depths, etc. I love it but I hate the rotation. Most inland companies work 2 to 1. I’ve worked 20 days on 10 days off for 6 years. I’m working on landing a spot somewhere that offers 28 on and 28 off. Inland is booming right now. If you can sell yourself then you get in as a Mate Pilot at around 550 a day. That’s the average. If you find yourself a steersman spot it can hurt the wallet. Average steersman pay is around 320 to 350 a day. Hope this helps