Coast Guard or Hawsepipe?


#1

I’m in dire need of some advice. I’m 27 desperately seeking a career change, as I’m a freelance tv news camera operator and I’ve worked maybe 8 days in the past 2 months. I applied for my os-mmd on Monday, and going to apply for TWIC on Tuesday. My goal is to someday become a Tug Captain, but from reading through these forums and doing other research I have come to the conclusion that it’s almost impossible to get a job as an OS on a tug in NY harbor anymore. So, my question is if I enlisted in the Coast Guard could I get any qualifying sea time to help me reach this goal? Is there a career path I could take through the CG that once I was done with active duty I could have at least a 3rd Mate or even better Apprentice Mate? I have Bachelor’s Degree so I could go to Officer Candidate School. Or should I just wait for my documents to come back and try my hardest to get an OS job and move up from there? I’m just in a rough spot right now, struggling horribly financially and can’t even find a bullshit job on shore to help me get by.

Thanks for any advice you can give me!


#2

With a bachelors you can get your 3rd Mates in about 2.5 years at GLMA. It doesnt really help you with the towing but you do have the opportunity to get some tug time in. We have quite a few “older” cadets here so you wouldnt feel too out of place

and we can go to the bar whenever we like.

Just a thought


#3

Thanks for the reply, that sounds like a good opportunity. But I’m not in the position to go back to school. Wish I was, but I need full-time work. Got bills to pay.


#4

Alex13, Hawsepipe would be costly for you right now if you go offshore as you will need STCW-Basic Safety Training and then it still may not produce a job for you. May I suggest you look at the inland river opportunities. STCW is not required there. If you need any contacts you may pm me. Best of luck to you.


#5

I don’t know much about the Coast guard active duty, but I was in the military and if making money is what you want to do I would not suggest going into the military.

Hawsepipe may be expensive, but you will reap the rewards if you follow through. I estimate I have personally spent around 25-30 K, just an estimate. My salary has increased by 1000% since I started as a Deckhand on a crewboat in 1997. In this industry an investment in your Marine education will open doors for you in the future. Anything you can get that will give you a leg up on someone else will make you a more desirable employee.

Also, I would not jump to conclusions about who will and will not hire a green OS. To listen to some people talk you would think that no one can get hired and advance. If you were to see those same people ten years from now they will be doing the same thing in the same position, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee talking about how the whole world is against them. I would have to get those doors closed in my face before I would actually believe that I could not get hired.

What you should consider is getting with a company that offers STCW and AB training. It may not be a tug company but at least it would get you started. You would be getting paid while you train. The beautiful thing is you are in an entry level spot and most companies need entry level positions because people either move up or move on or get run off. Consider an OSV companies. Some of these OSV companies even have tugs. Harvey Gulf, Edison Chouest Offshore, Otto Candies for example have tugs and OSV. Maybe consider Oceaneering, Seacor, Tidewater, C&G, Gulf Offshore Logistics (GOL), Barry Graham Gulf, Abdon Callais Offshore. The list goes on and on with a little research. Although if I had to choose I would choose Harvey last. They have some outlaws. [B]Just my opinion[/B]. Most of these companies also offer mate/captain training. If you have spent time on a family vessel such as a 19 foot bayliner that you fished offshore with when you were younger, you can use sea time on that from the time you were 16 years old towards getting your 100 ton Master’s license. There is a small boat service form that has to be filled out to verify the time along with the registration number and notarized if you do not own the boat in your name.

You may also want to try one of the drilling companies in the gulf. Noble, Transocean, Pride, Ensco, Frontier, Seadrill. They also look for entry level people from time to time with starting salaries around 40-50K. Some even cover all travel expenses.

Lastly there are marine related occupations that do not accrue sea time for MMD or license but can offer a lucrative career. Baker Hughes, Drill-Quip, Haliburton, Delmar, Intermoor. Delmar is an anchor handling company near Lafayette, LA that works on Anchor handling Tug Supply vessels and they have an attractive starting salary and can tell you from experience they have it good compared to some other occupations.

Getting a 3rd Mate/2nd Mate is not going to be easy, but it is not impossible like some may say. If I listened to every guy who ever said you can’t do this or can’t do that I would still be an unlicensed engineer on a crewboat working out of Theodore, AL.

I know things are not great right now with our economy, but I “think” that with a little effort you could find something to get you going. I don’t know if you saw it or not but the unemployment rate in Louisiana actually went down for the Month of February.

[quote=Alex13;10105]I’m in dire need of some advice. I’m 27 desperately seeking a career change, as I’m a freelance tv news camera operator and I’ve worked maybe 8 days in the past 2 months. I applied for my os-mmd on Monday, and going to apply for TWIC on Tuesday. My goal is to someday become a Tug Captain, but from reading through these forums and doing other research I have come to the conclusion that it’s almost impossible to get a job as an OS on a tug in NY harbor anymore. So, my question is if I enlisted in the Coast Guard could I get any qualifying sea time to help me reach this goal? Is there a career path I could take through the CG that once I was done with active duty I could have at least a 3rd Mate or even better Apprentice Mate? I have Bachelor’s Degree so I could go to Officer Candidate School. Or should I just wait for my documents to come back and try my hardest to get an OS job and move up from there? I’m just in a rough spot right now, struggling horribly financially and can’t even find a bullshit job on shore to help me get by.

Thanks for any advice you can give me![/quote]


#6

If you’re inclined to join the USCG do it and just stay in. Retire at 47 with a nice paycheck, full medical and veterans benefits - and the seatime and training to get your license and start on your second career. I suggest QM, BM, or OCS.


#7

Good post Capt Lee. God knows those of us that are actively looking for work need all the encouragement we can get. :slight_smile:


#8

Capt. Lee, I liked your reply also. It should be beneficial to the FNGs that need a little push in the right direction. I think though that he shouldn’t rule out applying to the C.G. and learning that facet of the industry before leaping into the fray of civilian Merchant Marine especially now that jobs are so hard to find even for us old timers. The part about 3rd/2nd Mate I agree with. I have been enrolled at L.E. Fletcher in Houma since December and it is hard going and a lot to recall that I already have learned and experienced in my 40 years of Maritime career. It seems that the older you get the harder it is to remember those things that are just below the surface of your brain pan. BTW I worked years ago with Captain Garrison K. Lee from Bayou La Batre and you are from Theodore I believe, any relation?


#9

Thanks for all the replies. All are helpful and giving me a lot to think about before making a decision. I may have an in to get a deckhand spot on the commuter ferry, SeaStreak, that goes between Highlands, NJ and NYC. Figure if that works out I could get enough sea time to get my AB, then make a move to tugs from there. But who knows, nothings set in stone at this point. Anyway, still got a lot of thinking to do.

Thanks!


#10

Lee is actually my first name Steve, but Bayou la Batre is where my maritime career started with John E. Graham and Sons. Before I went into the Air Force I was delayed enlistment until December, but I graduated in May. I had 6 months to kill, so I spent most of that 6 months as an OS working for Graham. My Dad was there for many years and many more when Seacor bought them out. He just retired last year. Those 6 months is what had me waiting for the day I got out of the Air Force to go back to the boats. At the time my recruiter had me brain washed that I could not back out of the enlistment without possibly going to jail. I have no regrets. The 6 years spent in the Service were some of the most care free days of my life with something exciting happening almost everyday. Even though I was paid pennies it always seemed like I had money to do things.

Edison Chouest Offshore offered me a position and I took it spending the better part of 10 years with them. It was hard leaving them and I have to admit some of it was a case of the red ass. They are a first class operation and I had a great position. I just wanted to try out my sea legs on a drilling rig and I hope I made the right decision. Leaving the security a company like Chouest offers is a tough thing to do. Especially in these times.


#11

Capt Lee, Have you ever considered being a motivational speaker? That is a very excellant post. Kudos!!!