Where to start


#21

They didn’t except any of my past training other than one thing. If you can believe it or not I submitted coxswain certs and what not for the 33 25 and 45 all which are 45plus knot boats and was rejected a fast rescue boat endorsement. Kind of ironic since I was running around in really fast boats conducting rescues…I’m still confused. My evaluator even told me he knows I could teach the damn class but said he couldn’t do anything. I took this one all the way to the top of their office and was still denied. This goes to show the huge disconnect between the operational Coast Guard and the bureaucrats. There is how ever a new CG funding bill being proposed that addresses this issue and I believe in the future that this stupidity will be thrown out. For example you are currently acting as a mate on that 210 standing your own watch and running the show, you have been highly trained in all aspects of the job and have a much more in depth understanding and knowledge of things such as radar nav equipment and fire fighting damage control than some Mickey Mouse one week course will ever provide. Still the CG NMC doesn’t care and will force you to take a number of classes that you yourself could more than likely teach, all in order to get the license. This new bill would make it so DWOs and similar positions will receive a civilian license equal to there current assignment. So for your case would be a Mate 1600 or Master 1600. That’s the idea anyway. Weather this will come into effect is still unknown but I hope it does. It won’t help me any but it sure will make it easier and less expensive for the future military to maritime guys. The one thing I did get out of my service was an RFPNW rating. That’s right being a helmsman and lookout is the only thing that got me anything. Not the rescues not the boat operator qualifications but my non rate toilet scrubbing duties lol. I was at first denied this as well but with several heated emails back and forth the issue resolution team at the NMC finally bowed down and excepted that I was indeed correct and issued the endorsement. It is very frustrating but it’s just the way it is right now.


#22

The course certificates that substitute for a USCG exam, like AB or Master 200, expire in 12 months. Some STCW classes are good for five years and then must be renewed (like BST) or repeated. Other STCW classes (like GMDSS) are good for life, or until the rules change again. Currently, the USCG does not require that Advanced Firefighting be repeated every five years, but foreign port state control (Transport Canada) requires an Advanced Fire certificate that is not over five years old.

Clatsop has the least expensive courses outside of Louisiana. The problem is that they are not scheduled very frequently.


#23

[QUOTE=catherder;163999]I would really talk to a license consultant like Andy Hammond or Chuck Kakuska and let them look at all your schools and paperwork. You’re only looking at a couple hundred bucks. On schools, your GI bill should pay for what you need, as most of the schools appear to be approved (but check first!). At least you have time and you can plan ahead somewhat. I wouldn’t take classes too soon; I believe the certificates are good for what, 12 months after issuance if you don’t send them in (somebody correct me if I’m wrong).

Also get that certification of sea service letter before you depart the CG and make a copy of all your records, replace anything missing etc because once you’re out, it gets harder and takes longer(I’m ex-Navy)

You seem like a nice person who has his head screwed on straight and you will do fine.[/QUOTE]

I don’t know Chuck Kakuska but I went to school with Andy. I have seen him off and on over the years. Andy is a good guy and will
give you the straight dope.


#24

One more thing, if you have the post-911 GI bill, that has a living and book stipend as well and I think you should be able to use for lodging (hotel) but contact your VA rep. My son is using his GI bill now and he gets money for lodging. He is in college but staying with a relative (actually, his girlfriend most of the time) but gets a check. Just some thoughts.


#25

[QUOTE=catherder;164008]One more thing, if you have the post-911 GI bill, that has a living and book stipend as well and I think you should be able to use for lodging (hotel) but contact your VA rep. My son is using his GI bill now and he gets money for lodging. He is in college but staying with a relative (actually, his girlfriend most of the time) but gets a check. Just some thoughts.[/QUOTE]
Thanks again for all the help. It’s amazing yo have you guys take time out to give me all this info. I do have the post 911 GI Bill. It does offer to pay for everything plus E5 housing allowance. I am hoping to not have to tap into that. I’d really love to leave it for my daughter, but we will see. I am in the middle of an import trying to get ready for this next trip and not having to look all this info up is saving me valuable time!

Thanks again!

Dan


#26

Just a quick update. I really haven’t made much progress on anything, although I have been in touch with the Regional Exam Center and am getting my stuff in order. Also looking into the local community college for some courses (Radar operator, lifeboat, etc). I’ve got about a year and a half before I am out and about a year or so before I’m on terminal leave looking for a job.

Would any tugboatmen be willing to give me some info though here or private message? Just general questions about the job, time away from home, day to day stuff? The two lines of work that directly translate to what I do now are maritime or law enforcement. Still weighing my options.

Thanks again for all the help!

Dan


#27

[QUOTE=Dwithers;179328]Just general questions about the job, time away from home, day to day stuff?[/QUOTE]

The answer is drastically different depending on where you work. The Crowley/Foss/Dunlap tugs in the Bering Sea tend to be 60+ days away at a time. East coast tugs that go offshore are usually 14 on, 14 off or 21 on, 21 off. GOM tugs are frequently 28 on, 14 off. Ship docking operations are different and the schedules vary company to company and harbor to harbor.


#28

Thanks for the response. That’s kinda what I figured. Am I correct in assuming that if I get hired on, I go wherever the company has a hard time filling jobs, at least in the beginning?

What about connectivity while on the job? One of the things that makes being away from home difficult right now is that the only communication I have with my family is email, and that is spotty at best when we are way down south for a couple months at a time. So for two months I get email comms but that’s about it, which sucks. I know it sounds like a small thing but having spent so much time away from my family already in the CG, I don’t think I could do 60+ days away from home without much better connectivity.

Other questions I have, if anyone would be willing to chime in:
-Do you live in the area where you are working or do you fly in for your on time and then fly home?
-In your off time, are you off? I know this sounds weird but right now I leave for two months, then come back and stand overnight duty two to three times a month as well as work a normal work day Monday through Friday.
-When you are on the boat, what’s the work day look like? Is it “do work when there is work to do” and then maintain the boat, clean, and cook when you aren’t on a job?

I guess that’s it for now. I appreciate all the responses!

Dan


#29

Communication is different company to company. Foss told me recently their Bering Sea boats have satellite phones now that the crew can use to call home daily.

You don’t need to live near the boat, you could live in Washington and fly to the east coast to work on tugs there.

You will go to whatever boat your company tells you to buy most companies only work in specific areas.

When you’re off, you’re off. You aren’t the only crew for that specific boat, when you get off another crew comes on to replace you.


#30

The way the industry is now a days I’d say go LEO if you have the option.


#31

[QUOTE=Capt. Phoenix;179369]Communication is different company to company. Foss told me recently their Bering Sea boats have satellite phones now that the crew can use to call home daily.

You don’t need to live near the boat, you could live in Washington and fly to the east coast to work on tugs there.

You will go to whatever boat your company tells you to buy most companies only work in specific areas.

When you’re off, you’re off. You aren’t the only crew for that specific boat, when you get off another crew comes on to replace you.[/QUOTE]

Not sure if they do it anywhere else, but during my tenure with Crowley in Lake Charles, I would often be asked to work on my time off if I was in town. Sometimes on a Friday night to do a harbor assist for an outgoing tug and trailer barge and there was a boat and Captain available. At least I got seagoing pay for the work. Other times I would be asked to come down and work on the docks getting boats ready for sea or over at Fredeman’s Shipyard in Carlyss if there was a drydocking going on. . . I got half scale pay for that, called “hard card”. The other thing that would happen is that someone would get fired, not be able to make a sailing, or whatever. That was when I would get called to come back and sail a week early. . . was rarely with the same boat, but often would sail with the same crew, or at least Captain. . .


#32

[QUOTE=Blake;179407]The way the industry is now a days I’d say go LEO if you have the option.[/QUOTE]

Would you care to expand?

[QUOTE=cmakin;179418]Not sure if they do it anywhere else, but during my tenure with Crowley in Lake Charles, I would often be asked to work on my time off if I was in town. Sometimes on a Friday night to do a harbor assist for an outgoing tug and trailer barge and there was a boat and Captain available. At least I got seagoing pay for the work. Other times I would be asked to come down and work on the docks getting boats ready for sea or over at Fredeman’s Shipyard in Carlyss if there was a drydocking going on. . . I got half scale pay for that, called “hard card”. The other thing that would happen is that someone would get fired, not be able to make a sailing, or whatever. That was when I would get called to come back and sail a week early. . . was rarely with the same boat, but often would sail with the same crew, or at least Captain. . .[/QUOTE]

Well that’s something to think about then. I’ve really had enough last minute schedule changes in the Coast Guard. I’m really kind of looking for some consistency and stability. Was this something that happened often? I mean I wouldn’t mind being called upon from time to time, hopefully that would mean the higher ups can count on me to do my job. But I definitely wouldn’t want that happening a lot. 20 years of not being able to make plans has kind of soured my view I think.


#33

[QUOTE=Dwithers;179456]Well that’s something to think about then. I’ve really had enough last minute schedule changes in the Coast Guard. I’m really kind of looking for some consistency and stability. Was this something that happened often? I mean I wouldn’t mind being called upon from time to time, hopefully that would mean the higher ups can count on me to do my job. But I definitely wouldn’t want that happening a lot. 20 years of not being able to make plans has kind of soured my view I think.[/QUOTE]

I think his experiences are the exception, not the norm. One way to ensure that doesn’t happen to you is to not live near the boats as I believe he lived in Lake Charles when working for Crowley in Lake Charles. Also, he was an engineer.


#34

[QUOTE=“Dwithers”] Would you care to expand?

The slow down in the gulf that followed the downturn of oil put a lot of Mariners out of a job. Many flooded over to the tugs which limited employment opportunities in that sector. Obviously until oil prices rise again work will be few and far between in the gulf and everywhere else. Keep an eye on oil prices as things will definitely start to look up again once they rise to profitable levels. If I could do it again I’d skip all the bs hoops that I had to jump threw to get where I am now and just go the LEO route (I still may)…Just personal opinion from a guy who’s been down the same road your on.


#35

[QUOTE=Capt. Phoenix;179461]I think his experiences are the exception, not the norm. One way to ensure that doesn’t happen to you is to not live near the boats as I believe he lived in Lake Charles when working for Crowley in Lake Charles. Also, he was an engineer.[/QUOTE]

Correct, I was and I am/was. This was some time ago, too. One thing that I was told when was living in Lake Charles and working for them was to move out of town or else I was going to get fired. . . I didn’t and I was. . . just working too much. I was in my early 20s at the time and had no real ties, though. I didn’t even look for work for 6 weeks. Had money in the bank and really needed the time off. Got the job on the ATB SEA SKIMMER/PLAQUEMINE the day after I decided my vacation was over. . . lucky me.

Now, on that one I did work over and came back early most trips. Again, being the young single guy, I was willing to do it. At one point I DID make plans for a trip on vacation. Two weeks before, my NEW relief boarded in Charleston, was going to sail as assistant back to Port Arthur to get to know the vessel and I was going to get off there. . . well THAT guy showed up, off the plane staggeringly drunk, tried to light a cigarette on the barge while it was discharging gasoline. . . sent him home. . . Get to Port Arthur and we were getting one of the gearboxes rebuilt there (again). so I had a few days to break in a relief. . . and THAT guy showed up drunk . . . both of the drunks were twice my age at the time, too. . . well, since I had plans, I told the Superintendent that when my new relief sobers up, I will stay for three days. . . I did that and had a wonderful vacation. . . oh, I did have to come back early about three months later when that guy came back to the boat in Corpus blindingly drunk and the assistants had to take over for him and put him in his cabin. . . .


#36

Hi Dwithers - How’s it going since your last update back on 02/17/16. Hope all is well, keep us up to date when you get a chance.


#37

Sorry for the lack of updates. Man it’s been pretty crazy. Since my last post I have transferred to a new unit; one of the newest patrol boats the CG has in Florida. It’s been a nasty few months. I’ve spent most of the time since I arrived in June either out on the boat, in training, or avoiding these stupid hurricanes. I just got back from a month long deployment to Puerto Rico. The only thing I’m waiting on right now for my 200 ton masters is a CPR card. Once I get that taken care of this inport I will be submitting my package to the local REC and hopefully getting my testing done. I’m about 9 months from retirement and I want to have my license as a back up. At this point I’m not entirely certain I want to continue my work on the water. It’s what I’m good at, it’s what I know, but Im getting old and all these late watches and constantly changing schedules are getting to me. I definitely know Im done with the military. I want some personal freedoms and less political BS with whatever I choose to do next.


#38

In case you don’t have anything lined up before you’re out, you could look into CBP AMO as a backup. Your CG experience and a 200 ton license should make you a good fit.


#39

I am actually looking into CBP for sure. The Marine interdiction stuff is very cool but they are currently only hiring for jobs in Puerto Rico, unfortunately. The wife has told me in no uncertain terms that PR is not an option:)


#40

There’s also the COE. They operate stateside.