1600 mate vs 3rd mate unlimited which road to take?

So I have been trying to find out the honest answer to this question, I even called Suny to ask, but I will try my luck here. Right now, I am thinking about either getting a 3rd unlimited and graduate degree at Suny in 3 years, or a 2 year Small Vessel Operations Associates degree and 1600 ton Mate Oceans or Near Coastal Endorsement (Don’t know which but thats for another time). My question is:

Could I easily find employment on a tug at a company like Crowley, or Harvey Marine, and make at least $50 g a year?

or….

Would it be much easier to find employment, and would I be much better paid as a tug operator, to go all the way through the 3 year program and get a 3rd mate unlimited license.

Right now I am thinking if you don’t need a 3rd unlimited to operate a tug then why go that extra year to school and credentialing when you could be out earning, and then through experience I could go 1600 Master --> 3rd Unlimited–> whatever comes after that. Is it really a much better life to start out as a 3rd unlimited?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and comments on this issue.

I should think that $$ and time will definitely factor into your decision. That said, how much will the two-year program cost you vs. the three year program?

The more you have, the more valuable you become…

As a long time tug captain I say, go for third mate at the academy. The 3rd license and degree are ten times more valuable.

The 2 year associates degree program (and it may be less time than that since I went to college already) would cost roughly $18,000 tuition, not including eating and sleeping. The 3 year Masters degree and 3rd mate unlimited program runs at about $47,000, eating and sleeping and other stuff not included. So the price difference is about $29,000, + the opportunity cost of not working that 3rd year which could hopefully be ~$50,000, which I figure is the amount you need to live decently in the NYC area.

I totally agree with tugsailor. Get the 3rd unlimited for sure. You’re thinking short term. If I could do it all again, I would go to an academy. This is a no brainer.

The kind of tugboat mate job that you might get with SVO might pay about $50k. The kind of tugboat mate job you can get with a master’s degree and third mate would pay about $90,000.

3rd mate plus one year of seatime equals 2nd mate (possibly with a tonnage restriction if you were working on tugs), and after a simple exam Master 1600, plus master of towing.

Some seagoing experience and the master’s degree makes it very possible to move shoreside at $100k plus in NY, or do any number of other things.

As said above, its no brainer.

Thats what I like to hear! Thanks for the information it sounds like 3rd Mate is the way to go.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;152310]The kind of tugboat mate job that you might get with SVO might pay about $50k. The kind of tugboat mate job you can get with a master’s degree and third mate would pay about $90,000.
[/QUOTE]

On the east coast I don’t see any difference in mate pay due to differences in degree and license, as long as you have 1,600 ton’s or more printed on it. Maybe at a rinkey-dink company that’s the case but 3/4, if not more of the tug mate’s around these parts are hawsepipers and are easily making over $100,000 a year. There are folks working for less, but that’s their own choice. Us schoolboys are in the minority.

You’ll spend time working as an AB in many cases before being a mate on a tugboat, but that’s at least $70,000 or so a year.

Any degree you can gain is worth it. Personally, I’d just get an MBA from a good school and skip the license.

[QUOTE=z-drive;152321]On the east coast I don’t see any difference in mate pay due to differences in degree and license, as long as you have 1,600 ton’s or more printed on it. Maybe at a rinkey-dink company that’s the case but 3/4, if not more of the tug mate’s around these parts are hawsepipers and are easily making over $100,000 a year. There are folks working for less, but that’s their own choice. Us schoolboys are in the minority.

You’ll spend time working as an AB in many cases before being a mate on a tugboat, but that’s at least $70,000 or so a year.

Any degree you can gain is worth it. Personally, I’d just get an MBA from a good school and skip the license.[/QUOTE]

Thats interesting advice, so get the 1600 mate Ocean license and then work as an AB at first. I thought about that because working from an AB up the ranks would get you familiar with the deck, which would in turn make you a better driver once you become a mate. If one were to go 3rd mate unlimited and get into tugs, he might be upset starting off as an AB instead of a Mate, but then again starting off on deck as an AB seems essential since 3/4 of that workforce is hawspiper, you would have no respect if you never AB’d for a while. (Maybe I’m wrong). The advantage of the 3rd Unlimited then seems to be the prestige factor, working for oil companies, and Blue Water sailing if you ever wanted to get into that Captain Phillips type stuff. So in a word, 3rd mate = flexibility to do more in the industry. Im just thinking out loud. This has all been very helpful thank you.

[QUOTE=outerrimm;152327]So in a word, 3rd mate = flexibility to do more in the industry. [/QUOTE]

There you go.

You will do fine either way, that choice just opens some more doors here and there. There are more and more academy folks on workboats, no doubt. But in the tugboat trade, in reality, less of the “REAL” mate’s are than most people would think. I say “REAL” mate’s as there are tons of cargo mates, second mates etc on tugs that don’t stand a real watch and have zero responsibility, not knocking them but for the sake of comparison I’m comparing a watchstander to watchstander.

Disclaimer: Maritime Academy graduate, no 3rd mate’s license

Had I known I was going to do this for a living when I was in high school, I definitely would have gone to the academy. As was mentioned before, its a no brainer.

If you’re considering the Masters program, beware of the prerequisites. Many, many college grads will not have taken most, or any, of those courses. Taking them adds about 15 credit hours, greatly increasing cost and the time necessary to get the degree.

Google SUNY Maritime graduate program prerequisites. There’s a pdf that has them listed.

If you think you have some, or all, or equivalent, it’s important to make sure that your courses will be accepted for the prerequisites.

[QUOTE=outerrimm;152327]Thats interesting advice, so get the 1600 mate Ocean license and then work as an AB at first. I thought about that because working from an AB up the ranks would get you familiar with the deck, which would in turn make you a better driver once you become a mate. If one were to go 3rd mate unlimited and get into tugs, he might be upset starting off as an AB instead of a Mate, but then again starting off on deck as an AB seems essential since 3/4 of that workforce is hawspiper, you would have no respect if you never AB’d for a while. (Maybe I’m wrong).

The advantage of the 3rd Unlimited then seems to be the prestige factor, working for oil companies, and Blue Water sailing [B][U]if you ever wanted to get into that Captain Phillips type stuff.[/U][/B]
So in a word, 3rd mate = flexibility to do more in the industry. Im just thinking out loud. This has all been very helpful thank you.[/QUOTE]

Wow! Oh how the respectable institution that was SUNY Maritime has fallen…

Heaven forbid that someone aspiring to get an an unlimited license might consider such an unbelievable career path as “Captain Phillips type stuff” on the blue water. And where exactly is this prestige coming from? Working for oil companies… do you mean tankers or (snicker, snicker) “sailing” on a MODU where you will finely hone your skills?

Stop thinking out loud with your keyboard.

[QUOTE=Johnny Canal;152433]Wow! Oh how the respectable institution that was SUNY Maritime has fallen…

Heaven forbid that someone aspiring to get an an unlimited license might consider such an unbelievable career path as “Captain Phillips type stuff” on the blue water. And where exactly is this prestige coming from? Working for oil companies… do you mean tankers or (snicker, snicker) “sailing” on a MODU where you will finely hone your skills?

Stop thinking out loud with your keyboard.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I kind of giggled to myself while reading the “Captain Phillips type stuff” comment. Bear in mind that he is on the outside, looking in. If he matriculates in a USCG licensing program at a maritime school and does his cadet billet on a vessel where he is actually doing something useful (as opposed to sitting back, watching somebody else mash buttons on a DP console), then he will be disabused of these myths.

I sailed with a limited license grad who due to a lack of employment opportunities was sailing AB on an SIU-contract ship. He regretted the decision and was working on his license upgrade by sailing unlicensed. He was an unhappy camper 9 out of 10 days I saw him on deck.