Hey everyone, I’m hoping to get a start offshore (bad timing, I know) and just have a few questions, and could use a little feedback on if you think the route I plan to take is best, or if there is a better way of doing things. To give you a brief background on myself: I’m a younger guy, and have worked on a dinner cruise boat for the last 8 years, starting in an entry level food and beverage position, and then climbing my way up from deckhand through captain. I have my 100 ton NC, and was promoted to captain 2 years ago. I eventually realized a few things: 1) It’s really a small market, not a lot of jobs in it. 2) The money I was making would pretty much be about the most I would make if I stayed in that type of work. 3) There is really no chance of ever upgrading your license, and it doesn’t really qualify you for to many other jobs.
With that said, I need to make a change. My first choice is going offshore. Tugs and inland waterways is another option, but I’ve been focusing on offshore thus far. Of course, being captain on a dinner cruise that goes in the same loops every night doesn’t compare to going offshore, and I get that. My intentions are to get in somewhere at an entry level as an OS, and work my way up, taking STCW courses and other endorsement classes along the way. On to the questions:
What do you think is a better route to go? Start with a bigger company and possibly end up on larger vessels with more positions to go into and seatime at a greater tonnage…or work for a mom and pop crew boat company, with the potential to slip into a captains position if something opens up after you gain experience offshore? This question is a matter of opinion I suppose, but would love to hear them.
If you get called to go out to a boat, or decide to take a trip and start knocking on doors, what would you pack? I assume plenty of work clothes, steel toed boots, a book or two for downtime, toiletries, etc. But what else? Is any applicable safety gear (ear plugs, hard hats, etc) generally provided if needed?
Is there a standard for travel pay? I’ve been looking around online, and it seems a lot of places pay travel, a few specifically say they aren’t live on positions and need to be nearby, and others say nothing. Just having a little difficulty gauging what is most common.
Do headhunter agencies give you that much greater of a chance at a job? I filled out an application for seaport marine, but didn’t like the way the contract sounded at all. I looked up information about them through the forums here, and right away ripped up the application tossed it. But are any of them worth it?
I thought I had a lot more questions on my mind, but I suppose that’s it for now. I appreciate any answers, opinions, feedback etc!