AB special Job availability

Hi all, I’m new to the forum and had a few questions about AB endorsements and the employment opportunities they provide.
As it stands my credential is rated for OS, and I have been working on inland rowboats for awhile now. I was told I have the necessary seatime to warrant an AB Special endorsement if I paid for the class. Does that still offer job positions similar to any other AB? Or would that still only warrant an OS position. I would like to transfer to blue water, I’m just weary of a pay cut at the moment.
Thanks in advance for any help or advice!

you can’t get AB working on an inland rowboat

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Obviously, you meant Inland TOWBOATS.

AB Special is good for tugs, some OSVs ,and other “small” vessels.

If you qualify for AB Special, then you also qualify for AB OSV.

Once you have any AB endorsement, you can upgrade all the way to AB Unlimited without ever taking another exam.

Most larger blue water vessels will also require STCW Able Seafarer-Deck. That will require more classes, assessments, and seatime.


Not sure what your current day rate is, but ABs no matter what their rating is are making anywhere from low 300s to low 400s a day. On average high 300s.

Getting your AB is an investment in yourself and in the current job market the doors it will open and the money you can potentially make will pay for itself in no time.

No reason why you can’t self study for it if you don’t have the funds to do the course either.

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 Whoops I did mean towboats haha. Yes I had talked to a mariner school in Houston and got all the details of the stcw, lifeboatman, Ab course etc. I have the money to go through with it, but on the other hand I could just get me mate pilot and continue inland as well as they have a similar pricing in my area. 
 My main concern I suppose was if I would be able to get an actual AB position with the Special or OSV rate?

Agreed, there are guys that have worked at my company for 10 plus years and still sail as an OS. I never understood that. Invest in yourself and upgrade when you can and you WILL see a financial reward for doing so.

AB special is good enough for any tug or OSV company.

You will also need to do lifeboatman.

For STCW, you will need rfpnw and able seafarer deck. The OSV companies will probably work you as an OS until you get those endorsements. OS pay is somewhere in the mid 200s to high 200s these days.

Most of the tug companies don’t care about those STCW endorsements.

Staying inland and getting your Mate (Pilot) isn’t a bad idea either…but for what its worth, if you decide to down the line work offshore and upgrade your deck license, you most likely would need AB time and the endorsements that go with it anyway.

Well, I have the funds for all the endorsements for AB so if I went that route, I’d probably just go ahead and knock them out as they are only a few hundred more that the mate steersman. Would companies like EOC or Noble hire an AB special? Those were companies so was recommended to look at is why I ask.

[quote=“tugsailor, post:3, topic:65449”]
Most larger blue water vessels will also require STCW Able Seafarer-Deck. That will require more classes, assessments, and seatime.