How does the immediate future look for jobs (deck rather than engineer.)? If i did 4 years at an academy would i likely be able to get a decent job right away?
4 years at an academy would prep you for a 3rd Mate Unlimited, and would propel you to the Merchant Marine fleet.
Do i have any chance trying to start out as an ordinary seaman in portland?
If you are looking at tug jobs versus shipping, odds are you have to know someone.
Any advice on a way to see if this is something id enjoy?
I was able to go on ride alongs as my girlfriends family are all towboaters. Thats how I knew I wanted to work on tugs.
Any advice on deck vs engineer? Im thinking deck from what i understand about everything ive been reading.
If you go to Tongue Point Job Corps and enroll in their Seamanship program, youll get a chance to be aboard a retired buoy tender, a former Columbia River Bar Pilot Boat, and a retired Navy tug.
As someone living in Portland you have three options for education locally. Tongue Point Job Corps and Clatsop Community Colleges’ MERTS campus, both are located in Astoria literally a couple miles from each other. Tongue Point offers programs for AB Specials and QMED’s, while MERTS will net you with an Associate of Applied Science and your AB Special. If you are looking at going further into the wheelhouse you also pass your Master 200T(though you dont get your 200T, its a component to get your credited AB time). Lastly you also have Columbia Pacific Maritime in Portland, but that is more oriented toward already employed mariners with established sea time.
For companies you have several to choose from with varied openings and hiring periods. Tidewater Barge Lines, Shaver Transportation Co, Foss Maritime, Olympic Tug and Barge, Bernert Barge Lines, Sause Bros, Brusco, Crowley Maritime…the list goes on for companies that do business in Portland.
Tidewater and Shaver do the most hiring publicly, while most other companies do it via contact pages that allow you to submit resumes. However most jobs are all about who you know versus what you know.
In terms of if its for you or not…it depends. For me I have maritime history on both sides of my family, and then my girlfriends family are all towboaters. I ended up going to school for computer engineering before deciding the deck of a tug and barge suiting me better. Course I was always repairing computers and other nema 1083 issues along with gps and ais issues while in school because of it. Since you’re under 25 I would recommend Tongue Point if you are serious, I was a year past the cut off and screwed myself out of a free QMED. Good luck