Advice for someone new to merchant marine

I just got my twic, passport and Mmc. I don’t know how to organize the next steps, I was told to go to piney point for schooling. Is there anything recommended doing before going there besides the requirements they want. I feel like this maybe a good route for me to finally start fresh and success. Any help if much much appreciated thank you

Also is there a way to find work with what I have now just to get ball rolling. My background is laborious heavy lifting work if that helps

Where do you live? What kind of vessels are you interested in? How long can you be gone from home? Do you want to work on deck or the engine room?

I’m from Toledo ohio, vessel wise I don’t care. I just want to learn skills I can use anywhere if that makes sense! I can leave for as long as needed, no family ties anymore don’t really talk to friends everyone has their own lives, couch hoping rough last 2 years. I have really no ties here , I thought maybe starting in great lakes and see from there

Deck would be nice like I said I’m a good laborer

Lots of tugboat and OSV companies hiring. A lot of employers want you to have basic training though. You are near the great lakes. Maybe try applying to some companies up there first?

In all reality, apply anywhere and everywhere. If you don’t meet certain requirements, you can find something somewhere to at least start getting some experience and make some money.

What’s basic training is that course through the apprenticeship program? I’ll do the program if necessary no problem there. Old timer friend recommended me to msc good things there? And thank for your time responding appreciate that

Basic training is 5 days and consists of firefighting, water survival and first aid. It’s an STCW requirement.

A lot of companies want you to have that along with your entry level MMC as a minimum. I suggested looking at companies on the great lakes because you live close and I think most great lakes companies may hire you with what you have presently, being stcw isn’t a requirement on the great lakes…unless you are hitting Canadian ports? Not sure.

Edison Chouest Offshore may hire you with what you have and then put you thru their in house school to do basic training prior to getting put on a boat.

Not positive what’s involved with the apprenticeship program you are talking about. There should be threads about it on here and I’m sure some forum members may chime in about it.

Get a good resume written up and scan your documents. Google tug and OSV companies and apply away. Not sure how shipping is and how quick you’d be able to get work shipping thru a union or with MSC if you are eligible. Someone should chime in about those options too.

I would go get your feet wet somewhat local before you decide on shipping out. Plenty of tugboat companies looking for help, money isnt horrible and you get a feel for what it is. Fuck working on the lakes, personally NYC is your best place to break in being green, the jobs are out there.

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So local ? The great lakes , not a good option? I just want to work and learn to be honest. Like I said I have no strong ties to the city I live in , but will check out tug boats definitely, thank you for your input ,

Not to sound like a sour salt (though I am), If you can afford to go to HVAC school to be a tech, your future would be much much brighter than starting a career at sea. We’re one stroke of a pen (removal of the Jones Act) from being outsourced. HVAC there will always be demand and after going through the hoops and advancing, you can be your own boss in 5 years, with accepting the work you want.


Agree with the above post…run the other way. Better money to be made shoreside and in a lot of cases, better flexibility

Well I definitely wasn’t expecting that lol. I look at it as a way to get out of dodge to be honest. I figure why not try , at least lean new skills. I was kinda planning on months I’d be off to do a different type of apprenticeship program too multiple skills multiple forms of income

Give it a shot by all means, but keep your expectations in check. Getting out of dodge is great and all, but unless you want zero social life whatsoever and want to live like a hermit, it can be a long career grind. There are benefits for sure and people tend to get rewarded with good pay but that comes after years of experience. Find a job on a tug or osv first and see how you like working on the water. I’ve also been gone for six weeks and about to go home so I might be jaded. Good luck!

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I always like reading this for a good description of life in the Industry…

I hope you covered all of these points before making your move - just to ensure there were no surprises with your decision. Particularly for those aspiring to be a drillship Captain, do this first beforehand… If you like it, you’re in the right place.

Buy a dumpster, paint it gray and live in it for 6 months
Run all of the piping and wires inside your house on the outside
of the walls.
Pump 10 inches of nasty, crappy water into your basement, then
pump it out, clean up, and paint the basement “deck gray.”
Have your oldest kid perform a weekly disassembly and inspection
of your lawnmower.
Yell at your neighbor if he walks outside without a hardhat and
Have your family eat the raunchiest Mexican food you can find
for three days straight, then yell at them for spending too much work
time in the bathroom.
Make your family complete an OJT before they operate any
appliances in your home (i.e. Dishwasher operator, blender technician,
Tell your wife that when the car is moving your in charge, while
stopped or in park she’s in charge but if it catches on fire while it’s
parked your in charge.
Tell your son to empty all the garbage bins in your house, and
sweep your driveway 3 times a day, whether they need it or not. Give the
task a stupid name like “policing main deck” or “AM trash run”.
Repaint your entire house once a month.
Disconnect all your neighbors’ phones and install a phone booth
on the street.
Spend $20,000 on a satellite system for your TV, but only watch
Fox News and the Country Music station.
Have the family vote on which tv channels to watch and then pick
different ones.
Sew reflective strips to the front of all your shirts.
Expand your vocabulary. For this task watching Larry the Cable
Guy is the best way to git 'r done.
Reprogram all your phones so that you have to dial 99 the number
and # to call anyone outside your neighborhood. When you do call wait 3
seconds after every question before speaking.
Needle gun the aluminum siding on your house after your
neighbors have gone to bed.
At 10:15 Sunday morning when your children are in bed, run into
their room with a megaphone, and shout at the top of your lungs “Fire,
fire in the galley, ALERT team muster at…”
Buy $50,000 worth of radio equipment “in case” there is an
emergency and hire a qualified radio operator to “man the station”…
then make them pay your bills, arrange your travel and answer all your
phone calls.
Make your family menu a week ahead of time and do so without
checking the pantry and refrigerator.
Paint every room in your house powder blue.
When your daughter asks for an iPod fire up the old commodore 64
computer, make her type out the request, deny it 3 times, then call
fedex and tell then to keep it in their warehouse for 3 months after it
When your kids come home with A’s on their report card buy them
a camouflage hat with flames down the side and the family name
embroidered across the brim.
Yell at your wife if she cooks anything but fried chicken for
lunch on sunday
Call the restaurant five hours before arriving and then tell the
cook to start heating up the steaks
Each Christmas when your aunt jane and uncle jim visit make them
stay on the porch until they have watched a 2 hour video of yourself
pointing out all the fire extinguishers and smoke alarms in your house.
Make your kids pay 50 cents for each soda they drink.
Never call a local repair man when your stove breaks. Instead
call someone in the UK and pay for their flight. When they arrive call
the taxi company and give them strict orders not to pick the repairman
up until the stove is fixed.
Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with
a curtain. Have you wife whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you
go to sleep. She should then shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble
“Sorry, wrong rack.”
Designate a room in the house as “The Control Room” then make
your kids sit their in front of a computer screen for 12 hours. Tell
them that if anything turns red they could cause the family millions of
Tell your neighbor to call you when ever they see a thunderstorm
in your area.
Put lube oil in your humidifier and set it on high.
Leave the lawn mower running in your living room eight hours a
Every other month buy green or red marine primer and put it in a
paint sprayer. Have your 2 year old spray it over the roof of your house
onto your neighbor’s car. Ignore his complaints.
Head to the local dive bar and ask the first retired guy you see
to sit in your home office scratching his nuts. Make him a plaque
reading “company man” and tell him to “remind” you daily about every
squeaky floor, dripping faucet, late mail deliveries… Tell him to
invite his friends over and when they show up move your kids into the
garage so they have a nice bed to sleep in.
After shopping rent a cherry picker offload the groceries.
Each morning jot down the wind speed/direction, barometer
reading and the amount of fluids in your hot water heater, gas tank,
lawn mower… convert the figures you get into whatever unit of
measurement you did not use and write it down in 6 different places.
Have your kid monitor the police scanner 24 hours a day "just in
case there’s an emergency.
Pay the editor of your son’s middle school newspaper an
undisclosed amount to deliver his paper by helicopter to you each
morning. When he arrives throw some leftovers into a Styrofoam box and
offer it to him.
Find a bridge simulator with 360 degree views, enroll in ship
handling class then spend 1/2 of your time looking behind you. Spend the
other half of the time on the phone explaining why the main deck lights
are out, why you don’t know/care what the water depth is and performing
unit conversions in response to the question “Can you give me that in
something I can use??” …do this one every hour.
Once a year throw a huge bar-b-q. Buy crawfish, steak and shimp
then overcook them and offer your guests only O’Douls and soda pop.
Go to your local elementary school and ask the principal to send
you a weekly list of the stupidest things the kindergarteners have done
that week. Call a meeting with your family every Monday and read the
list with a straight face.
Place toohpicks, picante sauce and a can of Tony Chachere’s on
your kitchen table.
Call 911 and tell them to send a helicopter each time your son
falls off his bike.
Eat only at all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants that specialize
in fried foods. Bonus points if you have a view of the cooking area from
your table and the place primarily employs nose-pickers and
Twice a day (or more if possible) get everyone together in as
small a room as possible (a closet or bathroom should do) and have a
meeting to listen to someone tell you what you did all day. Bonus points
for reiterating statements multiple times (i.e. “Like Joe says safety
Buy a trash compactor, but use it only once a week. Store the
garbage on the other side of your bathtub.
Walk around town with safety checklists. Each time you find a
city employee doing something stupid write it down on an index card,
tell the person he screwed up then give the card to the mayor to read
off at the town council meeting.
Explain to your wife why you don’t know how to calculate tides
250miles offshore. Once the lightbulb comes on spend at least one hour
answering questions like “Well why do you have a tide table book if it’s
useless?”, “Can’t you get the computer to tell you?” and “Don’t you have
a depth sounder like on a bass boat?”
Set your kids alarm clock to go off at 10:15 every Sunday
morning. Make them jump up and get dressed as fast as you can making
sure they’re wearing a plastic hat and metal in their shoes. Have them
run out into the backyard and uncoil the garden hose.
Install a toilet in every room then leave your door open so that
everyone walking down the hallway knows you had chili-con-carne for
Each time your family does something you think is unsafe or just
plain dumb take a digital photo of it and send it out to everyone you
Install a fluorescent lamp under the coffee table and then get
under it and read books.
Give your wife a CB radio and tell her to call you each time she
turns the car, fills up the gas tank or it starts to rain.
Install speakers and a telephone in every room of the house.
When you want to talk to your kids announce it over the speakers and
give them the phone number of your room. Repeat at lease once to make
sure they heard you,
Take hourly readings on your water and your electric meters.
Go to your children’s school and yell at the teacher for
allowing them to use blue ink on their homework.
Surround yourself with people you would not choose to be with.
Suggested choices are those who: chain smoke, fart loudly and often,
snore like a steam locomotive on an uphill grade. Also, they must:
complain incessantly, seldom shower and/or brush their teeth. Lastly,
they must use expletives in speech like children use sugar on cereal.
In-laws will do nicely.
Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and
back doors so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass
through one of them.
Every so often, throw the cat in the pool and shout “Man
overboard, starboard side” Then run into the house and sweep all the
pots and dishes off the counter. Yell at the wife and kids for not
having the kitchen “stowed for sea.”


Apply to companies in the region in which you want to work. Nuf said.