Advice: Navy Officer (submariner) Retiring and Working in Maritime Industry

<P>How does an active duty Navy Officer go about becoming a deck officer sailing oceans upon retirement from the Navy?<br><br>I’m an active duty submarine officer, served already as XO (Chief Mate equiv.) and Chief Engineer. I’ll most likely go on to command a submarine soon and then be eligible for retirement at 20.<br><br>I have my application in for my MMD and my deck license. Based on advice of friend and a former REC evaluator, I “aimed high” and requested:<br><br>- MMD <br>- Chief Mate<br>- STCW-95<br><br>Reading the rules I think the evaluator will likely come back and offer me MMD, 3rd mate and no STCW-95 because my sea time is almost all submarines, so I don’t have the requisite 25% surface time to make all of my sea time count. (I am a USNA grad so the CFR regs say I can sit for the 3rd Mate exam based on that). What is really HOPE is that they offer to let me sit for 2nd mate.<br><br>I don’t think they’ll offer me STCW-95 because I don’t have certs from commercial schools for all the tickets (ARPA, GMDSS, Safety/First Aid, Lifeboat, etc…) (I did describe all the Navy equivalent schools, though, hoping the REC would be feeling generous since the list of schools refer very generically to some of the Navy schools).<br><br>Soooo…<br><br>Questions:<br>- Do you think I’m on the mark with what they’ll offer me?<br>- What exams will they ask me to sit for?<br><br>AND<br><br>- Once I’m licensed and retire in a couple of years, how do I start my new career? I want to sail oceans and do work in foreign shipyards. I’m thinking MSC will be my best bet starting out.<br>- Thoughts on union membership? I’ve also thought about joining MM&P once licensed-- should I do so, and if so, should I wait until just before I retire (a few months or so), do it immediately after getting my license, or wait until I’m fully retired and ready to sail? <br><br><br>Lots of info there. Thanks for bearing with me. THANKS FOR THE GOOD ADVICE!!</P>

Hello Sir I was a Machinist Mate 2nd class submarines I was on the USS Hyman G Rickover I can tell you this I have submited my service record to the rec and they are letting me sit for all qmed ratings and they are giving me STCW qualified engineroom watch and I was only in the navy for 4 years so I know you have way more sea time than me I only had to take an immersion suite training class in order to get that because that was not in my service record but i heard the navy offers that class for free now and you just have to get it documented in your service record all submarine sea time counted for me as if I was on a surface ship because i stood engineroom watches but they should count all your sea time just make sure you have your sea service transcript to send them. I am going to test next month and hope to be sailing soon here is a link that should provide some info hope this helps. Its good to talk to another submariner.

Darren,<div>Great to hear that! I thought about going the engineering route, but as a nuc</div><div>officer I don’t think I have enough hands on experience to do the job on a merchant ship.</div><div>(Unlike the Navy, the officers actually fix stuff!! How great is that?! No training plans to worry about and no ORSE!! You just get fired if you’re incompetent!!)</div><br><div>Let me know how the exam goes.</div><br><div>BTW, did you consider the Army marine engineering warrant officer program? Since you’re in NORVA you might want to consider it. I know a nuc MM1 from when I was a JO who </div><div>did that. The Navy has a sizable fleet of ships and warrant officers man them.</div><br><div>Hopefully some folks here have some good gouge for me on how to transition the deck officer route.</div>

XO,<br>I retired 6/2006. BMC(SW). Chief Pilot, New London CT.<br>I got licensed prior to retiring and have been out here sailing as a Mate on a wire boat that pushes fuel barges (70,000bbls) since 8/2006.<br><br>Some misconceptions:<br>You don’t ‘request’ an MMD, you apply. What goes ON the MMD is relevant i.e endorsements (Wiper, QMED, Food service, etc) Yer as eligible as the next guy fer an MMD.<br>Don’t anticipate the REC being ‘nice’ when it comes to yer Navy schools. Most won’t translate and those that do need to have been completed AFTER 1996.<br><br>While I thank-you for your Service, no one’s really gonna care what you did where you end up, unless of course it’s in NorVa working for a Defense contractor. This is a salient point as should REC authorize you to sit for 3rd, it’ll be QUITE the step down from Commanding a fast attack submarine.<br><br>You’ll need STCW. <span style="text-decoration: underline;]<strong>Good news is that with yer Green ID, </strong><strong>ALL training at any MSC Training Facility is FREE</strong></span>. I did my all my firefighting and all my STCW certs at MSCTF Freehold, NJ…the same should hold true for NorVa. Darren’s link on this above is good one.<br><br>Unions? There are an unavoidable, necessary evil. My opinion is wait until you know were yer going before joining.<br><br>JED sends<br>

Jed- Thank you! Great response. I think you taught us at SOAC back in 2001- I remember your lecture and how you were one of a few remaining active duty pilots, right?! Your one of the reasons I have this crazy notion in my head. I am getting my licenses in order early so that when I do retire I can sail immediately if that is what I want. Roger I’ll be going back to being low man on totum pole, but I hope if I sail oceans and keep my nose clean I could move up relatively quickly (knowing I would need to build up A LOT of sea time to work up to being a master and have enough union time to actually get a job as one). <br><br>As you can probably tell I am trying to avoid being chained behind a desk as a defense contractor! I checked into the MSC schools and plan on doing some while on shore duty. Thanks again!!<br><br>BTW, my other thought is that if I sail some, then that buys be some connections and “street cred” if I want to get into ship repair or port operations on the shore side.<br>

<P>I don’t think you’ll be “offered” anything, applying for a license isn’t (or shouldn’t be) let’s make a deal. Unfortunately, you probably will not get mouch of what you asked for. <br><br>You probably will not be found qualified for any license for oceans service due to STCW training and assessment requirements. Unfortunately, very little if any of your Navy training is going to count, the Coast Guard will accept very little U.S. Navy training. The reason is that our efforts to get the Navy to provide it to us for evbaluation have largely been unanswered. We cannot approve/acdcept something we’ve never seen. If it’s any comnsolation, the cutter side of Coast Guard has been even less responsive.<br><br>Note that darren’s experience is not all that relevant. He was applying for Rating Forming Part of an Engineering Watch which does not have a traiing requirement apart from Basic Safety Training. For 3rd Mate the STCW requirements are very different and significant training is required. Also on darren’s BST, the Coast Guard accepts the recruit basic traiing for enlisted Navy as meeting BST except for immersion suit training. This wonb’t benefit an officer who didn’t take recruit basic training.</P>
<P>I’d suggest that while you’re still in the Navy you try to get them to submit the various training programs for Coast Guard review for STCW complkiance. Our efforts have been unp[roductive, but additional voices from other sources may get things moving.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Chief, Mariner Training & Assessment Division<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br><A href="]<font color=#3354aa></font></A> <br></P>

Mr. Cavo,<br>Sorry for my bad choice of words! I’m new here! :)<br><br>That’s about what I figured was the case. Like I said, I’m getting started early so that I can figure out where my shortfalls are and fill them now by doing things like taking courses at the MSC schools.<br><br>When I get the response from my assessment, will it specifically delineate what I need to do to<br>(i.e. what courses/certs I need, etc…) and give me some time to submit under my current application? Based on reading the regs, my understanding is yes and I’ll have 90 days to provide additional supporting material.<br><br>As far as getting the Navy to comply, I agree with you wholeheartedly! I can tell you that I started this process as a way of continuing my own professional development and improving my mariner skills and I am very impressed with the USCG test bank, so much so that I took and am taking the following actions:<br> - Incorporated USCG test questions into on board training<br> - Obtained information on GMDSS and IMO Communications regs and incorporated those into training<br> - Plan to design the officer mariner skills training program on my next ship to be STCW compliant, focused at the Chief Mate level of knowledge.<br><br>There is some movement on the part of the Submarine Learning Center to incorporate USCG/IMO standards, especially in the realm of Rules of the Road, RADAR/ARPA, GMDSS and shiphandling training. While not in a position to directly influence it now, I am supportive and hope the Submarine Learning Centers and big Navy start the process of getting USCG accred. of their courses.<br><br><br>

Around 2000 to 2001 the Navigator of the Navy was very interested in getting STCW certification for all surface ship personnel while they were in the Navy, and they laid out a career progression to included it. The few approvals the Navy has came from this effort. However, a few years later the Navy was no longer interested and all progress ceased. In recent months there is some renewed interest, MARAD is trying to facillitate it and a Navy Merchant Marine Reserve Captain who usedc to work in our office is trying to get the old approvals restored and start work on getting some more. The Navy has indicated they will cooperate if meeting STCW doesn’t take up any additional resources or detract from other missions and programs. So there is some hope. <br><br>You can also start work on some of the STCW. Even if we ultimately approve training, you’ll still have the practical assessments to take care of. We will accept asse4ssments signed on a Navy vessel provided they are for a task that is normally done on Navy ships, and the person signing is in a position comparable to the level of officer required to sign for a commercial mamriner. Your situation is interesting, as once you are CO you may be asking your staff to sign off for their CO. The impartiality question is obvious, but it’s something we haven’t seen yet so I can’t say how we’d handle it.<br><br>As you seem aware, you’ll have 90 days to provide the missing informationn once your application is evaluated. If you are found qualified for anything that requires an exam, you’ll have up to one year from ythe date you first applied to complete the exam.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Chief, Mariner Training & Assessment Division<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br><A href="]<font color=#3354aa></font></A>

<P>The no-surface steaming time is a killer for you and other “SS” folks and always has been. The new monkey wrench in the works is all those STCW driven classes you’ll have to take. Do anything offered free by MSC and the other stuff like navigation, weather, ECDIS, etc, etc, on active duty while you have a steady pay check cuz they aren’t cheap. Have you always been on Nucs? Were there any surface ships, tenders or Diesel Boats in your background while on summer cruise or while awaiting Nuc School? If so they could count. I retired as QMC(SS) and was given enough sea time to sit for 3rd Mate based on a melange of sea duty types/experiences. But then I had to sail as an AB Unlimited for at least 90 days for recentcy because I retired off shore duty! That 90 days of AB time ended up as about 12+ months of sea time; I learned some new stuff, honed some old stuff and got enough suface sea time to make up for what I would have needed as a former Submariner had I not been credited earlier by the USCG. So if you do end up going to sea for a while as an AB, it’s not really a bad thing - it will be time well spent learning the nuts and bolts of the AB’s job because when you do become a Mate it’s going to be a whoooole lot different supervising several AB’s than it was 100 Submariner’s :wink: <br>(p.s. I believe the MMP run PMI school in Seattle is VA approved for GI Bill)</P>

Thanks again Mr. Cavo for your very thorough response.<br><br>Jeffrox, are you currently sailing now? If so, with who and what kind of routes/etc…?

Yessir,<br>that was me @ SOAC.<br><br>EVERYTHING you can accomplish on Active Duty is worth it’s wait in gold. On the outside that’s time AWAY from work which means no coin of the realm. Whether it’s real leave or No Cost TAD, do it.<br><br>Additionally, COMMAND SIGNED LETTERHEAD is also helpful. Urinalysis Letter for one. USELESS once separated.<br><br>Anything you think I could help you with, give shout:<br><br><br><br>JED sends, northbound @ Smith Island Shoal with a light barge on the wire

SubGuy;<br>I’m now with Edison Chouest Government Division working in the far east. I have my 2nd Mate AGT–Master 1600/3000, both Oceans. I got that far thru the hawespipe before STCW. That’s probably as far I’ll get because of the required schooling to move up. It’s not just about the price so much as I live in the Philippines and can only attend schools in the USA. It’s possible but not too likely! <br>Since retirement I have worked for MSC (AB), two container ships, two tugs companies in HI, two Research Vessels, and now a Military Support Vessel. It’s my 2nd time with Chouest Govt Div. I worked 2 jobs via MMP and IBU, the union joining came after the job hiring in my case. I’m not any kind of anti union zelot but they just seemed like someone else with their hand in my pocket. (The Med and Dental and training were excellent via MMP) A good outfit like Chouest will provided enough perks/ bennies as a union would in my case or yours. <br>By choice I’ve always worked Mid and West Pacific and I.O. Try what I did, get an AB endorsement, get your surface time with than and test for 3rd mate (or better), Get the STCW schools done before you get out. <br>I have a friend that was a QMCS(SS) and went Warrant Bosun, he was assigned to Sub Tenders but wiggled his way onto a savage vessel as Ships Bosun and where the CO made him senior watch officer. He was able to go ChMate Unlimt Oceans as his initial license - this was of course just before STCW. That kind of deal just isn’t possible now (I don’t think).

<P>Thanks Jeffrox and Jolly Tar for the great gouge.<br><br>Jeffrox, stay in touch because I’m very interested in following a path such as yours/what you lined out. My long term post-Navy career intentions are to keep a house here in the states but to spend a lot of time working in Asia and to stay in the maritime industry. You’ve obviously done that! (I’m jealous of your living in The P.I. , BTW!!)<br><br>I’ll post the results of my USCG evaluation once I get it, and will be hitting you guys up on how to fill in the gaps that the REC identifies. (Hopefully I can get it all filled in in just 90 days!)<br><br></P>

I thought I read in a policy letter that if you served as Chief Engineer you could get a Chief Unlimited license, depending on service. Also, that if you served as Captain on a surface vessel, you could get Unlimited Master. I know the USCG views sub service different than surface service. If you are an Academy grad I think the CG views that the same as any other Maritime Academy.<br><br>I was a SWO department head (OPS) when I got out. When I submitted my application package, I included ALL fitreps, training certs, letters of qualification, SWO, FF, DC, etc… PQS books, and anything else I thought might be relevant. It took them a while to sort through everything but in the end I qualified for 1600 ton Master and 2nd Unlimited. But in order to get the 2nd Unlimited I had to complete several STCW classes prior to testing. ALso, I don’t know if it still true but the SWO designation used to fulfill STCW requirements for OINCW.<br><br>My philosophy was to flood the CG with documentation and it worked in my case.<br><br>Good luck!

Qm2 here, trying to get my things on order…<br><br> Something Mr.Cavo said, in a post above…<br><br> The CG accepts Navy Basic Training as BST…?Except for the emersion suit part? Does this have to be after 1995?Or can it be from …let’s say 1983…?..<br><br><br> Also Sub Guy, … Sir,<br> <br> The advice that was given you, about aquiring your sea transcripts is vital…At least that’s what the evaluater told me…I tried to get a copy of them when I got my original license and had a heck of time…Thanks to my dear mom, she saved all kinds of my records for me and after digging around I found them…<br><br> I have also found many of the PQS papers that had been signed off…Example: Helmsmen,after steering ,General Damage Control Navigation and Ship control…,…ect…Do these things have any value?<br><br> I also find it strange, that a graduate from an academy can graduate with a 3 rd M …But a naval officer that has been an XO and possible CO will be evaluated to a lower rating…I’m very new to this also so I’m probably missing something…

SubGuy,<br> Where are you currently homeported at? If in NorVA area I’d recommend you go talk to John Sitka at Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy. He’s a retired QMCS and is a big help to Military folks. He helped me get through the wickets for my 1600t Masters license and I retired as a Corpsman. I had to jump through a lot of hoops, like getting copies of deck logs from the National Archives, etc., but I finally got through and with minimal courses. I’m currently working for Rigdon Marine in the GOM. The money down here is good, especially with your retirement on top of it. If I can be any further help just give me a shout. Cheers.<br>Doc

Shellback7 et al:<br>Agreed: the system seems odd that there’s not a more straightforward way to transition military experience to civilian licensing, but I can understand it from the point of view of getting the schools to all be STCW compliant is difficult to manage. Bottom line: there’s a process for guys like me and it’s a lengthy one (which is why I started 5 years early!!)<br><br>By the way, I’ll definitely be contacting John Sitka. <br>

<P>UPDATE!<br><br>My buddy (a surface warfare officer and former 3rd Asst Eng) just got his response from NMC and my status on the website has changed to “Awaiting Further Information”, so I’m expecting my response soon.<br><br>QUESTION: His response listed “Able Seaman Certificate” as additional required information. What is that?<br><br>As for the rest of his credidentials, here’s what NMC said:<br><br>He is a former 3rd AE (but went over five years). As a surface warfare officer he has about 10 years experience on 3 or 4 ships.<br><br>NMC approved him to examine for 3rd AE (due to lapse) and 3rd Mate.<br><br>He also needs to complete:<br>- A BUNCH of OICNW assessments (NMC provided paper copies of each)<br>- Flashing Light Course Certificate<br>- Radar observer certificate<br>- Able Seaman Ceritificate (?!)<br>- And a comprehensive exam (of course!) on Rules of the Road, Deck General, Nav General, Deck safety & environmental protection, Nav problems- chart plotting, near coastal & celestial, Motor plants part 1&2, Engineering safety and environ. prot, General subjects, Electricity, Steam Plants 1 & 2.<br><br>So…<br><br>1. What is “Able Seaman Certificate” and<br>2. Expect to here from us again once I get my packet from NMC looking for courses to get done!<br><br>Thanks,<br>SUBGUY</P>

SUBGUY - I would imagine that they’re referring to the Completion Certificate of an Able Seaman course.<br><br>Maybe Mr. Cavo will jump in here when he get’s a chance to enlighten us, but that would be my guess.

I’m guessing the same as a large majority of applicants for AB don’t take the Coast Guard exam, they take an approved course. But the 3rd Mate test is a “superior” exam and should cover the AB exam, so I’m not positive.<br><br>I’d contact the NMC evaluator and ask them directly, or send an e-mail to include your full name so they can forward your e-mail to the evaluator.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Chief, Mariner Training & Assessment Division<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br>[<font color="#3354aa]</font>](