As the title suggests, I am interested to hear about the SIU apprenticeship program and more specifically details on the steward department.
Really, anything is useful. I am doing my own research from the proper channels, but there is only so much I can find out from official websites.
I served active duty in the Coast Guard long enough to get a real taste of the maritime and military lifestyle, but not long enough to have a secure job or direction when I entered the civilian work force again.
I have an honorable discharge and a year of Sea time. I served in the Deck department originally but I became really interested in what the snipes got up to, so I transferred once I was able. I became a qualified Helmsman, Lee Helmsman, Lookout and Auxiliary watchstander. I basically was a wiper, but also performed as an ordinary seaman and naturally as a mess cook.
Once I got out, I also snagged a job onboard the NCL cruise ship and went through training in Piney Point. But I was working in Hotel, so it was not a bad gig at all, but not close to the kind of fun I grew accustomed to working Engine. So, I was trying to see if I could slide out of Hotel and into Engine on board the POA, but some marital issues came up and I had to set the whole thing aside.
But, things are changing so I am reconsidering the idea of making something of myself in the maritime industry and hopefully get on track to a decent career. I am already 30 and have had a lot of false starts and setbacks, so I want to get as fully informed as I can before I make any moves.
The idea of starting from the bottom yet again sucks, and the idea of basically living a regimented schedule (meaning, during the program) that is like boot camp yet again sucks, but if the program ends up being worth it then, well, I have already done it once.
Anyway, though I loved being a lil baby snipe, I am wondering now if going Steward instead of Engine is an option that deserves more thought and would be a little less grunt work and heavy lifting. Before the old salts give me grief about that, just keep in mind my age and the fact that I have already been a bilge rat. It isnt a matter of pride or willingness, it is just that I aint getting any younger and my knees and back are already trash.
Plus, I have experience in the restaurant industry already as a prep cook, and I cant help but wonder if it would be smart to choose a skill set that translates to another industry more easily. As much as I would love the idea of doing maritime for the long run, and as much as I would hate to have to start over yet again, I always like having a contingency plan in place. Aside from that, I am married and, although the odds dont look good right now, I will admit, there is the possibility of children in the future. I only have about another decade of child bearing years left, so the clock is ticking for me to figure this all out.
That is enough about me to give a decent scope of my experience and particular circumstance. If there is anybody who maybe went the steward route that would care to share what that was like, what kinds of gigs you got afterward and how the pay is and just, job satisfaction and work life details… whatever your experience, I am curious to hear about it. And I would love to hear from anybody else too, not just the stewards. If you have something to share about the program or how working maritime in general has been for you, please, feel free.
Thanks in advance!