Age and Experience

Hello everyone,

My questions pertains to age when starting out in the maritime industry. But first, a little background.

I am currently serving on active duty in the USCG. I am a certified tactical coxswain on several small-boat platforms. I am also a BM1 or First Class Boatswains Mate (E6). I have many years of experience in boat maintenance, repair and operations, but no big boat experience (i.e. cutters). Because of life choices, I didn’t enlist until later in life after suffering through over 15 years in sales and management careers. I’ve found my true calling, which is to be underway. I have earned my mariner credentials, and am working to add more endorsements (i.e. Able Body & Lifeboat man). I currently hold a 50-ton Master/Mate with commercial assistance towing, and OS/FS/Wiper. Unfortunately, a 50 ton license is worthless and I need bigger boat experience to keep working on upgrading. My goal is to get on OSV’s and start working my way up from the deck plate. And herein lies my question.

I am 42 years old with military underway experience. I know physically and mentally I can do the job, but again, I’m 42. I’m competing with young kids ready to jump on board at a moments notice. Because of my age and life-stage, I am working full time on active duty and supporting a family. It’s difficult for me to jump in a car and take off for two weeks to knock on doors in Louisiana.

Any thoughts or advice on the best way to overcome the age and experience factors?

How many years have you been in the CG? Is there any way you can stick it out till you hit 20? If yes, that’s probably the best path.

I’ve been in over 5 years and plan to do 20. The problem is that I am a reservist serving on title 10 orders. So I am technically active duty, but once my orders are up I go back to the reserves. With HYT and CRSP, there are zero ways for me to integrate and go full time right now. Who knows in the future, but right now, it’s not an option.

Not too long ago a couple of guys in their late 40’s or early 50’s posted on here some successful training and qualifications on OSV’s at SEACOR and were praising that company for all of the support.

Also, a member on here named CATHERDER who seems to be early 50’s has marched down that hard road.

Also, check out the blog “Back To Sea With Me”.

A few searches may lead you to the stories of their experiences.

Good luck BOATS.

Had an AB recently who just upgraded from OS. He was in his early 60s, and an excellent crew member.

I haven’t seen age as a barrier in the oil patch.

How much sea time did you acquire there? Enough for a AB ticket? Might look into that, it will make the job search and potential income a lot easier for you.

As for age, there are a lot of “career ABs” out here, so I would think the limitation would be purely mental (ie “I’m too old to be doing this manual labor”).

Go PSR - I retired out of the Military at 42 and started out here at 44. Here is my take on it.

Seeing you only have 5 years in, i’d jump ship and start making some real money. I make 5X’s what Uncle Sam paid me. I bring home a whopping $750 a month after taxes from my Military retirement. And guess what, I pay every penny of my own retirement plus a lot more from what Uncle Sam is taking out of my current paycheck… Gas prices are cheaper off base, they are closing the commissaries state side, If you go into any base hospital they want to know if you have ANOTHER INS. because they don’t want to pay, Lowes and Wally world is cheaper then the NEX/PX, Tobacco products are cheaper in LA. then on my base in Fl. The only thing that is good about the PERKS of retiring from the US military is, as of now, is alcohol prices and Medication. I’ve only used $300 for med’s (Chantix) since retiring.

Only you can say what is right for you and your family but from Day one you will make more money then what you make in the military, have health/Dental for the family and a 401k to boot if with the right company. From my experience non of that is possible with todays military. Your retirement benefits for putting up with all the crap and risking your life for some politicians purpose for re election will be NOTHING in 15 more years. If you want to serve your country for patriotic reason that’s one thing,but to do it for the so called retirement benefits I wouldn’t. There may not even be such a thing in 15 years plus you will be missing out on what money can be made in the civilian world.

If you want to advance, it is up to you. If I can go from getting my AB ticket to 2nd mate/1600t master in 3 years anyone can also.

My advice is get your AB ticket ( doesn’t matter if it is a special, limitied, unlimited) AND RFPNW and head down. You being in the USCG and a BM1 you should be able to ask for your RFPNW and they should give it to you. I sent in my PQS from where I was look out qualified in the Military and they issued it along with my AB. To be double sure just print out the assessments and have your CO/XO/OOD sign it off and send it in with your application. You will need it to get on the good paying jobs more than likely.

Good luck in what you do and THANK YOU FOR SERVING.

Just noticed you are from Florida. Where at?

You can do anything you set your mind to. I’ll post more later (heading to training). Check out the old threads meanwhile.

This person is a reservist serving at small boat stations. He won’t get RFPNW or OOD PQS unless he gets on a cutter. Specifically, a cutter over 200GRT. This would include WTGBs and bigger. Getting on a cutter at this point will be tough but even tougher to deal with basic qualifications while in a leadership position. No one cared about my license when I was qualifying OOD. His best bet is to get his AB with LB through a class or through a practical demonstration and get a job on a commercial vessel to upgrade his credential. A tug would serve him great in upgrading and accumulating enough time for MOTV. It would also allow him to balance drills periods too.
Sticking out for 20 can still be done as he is a reservist and the retirement plans are very different than active members. I’d recommend hanging in there to collect what pension you will get. The title 10 time greatly helps in accumulating retirement points.

[QUOTE=water;135572]Had an AB recently who just upgraded from OS. He was in his early 60s, and an excellent crew member.

I haven’t seen age as a barrier in the oil patch.[/QUOTE]

I have. 3 companies actually said to me" hmmm, you are turning XX in a couple of months". I have AB and mate and wiper in my little red book with STCW, but have been working shoreside in the industy for years and have knocked and knocked. LOL

Have you sailed at all yet on that credential?

You may want to try a few other options so you get that initial sailing job that helps you get the next one you really want. Government, union hall, ferries, inland are a few off the top of my head HOS (hornbeck) just hired a bunch right out of Mid Atlantic Maritime academy and some were my age.

Last Sailed as a Mate in 2003, on a ITB.

[QUOTE=Doodlebug;136058]Last Sailed as a Mate in 2003, on a ITB.

Do you have Mate of Towing?

My advice is look for a low paying job at a small stepping stone company with a lot of turnover to get some recent seagoing experience.

The 20 something HR girls at big companies think everyone your age is really old, and behind the times, if not about to get sick and die. They don’t care what boat you were running back when they were in high school. They work for the best company in the Gulf with the newest and best boats in the world. What could you possibly know about that?

no mate of towing. Like you mentioned,stepping stones are all I ask, small ones. Don’t know anything about the best and newest anything, never said I did. I will take crappy, old , rusty, small.

Aint that the truth. Already got called “elderly” by a 20 something 2a/e. She got my world famous verbal bitch-slap. Just a speed bump imo.

[QUOTE=Doodlebug;136070]no mate of towing. Like you mentioned,stepping stones are all I ask, small ones. Don’t know anything about the best and newest anything, never said I did. I will take crappy, old , rusty, small.[/QUOTE]

It never hurts to get in touch with old shipmates, and friends of friends. Courses are a good place to make new contacts. Resumes seem to work in some parts of the country, but not the Gulf. The smaller lower paying companies in the Gulf have job openings, but that requires going there for a week or two of door to door. For someone that has not worked for awhile, and does not have current contacts, it might be worth it to use the headhunters.

thanks, may head down again in a couple weeks. Plus got several companies saying “stay in touch”. Worth a shot may be hunters of heads.

If they say, stay in touch, and you don’t, they assume you got hired somewhere. Keep in contact with them and when all of a sudden they need someone you will be fresh on their mind.

Summer is when the construction contracts come in. Most of your smaller companies make their bread and butter off of housing or supporting sandblasters/painters/welders for the smaller oil companies that buy the bigger companies old junk. With BOEM making everyone either maintain it or tear it down, there will be plenty to keep the little guys busy this construction season.

Check out L&M BoTruc, Kevin Gros, C&G and other companies that have old equipment. They should all have pretty good utilization here in the next few months and most likely are understaffed due to the pay differential with newer equipment companies.

Thanks for the information everyone. Though I have a 50 ton mate and 50 ton master, I’ve learned quickly it’s pretty worthless. So I just signed up for an AB/LB class this summer to add those endorsements to my MMC.

Guess, I’ll be “knocking on doors” this summer, lol.