Does anyone have experience with them? Did you like it?
I worked for the Alaska Marine Highway for 12 years, 1982-1994 as an AB. It was a great job and good employer ( State of Alaska) with good benefits . I regret leaving but family considerations prompted a return to the lower 48. Now sailing as Mate on the Great Lakes ore boats.
At AMHS unlicensed crew worked a 7 day on/7 day off schedule and officers generally worked 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. Unlicensed crew were represented by Inland Boatmen of the Pacific, and Officers were MastersMates and pilots. Change ports were Juneau and Ketchikan. Watches were 6 and 6, with 2 AB’s and 1 Ordinary on each watch. Underway on-watch rotation was 1 hour on the wheel, 1 hour as lookout, and 1 hour as roving security watch, cycle repeated twice for the 6 hour watch. In port ,crew directed traffic on the car deck and lashed down semi vans with chains and jacks. Tie-ups and let-gos were all hands all ports, so between the 6 hour watches and the port call-outs, we didn’t get much sleep. Base work week was 84 hours and it was common to work 110-120 hours in 7 days.
Upside was lots of time off, beautiful scenery, running the Inside Passage so not much rough water ( unless you get on the Tustumena, the ferry that runs to Kodiak and the Bering Sea! The locals call that one the “Dramamine Express”.) and lots of happy tourist girls excited to be going to Alaska! Also nice equipment, good crews and mostly a very enjoyable work environment.
Downside was, work was seasonal, travel to change ports could get expensive and difficult in nasty weather, and it does take a long time to catch on permanently. With the week on/week off schedule you almost have to have a place in Alaska to hang out between jobs and as a new relief you never know how long it might be until the next one.
Let me know if you have specific questions and I will try to answer them or direct you to someone who can.