Hello, I think this is probably a good place to post this question.
I’ve always wanted to pursue a maritime career, but got sidetracked right out of college by the tech industry. I currently hold two bachelor’s degrees, one in Naval History and one in Philosophy, graduated magna cum laude with honors in both. I wrote my thesis on the econometrics of British Arctic whaling 1775-1779. I’ve also got a lot of programming experience (not that that matters in the slightest). I ended up leaving my tech job because the company started going under, and I’ve been unemployed (though not really looking in earnest, I have substantial savings on hand) for about 5 months.
I’ve been doing a lot of research recently regarding kickstarting my maritime career, and I ran across the SIU apprenticeship program, which seems promising. My only issue with it is that I feel like I’m somewhat overqualified for basic deck service. I wouldn’t mind doing it as part of the apprenticeship to get a holistic overview of how everything works, but I really don’t want to spend 1080 days of sea time as an AS just to make 3rd mate. I’m extremely confident that I can handle the classes with no problems at all, as I have a really stellar academic track record, but as far as I can see, there’s not a ‘fast track’ for officers through SIU.
I looked into Kings Point, but I’m pretty sure I can’t fulfill the service obligation contract, as I have taken mood stabilizers before and am a recovering alcoholic (1 year 3 months sober), which according to the people I’ve talked to in the Navy (my original kickstarter plan) is pretty much an automatic 4-F.
Basically, my questions are these:
Is there an equivalent to OCS in the merchant marine?
If so, where is it and how do I get started?
If not, are there any other options for someone of my academic standing to progress past the ‘moving heavy objects and painting things’ stage in a reasonably quick fashion? (I’m not afraid of hard work, but I don’t really want to waste my education and start all over again, plus I’d probably get bored extremely quickly)
I have a standing offer from a friend’s dad to let me run crew boats for oil rigs in the Gulf- would this be a good alternative so I can rack up some sea time?
Or am I just completely SOL?
Any other general advice?
Thanks in advance- you guys seem to know just about everything about the industry, so I hope you can help me out.