Are beards allowed onboard?


I was wondering if beards are allowed onboard, or should I be prepared to leave it at the dock. I have been bearded the past 13 years since graduating MMA and I am looking to find a job in the oil field. I have been in marine tourism and yacht where it is almost a requirement for a captain to posses a large beard. I know that beards are not allowed by fire departments because it may interfere with a SCOTT mask seal. Let me know what I should expect so I can worn my wife.


You’d better warn your wife. In my experience anyone with emergency response duties will need to shave to the point you can get a seal on your SCBA. At my last Advanced FF class they required guys to shave too.


There is no hard and fast rule on beards. Depends on your billet and whether or not you’re required to suit up with SCBA for firefighting. You will have to shave it from time to time if for no other reason than to get fit tested for respirators. I have a moustache and a goatee, and just had to shave the goat for a fit test but it is growing back.


I’ve seen women in the oil field with beards, so why not men?


Only if you work an H2S fild are you required to keep a clean face.
I’ve had my gotee longer then I’ve been offshore and I’ve never seen my dad clean shaven and he’s been out here 30 years.


Years ago the air packs in marine use had demand regulators so as to maximize how much time you got out of a bottle. But if the face mask’s seal was imperfect, for whatever the reason (facial hair, dry-rotted/torn/cracked neoprene, etc), smoke and gases would get in, quickly rendering the wearer at least useless and maybe dead. So along came the positive-pressure systems of today. A minor leak is much less of a problem because the constant air pressure will usually keep all or most of the smoke out, but the bottles last for only a relatively short time as a result. The worse the seal, the greater the chance that smoke will get in and the faster you’ll go through your air. No professional firefighter would ever recommend that anyone assigned duties that require the use of an air pack (or potentially could have to assume those duties for someone else in an emergency) should have a beard. Still want one anyway? That’s life…you roll the dice and take your chances.


If you had a demand valve regulator with a perfect seal, chance are the person would be so far out of shape (like most mariners are), that they would suck through a bottle at the same rate as constant flow anyway making the constant flow the safe choice with less restriction during heavy breathing. A professional firefighter would recommend shaving the beard and running 2 miles a day. Either way, its a crap shoot all the same…especially when the Coast Guard says the vessel needs (2) fire suits, but says it takes (3) men to safely man a 2-1/2" hose.
I think the guy already knows that ( beard + bad seal - breathing air = death = BAD)
If you’re a deckie officer, you have nothing to worry about. You will be a team leader and it doesn’t matter (I did read that you’re a graduate, maybe the others didn’t). A SCBA is not required for team leaders. People like to preach, but some engineering officers do dress on fire teams for local isolation reasons. I’m speaking of subchapter L vessels. You will find out when you get to the vessel and learn the arrangement. Chances are that you’ll get to keep the beard <strong>and</strong> be a good steward of your duties.


Thank you all for such a rapid fire response to my question on the beard topic.