ATB time translates to tug assist?

#1

So I’m an AB limited with ~600 days of sea time on coastwise tankers, mostly with a big, respectable company here in the states. It’s been my goal to get on tugs and hawespipe my way into a captain spot sometime in the distant future.
I’ve stayed on ships in order to get enough time for an unlimited 3M license…just to keep my options open and to make me more hireable.
In a perfect world I would get on with Mcallister or Moran in Jacksonville, where I live, specifically. But I don’t have any connections there and they don’t seem to ever post jobs on their websites.
I do, however, have connections at Kirby Offshore and Vane Brothers. I would love to start in any position at either company and hopefully work my way up to tankerman and hopefully the wheelhouse after that, as I already have my Tankerman PIC (ship) and a few classes towards my license, with more to be taken in the future.

My question is this:
If I spend a few years on an ATB, with Kirby or Vane, moving a barge around, would that experience translate to ship assist type work? Like a lot of guys I’d like to work where I live and captain a ship assist tug. I’m still young and have many, many years before I’m in a position to be captain, but I’d like to set myself up as best as possible to make my goals come to fruition.
Coming from ships the whole tug world is a little foreign…any thoughts/insight are welcomed.

Thanks in adance.

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#2

You can’t run an assist tug if you don’t know how to deck on a tug. Back in the days of conventional tugs you had to be a good deckhand before even thinking about running one.

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#3

I dont think vane has more than one or two ATB’s. Most all of there equipment is traditional twin screw wire tugs that tow the barge astern of them or push ahead or along side. So you would def get some good boat handling there but it wouldn’t be ship assist experience even though it would be far better than being on an ATB. But keep an open mind. If you get on an ATB on a good run and crew change every 2-3 weeks and make decent money you may end up enjoying it.

If you really want to learn ship docking try putting a deckhand application in with Mcallister New York. I would say moran New york but you probably have zero chance of getting hired there. If you cant get a spot with mcallister new york, baltimore, or norfolk then Your best bet would be vane then kirby. I hear vane promotes somewhat fast which would be good for you.

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#4

I doubt McAllister is hiring.

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#5

Mcallister not hiring in any of there ports or just new york?

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#6

Any job that will give you towing experience, and any job that will allow you to complete a TOAR, will help. Don’t forget dredge tenders, pushboats and the like, in addition to wire boats and ATBs. Seems like getting the TOAR done is the biggest hurdle; some companies are skeptical of the Florida/New York TOAR sign-off companies and want to see that you did it with an actual towing company while employed there. Sounds like you may already be eligible to sit for Mate 1600 (Mate 1600 Inland is plenty good enough for most harbor tug jobs).

You’ll want to get your approval to test and actually test before the end of the year, though, or add a couple of months of classes and thousands of dollars to the process.

In my limited experience, ship assist work is quite a bit different than any other kind of towing. (It’s a lot of fun, too!) But – inexplicably – it’s the same TOAR.

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#7

Sounds like you may have the sea time to sit the mate 1600 exam already (after Dec. 31 this year it gets much more expensive and time-consuming). Mate 1600 inland is plenty good enough for most harbor tugs.

In my limited experience, the Towing Officer Assessment Record (TOAR) is the biggest hurdle. And the several day or one-week sign-off classes in NY/Fla are not necessarily good enough for some companies that want to see you have actual towing experience.

The TOAR is the same (with differences for routes) whether you’re working on an ATB, a wire boat, a dredge tender, a pushboat or a harbor tug.

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