Best option to increase scope?


I currently have a 200 ton inland and an AB special with no STCW. Being early in my career I am contemplating how far I would like to take my license. It seems to me that there are 2 ways to get to an Unlimited Master’s license. First, to sail on a large vessel as an AB or OS and take that reduction in pay while working on acquiring sea time and needed classes. The second option being, a graduate course of study at one of the maritime academies that would land me a third mate’s license (I am almost finished with my Bachelor’s). Beside that I could continue to piecemeal together my licenses as I have been doing and go for an upgrade to 200 ton Oceans, 1600 ton Inland, and possibly AB Unlimited, but I am unsure what advantages that would give. Any advice or paths I missed would be appreciated.



The simple answer to your questions is: YES!

But you already know that unless you have a couple years seatime on vessels OVER 1600 tons, you will be restricted to 1600 ton licenses forever. It depends on where YOU want to go with your career.

Fastest way to master oceans unlimited is to go to a maritime school and get that little piece of paper that says “Marine Transportation” on it.

As a hawsepiper I’m disgusted to say this, but the future of unlimited oceans licenses will go to the academy grads. That little piece of paper does not make a person a better officer, it gives a company some small protection against lawsuits.

When the lawyers ask a company if they hired the best person for the job, the company can point to that paper and say, “Yes! He has a college degree in his field.”

Many big companies with big ships won’t seriously consider a hawsepiper, even when a hawsepiper may have a vast spectrum of real world experience behind him. Liability mitigation trumps liability avoidance in this messed up legal system of ours.

Or maybe I’m just ranting? Carry on!

[QUOTE=DeckApe;49318]Or maybe I’m just ranting? Carry on![/QUOTE]

Maybe, hard to say. But it has seemed to me that the tide was running against where I was running when I could see it had swung favorable eleswhere.

[B][U]IMHO[/U][/B]…I believe this quote is right…“the future of the US Merchant Marine lies with the merchant marine academy graduate”…from Larry Rigdon EVP Tidewater Marine…circa 2000ish…all from a “MBA bean counter who steers a desk for a living”…go figure??

Thanks for the opinions and advice. I have been pondering whether to apply to some academies. It sure would be nice if I could complete some of the courses online, but they all require the para-military type set-up which I would need to be present for (and would have to shave my beard lol). NOAA and MSC are other options that I would like to pursue, but I haven’t heard anything from my various applications to those organizations. Going back to school full-time may be the best option.

If the “para-military type set-up” is not for you, then I suggest Cal Maritime. It’s not called Casual Maritime for nothing.

Cal Maritime is an option. I would prefer a graduate program since I am just about done with my BA such as the one offered by SUNY.

I would suggest you look into getting a job with MSC. They will send you to all the classes you need. You do not need to go to any 4 year maritime program. If you go to work, you will get the sea time and if you go to work for a good company, they will pay for all the required STCW classes. SeaRiver is another good company that pays for training, their hitches are not nearly so long and they pay well too. There ARE good jobs out there where you won;t be hurting to sail as AB! I don;t know how much sea time you already have but since you already have some, you should be able to get a 3rd mate unlimited MUCH faster by working your way up than by going to the maritime school. You will also be getting paid along the way. Maybe AB wages are not all that much compared to 3rd mate wages, but then again, maybe they are. All depends on where you get the job! Once you get 3rd mate, it only takes 1 year sea time to get 2nd mate and then another year to get chief mate. You will have to take more STCW classes to get the chief mate, but after that, you only need 1 more year of sea time to get unlimited master. So, depending on who you go to work for, you could wind up unlimited master much faster, much more experienced, and much more money in the bank if you hawsepipe it!
I had a friend who was ordinary seaman when I started a job as 2nd mate. She left and went to work for MSC, they paid for ALL her required STCW classes. She had her chief mate license before I did and I paid over $50,000 out of my own pocket for it since I could not find a job with a company who was willing to pay for training.
Good luck, let us know what you decide :slight_smile: