Breaking into Temporary Tug Work

Morning All,

So I posted another thread in another part of the Forum regarding a Foreign National obtaining a USCG Credentials and was lucky to receive an overwhelming amount of responses.

To summarize and recap for some:I am a British Marine Engineer with Alien Resident status, currently continuing my journey through the US Immigration process. I currently hold a UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (UK MCGA) Chief Engineer Unlimited license, accompanied with a significant amount of sea time. I’ve started the process of applying for my QMED All Ratings credentials and am hoping to sit the exams come March when I pay off again, although with the current Government shutdowns, I don’t know if that’s a realistic hope or not.

The main idea behind me getting the US Merchant Mariner Credential(s) is to build up sea time before becoming a US Citizen (or Dual Citizen) and to get some temporary work in doing something I’m at least familiar with between contracts. I’m currently sailing as Staff Chief Engineer with a 3 month on/3 month off rotation.

Has anyone got any advice for getting my foot in the door with some temporary work on harbor tugs, inland waterways vessels, that sort of thing? I’m living in Florida, and would love to find something in one of the larger ports in state, but am willing to travel somewhat as well. I know it’s a question that’s been asked before, and I am in the process of going through the posts (MASSIVE thanks to Bucko for putting together the " [Big ol’ maritime company list posts together). Having not worked in unionized/organized labor before, I have NO clue how it works and how I would go about presenting myself for temporary work. How are the dues paid and how much are they? I have a bunch of other similar questions, but I’m hoping some of you folk will point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance, God speed and smooth sailing!

Most tugs are under 200 grt but a lot are over 100 grt…which means technically all you would need is a twic and an entry level merchant mariners document including an OS and wiper endorsement.
However, some companies give preference and/or only hire uscg licensed engineers even though it may not be required.
In the mean time start networking. Make some phone calls and send your resume out. Lots of info on here about various tug companies and most of them have websites.

Thanks for the advice Ctony, it’s always welcome as you certainly steered me in the right direction with my original post/thread.

Managed to get my TWIC sorted out last leave but as I had such a short one, wasn’t really able to get much else done. Looks like I’ve finally got the paperwork sorted for the application (asked Port Agent to notarize and witness my Mariner’s Oath the other day) so will be sending that off in short order.

I did start going through the list in the Big ol’ maritime companies list and will be sending off emails as soon as I’ve gotten my credentials through. Will search for the Tug Companies on the forum and see what else I can find.

In the meantime, waiting for another atmospheric tester to finish it’s calibration cycle…

I think you mentioned that you live in florida? I haven’t spent much time there but i know McAllister, Moran and Seabulk are there doing ship assist in various ports. There are a few smaller mom and pop companies too. Best of luck and let us know how you make out!

That’s right, just moved to the small town of Umatilla and couldn’t be happier being on a lake and away from the city! Just don’t think our lake has a need for a towing setup…just yet!

Awesome! I’ll take a look into McAllister, Moran and Seabulk and see if I can find any of the smaller companies as well.

Appreciate your input and I’ll let you know if I get any bites.

Are you willing and able to handle lines and help out on deck?

Tugs under 100 GRT do not legally require any credentials, except the captain and mate. However, they typically have a “deckineer” deckhand/Engineer, not a dedicated engineer.

Absolutely no problems with handling lines and helping out on deck. Only reservation would be having not been on that side of things before, I’d have to have someone show me the ropes, but I’m hoping that wouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve seen a few posts about “deckineer” positions and would give it a go. Always good to learn a new aspect of sailing.

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I need a Captain for a Harbor tug. Part time, could lead to more.

North of Jacksonville, small port

200 T, MOT

PM me if interested

2000 HP, twin screw, Kort nozzles

I PM’ed you a few companies to try.

Morning NFPilot!

Sorry mate, but I’m Engineering only. Wouldn’t have the first clue about Navigation, although I could probably learn given enough time (3-4 years maybe? Haha!).

Seriously though, really appreciate you bringing forward a job opportunity like that. If you need a part time Engineer/Deckineer sometime after March, I’d appreciate the opportunity. I’m sailing until then, but then pay off in Fort Lauderdale and will drive home.

Thanks for the post and hope you find the Captain you’re after.

Look into Marine construction companies, they might need an extra hand or 2 every now and then.

Thanks Bayrunner! To be honest hadn’t thought about that at all but think it’s worth looking into. Especially with living in Lake County, should imagine that there’s a ton of marine construction going on.
Thanks for the advice!

Might have been an idea to ask this before hand, but earlier on in this thread tugsailor asked if I’d be willing and able to handle lines and help out on deck, to which I answered “yes”.
I probably should have noted I have zero experience handling lines on deck on any ship, so would it be fair to expect showing the ropes (I’m sorry, excuse the pun!) or would I be expected to know that sort of thing before joining a Tug?
Am phoning the REC tomorrow to find out what’s been going on with my application (they sent me a notice asking for proof of citizenship, which I’ve emailed in but now not heard anything back) and hopefully see if I can get some answers.
Have been Googling how lines are run on Tugs and what not but know that’s not the way I want nor need to learn.

There are lots of variations in various different tugboat trades. In general, reasonable strength and agility and willingness is all that’s required. Tug crews train green deckhands all the time.

Thanks @tugsailor! I’m hoping to get some time in on Tugs, any tugs really, but on the job training would suit me just fine.

One more thing for y’all, and I know this is going to come across as a stupid question.
But, without having the STCW Endorsement for AB-Engine Room Rating, am I unable to sail off the coast? As in, with my current QMED Any Rating being that it is a national rating endorsement, am I only able to sail inland and ports?
Something got me to thinking today as I started trying to network with people in the Towage sector and thought I’d ask to be sure. (Y’all know more than the NMC for sure!)

At least 90% of US tugs are under 200 GRT, so no STCW is required. QMED ratings are not required either.

No STCW is required on fishing vessels, such as factory trawlers; they are exempt.

STCW is required for OSVs and other coastal or ocean vessels over 200 GRT.

What engines do you have experience with? Cat? EMD?

When are you available to work?

Only if they are on near coastal DOMESTIC voyages. If they go foreign, or even transit the waters of another country, STCW is required. It also would not be required for a voyage to Canada as there is a mutual agreement with Canada that allows mariners on vessels of each country to operate in the other if their credentials are valid for their own country.

I’ve got experience with Sulzer (various types) and MAK (essentially license built Cats) medium speed 4 stroke, Cummins and Isotta Fraschini high speed 4 stroke. Some slow speed 2 stroke experience but so long ago that it doesn’t really count.
Available to work, I’d be looking for a temporary gig between beginning of October and Mid December as that’s when I’m on leave next.

Sorry if I’m beating an answered topic here, so on a Domestic Voyage (i.e. Jacksonville to Savannah just for arguments sake) and it’s undertaken near coastal (so guessing less than 12NM from baseline), I would still be covered with my current credentials and not require further STCW endorsements?
With the exception being that if I were to sail to Canada, they would accept my credentials also?