I am sure you get a lot of advice and what Caps says is very good. However, not that I want to advise or sound like I am preaching, I think there are a few more factors to consider.
With your second mates ticket you should have a second mates position. I recall a “story” from years ago where a 2/E was taking his C/E orals. The examiner duly passed him and handed him his slip. The examiner then asked him what his plans were to which the 2/E replied; “I will probably do a couple more trips as 2/E for experience and then apply for a C/E position”. At which point the examiner reached over and took the slip back saying, “I pass Chief Engineers not Second Engineers”.
The days of only getting the position below the ticket that you have should be long gone.
As Caps says, specialist ships always need the best people…Masters of today’s modern LNGs certainly earn top dollar.
But this industry also needs its fair share of people to come ashore…pilots, surveyors, harbour masters, port captains/superintendents, college lecturers and examiners to name but a few.
I do not think many of us knew what our long term goals were when we went to sea (well I certainly did not!)…marriage, kids, mortgage, the thought of Christmas at home etc etc. All I could think about was fun in the sun, but what about when you get past that?
While the “easy jobs” as Caps says again, might be easy and lower paid, will promotion be quicker? How important is that? Ambition, money, future career path all come into play and knowing that sooner rather than later could be useful. Certainly once you get your sea time in it might be a good idea to get back to college for mates and masters as quickly as possible.
BTW, is FNC’s Navaids cabin on stilts still down on the beach at Fleetwood? (Separate story on that one).