Cadet pay on commercial vessels

We had an engine-cadet last summer on our boat and he said that typical pay for a cadet on a summer “cadet shipping” trip was low. I’m interested in hearing what is expected pay and what people have seen.

I don’t know if we’re getting cadets this year because things have finally slowed down, but our cadet said that we paid WAY over what his classmates got elsewhere.

Does anyone know if it’s true a company who takes on a cadet gets a tax break or credit? I’ve heard a bunch of stuff, but like information on so many programs its often unreliable.

Thanks guys.


I was a cadet in summer 05 - made something around $25-26 a day, with NO tax break whatsoever.

That’s what I was told. We paid our two cadets 180 last year. They said ti was fantastic.

About the tax break I was asking if the company get’s a tax break from having the cadets…


I made about 28 a day with MSC. Any overtime was “volunteering”.

[quote=fourdegreesc;11019]That’s what I was told. We paid our two cadets 180 last year. They said ti was fantastic.

About the tax break I was asking if the company get’s a tax break from having the cadets…


180 A DAY??? Holy shit. What company is this? Maybe I’ll go sail as a cadet again…

Aries Marine
Pete Romero

I’m not sure if we’re taking cadets this year, but Pete is the guy to talk to.


What do the officers make if the cadets get paid that much? And is that more than the ABs onboard?

Cadets out of KP get paid $890 a month minimum. It is in the agreement they have with all companies they ship with. Which breaks down to about $29 a day. Since they send out the most cadets most companies use this number. It raises every year a few percent to keep up with inflation.

In my experience as a cadet and my friends we all got this amount and we expected to work whatever what was asked. A few east coast tankers did pay overtime to people I knew but expect $29 a day if your cadeting deepwater.

Chouest pays 180 a day for sea-term kids. There were about 12 of them waiting at the airport for the carry-all with me a couple of hitches ago. 180 is what they told me. AB’s get 225-275 a day here (at Chouest).

I made $18.25 with Texaco in 1989. I’m wondering if the mates still collect a couple hundred bucks when you get off. That is an old tradition if you worked hard.

In the late 90’s I made about $22/day as a cadet, IIRC. It definitely wasn’t much for the work I was doing (basically jobs the Chief Mate didn’t want to do…none of it was fun or clean).

As far as I know the tradition is still strong to collect money for hard working cadets. On about three ships I sailed on as a cadet I was given several hundred dollars before signing off by the officers. When I sailed on a Hvide Marine chemical carrier as an engine cadet I volunteered 8 hour watches with the First and 4 additional hours of day work rebuilding the diesel generators, welding up racks, and other general maintenance. The First made a call to the company and asked if I could get paid at the AB overtime rate for four hours a day and was granted permission. I walked off that ship with deep pockets, it was a good trip for me!

I just checked MSC’s pay chart and cadets make $10,681/year base rate which is roughly $890/month as bacardi addict already stated.

Cadets, and even the odd job student in my (dredging) company gets 2500 euro in one month, on a 6 weeks on/ 6 weeks off basis.

For a jobstrudent that is: two weeks work onboard and two weeks paid holiday.

Believe it or not !

I made $185 with Bouchard last summer, which is more than any company I have knowledge of. I think Vane brothers is 2nd paying around $140 a day. Since I am a limited license student. I needed time on a tug, rather than a ship.

Keep in mind that if pay well you will attract the best cadets. Cadets will have to compete for the billet. You will also get more work out of them.

Back in the late 70’s, I was paid US$11.40/day as a cadet. Now, the first or other engineers would give me cash in certain ports before I went ashore for entertainment (more likely for the stories that I would tell when I got back). On the first ship that I was on, I was pretty much a helper for the Day Third. On the second ship, I was used as sort of an extra Day Third since I work pretty well on my own. On some ships I would work half a day and stand the 4-8 morning watch with the second engineer. I also sailed on two of the Maine Class RO/ROs (one for States Lines and the other for Lykes). Those ships didn’t have a Day Third, so I pretty much was used as one. I worked lots of OT, but on all but one ship it was voluntary. Where I did get paid OT (On the States Lines RO/RO), it was paid out of the First Engineer’s pocket. I made more from him than I did with my paycheck.

As far as higher pay attracting better cadets, well with KP, I don’t know if that would be the case. The ATR makes the decisions as to where a cadet will be assigned.

A few years ago we became aware that on occasion cadets were being used as deckhands (and assumably, paid as such) and not as cadet/trainees. The cadets had letters from the companies noting their service was as deckhand or OS. The academies were advised this is not consistent with the approval of their programs, cadets need to be placed as cadets with their sole “duty” being to train for their license. We advised that the time would not be accepted as meeting the sea service requirements of their program approval. Perhaps some of the high pay noted here for cadets suggests the practice may still exist.

Uh Oh busted!

In 2000 I was making around $20 a day, but was paid a little overtime on weekends from the licensed engineers.

I know some companies are paying good money now a days for cadets. Surf subsea is paying $100 a day.

$18/day in the mid 90s. I made plenty of extra cash under the table too so I had a decent roll at the end of sea year. There was some companies that officially paid cadets OT but it was only $5/hr. A 1st told me they would write up a few extra hours of OT for an engineer to pass on to the Cadet.

I had on complete tool of a 1st mate who tried to slap me down a bit. Before I got off I made him look stupid in front of the crew and when I was leaving the Bosun handed me an envelope and said they took up a collection for me. It wasn’t much but I appreciated that far more than anything the Engineers gave me.

$34 a day with Matson as of July 2011

[QUOTE=jdcavo;44652]A few years ago we became aware…

cadets need to be placed as cadets with their sole “duty” being to train for their license.

Perhaps some of the high pay noted here for cadets suggests the practice may still exist.[/QUOTE]

Ummmm. If you put blinders on… One Cadet I had showed me his official information form. It said: 'The cadets job consists of 4 hours of deck work, 4 hours of wheelhouse time, and 4 hours of classroom work per day. How is this equal to your assumption of 'Sole duty" of cadet work? Does 4 hours of ‘deck work’ NOT include drudgery?

But on a different note. Some people feel that a ‘cadet’ (Quotes included) is an ‘assumed’ entry level, beginning, neophyte who needs to be shown the ropes (literally) and shown how to interact (or NOT interact) with the crew to be a useful.

Others feel that a cadet is a ‘fourth mate’ who is somehow deserving of a direct supervisory position to ‘hone’ their skills to manage human relations and professional acumen.

My take on this would diverge to the point that ANYONE with no practical work experience, no history of performance and no record is NOT deserving of ‘free reign’ in a supervisory capacity. Collegiate experience is NOT congruent with commercial, real life work experience. A 21 year old individual with little or no work history, no time in command, and little (if any) maturity is NOT acceptable to this mariner as a 3rd Mate (in any capacity)

If there is another view please let me know what I should be aware of.

Sorry Charlie, this Tuna don’t bite that hook!