Can i sail with the SIU as qmed if i've never been to piney point?

just curious. thanks for any input.

The short answer is a simple…yes. Understand starting out in the SIU, you would be a “C” Book, with the lowest seniority. With the current job situation getting a job should not be an issue assuming all the other required paperwork is in order.

Yes. You’ll need to bring your documents to the hall, and somewhere in the neighborhood of $550 in the form of cashiers check or money order (for the initial physical exam).
If I were you I would join MFOW instead.


Thanks Chief. Do you by any chance know where or if I can obtain official proof of this? I am NOT asking this because I don’t believe you, I ask because I’ll need it to convince someone. Thanks more!

Thanks friend. If you know where I can find proof of this I’d be grateful because I have someone I need to convince.

Can you tell me why I should join the MFOW? Maybe I’ll do that instead.

Thanks VERY much for your time and knowledge.

MFOW has better paying contracts, generally speaking. MFOW is only on the west coast and only engineers. Not sure how their benefits/pension compare to SIU though.

SIU has more contracts though i think. Someone will correct me if i am wrong but they are the biggest union for unlicensed deep sea deck, engine and steward positions. I was SIU inland, and their biggest pitfall to me was their insurance. Its good, but there are pitfalls to becoming eligible for them AND using them. Probably the biggest reason why i often speak negatively about them.


When it comes to QMED, I believe SIU wants you to hold a QMED- any rating, and have Able Seafarer-Engine. Do they jave jobs for a QMED - Oiler with just rfpew? I guess one could work as a wiper and get more credentials?

I’ll start out with the good about SIU.

I sailed in the SIU (licensed, ATB) and went to the hall a few times for admin things; also went to Piney Point a few times for some assessments and conferences. With the exception of a few people, most everyone was very friendly in the union and the health benefits were not too shabby. The boatman’s pension (which the ATBs fall under) is a pretty good deal. 2-for-1 towards the pension, meaning you accrue two days towards your pension for every day worked. The pension I believe is still 30% of your last 5 years. That 30% is also calculated off of your yearly wages, due to the fact you essentially have a day rate. You have to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 62 1/2 y/o to collect the full shebang though. If you get your time towards it complete, stop working, and not old enough to collect yet, I believe there’s a percentage decrease to what you will collect when you’re finally old enough. Regardless of that, it’s not a bad deal.

On the other hand, I now work on ships and have sailed with a large number of deep sea SIU unlicensed folks in the process. All I hear about is how they’re getting screwed in this way, screwed in that way, etc. They get the runaround at the halls from the patrolmen. Their pension is based off of base wages, which is nothing (all about OT). Lesser pay but more ships I guess.

On the other hand, I have met reefers and QMEDs etc from MFOW and they’re making bank and all seem to really like their union.

I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. With SIU, I know you can complete x-number of rotary (120 day)jobs and then get a permanent position which I believe only has to be reclaimed every 5 years. This would alleviate worries about finding a job or not out of the hall I guess.

From my unorganized rambling, maybe it’s not that you should indeed join MFOW instead, but it’s worth checking out.

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My son sails out of the SIU as QMED. The ratings he has are Oiler and Junior Engineer. STCW wise he does have Able Seafarer-Engine. Not to forget RFPEW as well.

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your rambling is very much appreciated. i am going to contact the mfow monday. i am a navy vet and i used my seatime there along with my rating(mm) and skills obtained there to test directly into a qmed rating 30 years ago and i sailed as a qmed for 3 years. fast forward to now. i’ve re-obtained a qmed-any designation and i have everything in place to sail. i was told by a patrolman that i can’t sail as qmed unless i go to a piney point school/class first. so, i’ll contact the mfow monday and hopefully they are receptive. all i heard at the siu halls i visited was “welcome back, thanks, we need you” etc. if i have to sail as a lower rate then so be it, i just want to find out where it says that in black and white.

thank you for time kind sir. it is appreciated.

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hi chief. i have a qmed-any designnation and i am 100% ready to go to sea but i was told i’d have to attend piney point for at least one class before i can sail qmed. my patrolman said i’d have to sail as a lower rate, go to a school, and then i can sail qmed.

if so then i will. i’m not here to complain but i’d like to see where it says in an official policy that i have to go to piney point first. i sailed 30 years ago and that wasn’t the case unless they ignored that fact or didn’t know themselves.

thanks for your time and reply! it is appreciated.

I believe the patrolman is jerking your chain. Call a patrolman in a different port or their headquaters. Consider applying directly to Crowley as a quick “backdoor” way to join the SIU.


@QQQ do you have basic training, rfpew, able seafarer engine and vpdsd?

Yes. I am 100% ready.


Or to G&H Towing in either Houston or Corpus.


big time thanks chief! i will investigate thoroughly.

thanks friend! i will contact them.

thank you Ctony. your help is much appreciated.

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thanks steaksauce. i have a qmed-any, as-e, vpdsd, rfpew so i think i got everything i need to ship.

It sounds like you do. I would guess you could join, go to the hall, and be a C book but I’m not 100% sure.

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