Career Advice in the Tug Industry

#1

Hi everyone, looking for career advice in the Tugboat industry. I’m a young guy looking for a career change to eventually become a tug capt/pilot. I’ve briefly looked up some schools, but I don’t want to do too much research on that until I get some questions answered about the schedule and hours of a tug crew first.

I’ve heard that 2wks on 2wks off is a [I]normal [/I]schedule. But I’ve also heard guys say that they work 1wk/1wk or even 1-2 days. Is there any reasoning behind this? I would assume crews that work local jobs are the ones working 1-2 days. I personally would like to work the southeast coast - any idea on what my schedule would look like? I know this depends on company, but at least an estimate or maybe first-hand knowledge?

How’s the work/life balance? I have a girlfriend who I plan on marrying, she’s not too keen on the whole 2wk/2wk schedule. I could probably swing the 1wk/1wk deal. But are jobs like that scored through seniority? Should I even consider this if she doesn’t like me being away from home for too long?

I know, a lot of questions…I just love being on the water and want to get more involved with pretty much all things nautical, I can definitely see myself getting passionate about a job like this and the comradery that comes with it.

Thanks - look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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#2

I’d say don’t consider actual tug work if your girlfriend is going to not like you being away. 2/2 is pretty normal. Even 2 on/1 off can happen. If you want a day job, you’d be better off becoming a deckhand on a ferry or dinner boat.

Sorry if it sounds negative, just trying to be realistic.

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#3

If you’re worried about your girlfriend, you should just find a new career. Not to be so blunt, but you’ll be miserable, she’ll be miserable and the crew you’re working with will be miserable.

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#4

[QUOTE=jhrdlick;178435]I have a girlfriend who I plan on marrying, she’s not too keen on the whole 2wk/2wk schedule.[/QUOTE]

That right there says stay away from this line of work. If you do start working on tugs either you’re going to quit after a few hitches or you won’t be with her long.

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#5

Don’t worry, Jodie will take care of her while you are at work making money to buy stuff for her.

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#6

[QUOTE=Bayrunner;178449]Don’t worry, Jodie will take care of her while you are at work making money to buy stuff for her.[/QUOTE]

True, but in my case Jodie is our girlfriend. We share when I’m home and they do their own thing when I’m gone. It works out great! :smiley:

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#7

Like others stated if you are worried about your lady become a lawyer. You can’t become passionate about something you know nothing about not to be rude it’s a lifestyle and it’s not for everyone.

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#8

Back to the topic at hand, I’ll address the rest of your questions:

[QUOTE=jhrdlick;178435]she’s not too keen on the whole 2wk/2wk schedule. I could probably swing the 1wk/1wk deal. But are jobs like that scored through seniority?[/QUOTE]

The schedule is different company to company. Every east coast company I know that tows offshore is at a minimum 2/2, that or 3/3. The jobs that are 1/1 are going to be like ship docking harbor tugs and such.

[QUOTE=jhrdlick;178435]Should I even consider this if she doesn’t like me being away from home for too long?[/QUOTE]

No.

[QUOTE=jhrdlick;178435]I can definitely see myself getting passionate about a job like this and the [B]comradery[/B] that comes with it.[/QUOTE]

Comraderie? What have you been smoking?

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#9

Does she have a sister??

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#10

[QUOTE=Capt. Phoenix;178450]True, but in my case Jodie is our girlfriend. We share when I’m home and they do their own thing when I’m gone. It works out great! :-D[/QUOTE]

You sir, are my hero.

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#11

Poor guy, he’s like who and wtf is jodie

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#12

Lmfao
This a great thread so far. You fuckin guys are awesome!

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#13

You’ll have to decide which is more important right now in your life. Your girlfriend or your potential career. Stated earlier, this path isn’t for everyone. Actually only a few can survive it. I fuckin love my career as tugboat trash. But I also miss my wife and daughter like crazy. To combat the homesick feeling, I got an iPhone and make do with FaceTime. It works for us. This can be a rewarding career/job. Good luck finding this camaraderie you speak of. Tugboat guys can be a cantankerous bunch of people. Remember, you’ll be living in close quarters with 6-12 people that you may or may not like. You may have to deal with an assistant engineer who smacks and sucks his gums and teeth for 5 straight minutes after he finishing eating…holy mother of god!!! Needles in the brain. Sorry, back on topic. Just make a decision and pull the trigger. Btw, there are few jobs available at the moment with the downturn of the oil patch in the GOM. Probably not the best time to be a greenhorn looking for a marine transportation job. And Jodie will come out and play if given the opportunity. It takes a strong particular type of woman to deal with the life of a tug boater. Good luck and stay safe out there.

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#14

Camaraderie? Tugboat trash talks more shit than ladies in a hair salon. Every boat has a scapegoat too, you don’t want to be that guy. Best when it’s the captain though.

If you have to worry about your girlfriend, then either you shitcan her or don’t work on tugs.

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#15

[QUOTE=KrustySalt;178438]If you’re worried about your girlfriend, you should just find a new career. Not to be so blunt, but you’ll be miserable, she’ll be miserable and the crew you’re working with will be miserable.[/QUOTE]

Often times that gets forgotten…how one shipmates marital problems become your problems. Nothing like being on suicide watch underway or having to work around someone else’s phone call/screaming match agenda.

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#16

[QUOTE=RubberRhib888;178491]You’ll have to decide which is more important right now in your life. Your girlfriend or your potential career.[/QUOTE]

I’m sure there are examples to the contrary but largely if your in a relationship before this line of work you have to choose one or the other. It’s best to already be shipping out in order to find a partner to put up with you being gone.

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#17

[QUOTE=Capt. Phoenix;178500]I’m sure there are examples to the contrary but largely if your in a relationship before this line of work you have to choose one or the other. It’s best to already be shipping out in order to find a partner to put up with you being gone.[/QUOTE]

well said.
personally my relationship works because I’m not home everyday. At times I’ve had day jobs and those were some of the roughest times for my marriage.
Luckily I don’t have a jody, or also known as sancho to worry about. I hope.

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#18

As someone that was Married to a Female that was Batshit Crazy, have a upset wife / GF at home does affect your work and will also really affect the crew. I never really understood how much until my Skipper sat me down and had a lond talk with me about what was going on. While he did understand some of what was going on and felt some of my pain as his home life was not the best. He even knew my wife as we had worked together for quite a few years, he did not pull any punches and laid it out. I had some real hard decisions to make or he would have to take it to the office, which I did understand.

For me it meant cutting my loses and getting the Big D but it was the best thing for me to do as it was that or Jail time.

I remember the Old-timers always telling me when I first started out that if a GF does not like you being gone while you are dating, she is Going to HATE being alone once you get Married. If your GF is showing any signs of not being happy with you being gone 2-3 weeks at a time you have one of two choices, !, Find another type of work or 2 find another GF.

Remember that the type of Woman that we need to keep everything running smooth at home while we are gone, is also the type that kind of sucks to be around when we are home as they really don’t need us for all the day to day BS.

I have seen really great shipmates go nuts because of getting emergency calls from home for crap like the TV died.

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#19

I fucking hate that shit, keep your private life to yourself! Everyone has their own problems to deal with, they don’t want part of yours too. I had a captain that you could hear screaming on the phone from downstairs when he was in his room.

When you come to work you have to leave your drama and baggage on the dock. You have to have your head in the game or someone could get hurt or killed, especially in our line of work.

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#20

[QUOTE=Ctony;178506]personally my relationship works because I’m not home everyday. At times I’ve had day jobs and those were some of the roughest times for my marriage.[/QUOTE]

I never got the people that are like “I can tell it’s time to go back to work because I get sick of my wife,” or some other reason. I can be with my family almost indefinitely. I’ll agree though about day jobs. I tried that and I was so mentally exhausted after work I was a major dick to my family and I hated it. I’ll take rotational work any day…

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