Career Path Questions

I work for a green flag company at the moment. We travel along the Gulf - 28/14 as a deckhand. I am not a company man, I would like to get on some bigger ships and see the world. I don’t want to spend my entire working career here. I would like something more flexible (union job) where I can have off-time to sail to a destination or two (would like to liveaboard a sailboat). I’m 24, I am not married, no wife/gf, no children, no major responsibilities - aside from various bills and debt ($16,000 left on car note, $2,900 on a credit card).

I currently make about $4,000 bi-weekly pre-tax. I can see myself in the engine room and have spent a little bit of time down there assisting the engineers. I can possibly hawsepipe my way up as an engineer (though the doors as closing on that). Being a captain would require more schooling to get the paper to show for that position. I don’t want to spend time on going to school (and not working) to obtain that.

Thoughts, opinions? All are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

SIU Piney Point

1 Like

Every engineer I’ve worked with knew it was what they wanted to be and had zero interest in being on deck. What do you want to do more?
You’ll have to attend some kind of school for whatever path you take, just part of the game now. If you want to travel the World and you’re gonna hawsepipe your way to 3rd Engineer you’ll need to get the four OICEW classes and those are 14 weeks long total, though they can be taken individually. Not counting the Medical, ERM, BST, Advanced Fire, etc.

I don’t mind staying in/on deck. The best thing I can do is learn the deck and become very proficient and efficient at it. Deckhands come a dime-a-dozen, but there’s still other areas I can ‘transfer’ to - crewing yachts and the like. I have attended a maritime college for the STCW, but I would rather not waste time being a full-time student.

Unless you want to stay an AB all your life (which you say you don’t, as you mentioned being a Captain) you will be required to take classes over your career. Even yachts have their own requirements. STCW doesn’t even cover the bare minimum for some yacht/industry deckhand jobs. I wish you luck.

1 Like

Well if I get paid to attend Piney Point or SIU I don’t mind. Might as well as suck it up and do it. I will stay on my current job for a year and then hop into the apprenticeship.

It would only benefit me in the long run, might as well.

Thank you, I will look into the SIU apprenticeship. I’ve been shying away from it, but it seems like a good option.

I’m not sure that’s true. I think both tracks have about the same amount of required time in school.

Are you already an AB?

1 Like

Blockquote Are you already an AB?

No, I am an OS. I have been sailing since 30 May. The boat and barge have been in/at the shipyard since 05 June. I want to upgrade as soon as possible. My current day rate is $255 and some change. Joining the SIU unlicensed program would - I would take a bit of a hit for a while.

I plan to pay for the AB and lifeboatman class and then join the Union. With my current job and position, I do what the unlicensed apprentices do but I make a little more.

You are just in the beginning of accumulating the seatime required for AB.Get some study books and be ready for the test when you get the time.

Just keep working to get your 180 days (120 - 12 hour days) of seatime, then apply for AB OSV.

You could self-study and then take the exam at the USCG, but most people go to a school for one week and take the exam at the school. You’ll need to take a one week BT course as well.

You’ll never need to take another exam to upgrade to AB Special, limited or unlimited. You’ll just need more seatime.

Yes, thank you. I am sitting at 75 days of sea time for my last two hitches. With working over, I will be at the required amount for AB OSV.