Chaleston, SC

Hello all, I am new to the site, but very impressed as to the welth of knowledge here…I am recently out of the military, a veteran of both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy and I have gotten my TWIC and am now applying for my MMC as an OS. I currently live in WI, but am preparing to move to SC to be closer to my family. I was hoping that you guys might be able to help me learn a little bit about the local job market for someone of my skill level, i.e, expected salary, companies that may be hiring, and the general overview of the career I am starting out on. I am very excited to be moving into the maritime industry, and could use (and would appreciate very much) any and all advice or tips. Thanks guys, and be safe!!!

You could start by taking some of your STCW classes if you have the money. It will make it way easier to get a job. Your Navy boot camp counts for your BST with the exception you have to go do immersion suit training(2 hours and $100). What did you do in the Navy as it may help you get a better license?

Chapter 2, will give a lot of information on how your prior Navy time may help you…good luck

A lot of it depends on your rate and qualifications-commisioned or enlisted? For example, if you held either an OOD letter or BMOW/QMOW, you may be able qualify for an AB credential w/ RFPNW, after taking a course or two as SailorDaniel mentioned. A Helm/Lookout letter and documented immersion-suit (gumby suit) training may be enough for an AB Limited ticket. As for finding work-as you may or may not know being a recently seperated veteran, times are tight for all of us. There are hundreds of experienced/licensed mariners that have been out of work for months, yes-even years. You being a greenhorn-veteran (disabled is even a bigger plus), may have a great shot at finding employment with the Army Corps, NOAA, etc. There is a thread under “Maritime Employment” called “Job Opportunities at”, or something of that nature. It was started several months ago, but gives you a detailed discription of how to filter through all the B.S. and search for marine-related jobs.

The comment about Vet status is important. companies get a tax credit for hiring Vets. However as mentioned there are a whole lot of experienced guys on the beach right now in this economy.


An OS makes from 100 bucks a day to around 250 a day. This depends on location, union (or not), type of vessels, and employer.
Typically a inland/river boat pays less, with coastwise towing paying the best. The Gulf of Mexico has middle to high wages, but usually the jobs are cyclical depending on the oil patch. Some east coast towing companies are paying OS deckhands 275 a day (union jobs) but there are so many guys out, the jobs are hard to come by. The typical work rotation is either two weeks on, two weeks off; two for one (two weeks on, one off; two months on one month off), or three and one. So although you may make less per day, a 2 and 1 schedule will mean you will be working 8 or 9 months a year. So you may make the high gross amount, but you’ll be gone more days to get it. sort of hard to have any kind of family life being gone so mu IMHO.

I personally have never worked 2 and 1 and wouldn’t work at the low paying companies out of principle! But some guys love the 2 and 1 schedule. Also I’m at the other end of the career, where I CAN make those choices.

Jobs on the Great Lakes do not require the STCW classes. They hire OS’s. Sometimes without experience. Your military time is all to the good. Check out they have a lot of info, including company names and addresses for GL companies.