CHENG to Master? Can I be a Captain someday?


#1

As a young engineer with little civilian experience I have a question for some of you salty old sea dogs.

As an engineer is it an un-realistic goal to want to be the captain of a ship someday. I mean, it just seems like all the Masters I hear about came from deck. How would someone who worked in the Engineroom his whole career even know all the needed knowledge for that(i.e. Navigation, rules of the road, etc…)??? As an engineer should I consider making Chief Eng the pinnacle of career development. I, like any sailor, dream of being top dog someday.

So Basically my question for you all is…

How many times in your career have you seen a Master that came up as a hawespiper through engineering?

I’m sure everyones got a story of “this one guy… 20 yrs ago…” but I’m looking for an overall picture.

Anyone have any idea what the percentage of masters that were engineers is?:confused:


#2

Civvy seatime is calculated in two completely separate categories. Deck, and Engineering. Any seatime you acquire as a wiper, QMED, DDE, 3rd AE. Chief, etc only counts towards other engineering licenses. If you had for example, a DDE 4000, and you decided screw the basement, I want to move up to the penthouse with all the cool kids, you would have to start over at OS, then accrue enough deck time to move up to AB then Mate and eventually Master. I hope this answers your question. If not, feel free to ask for clarification. (or just call me an idiot and hurl sharp objects in my general direction:p)


#3

I knew sea time was calculated that way but I was just assuming there was some exception for chief engineers or other process for them to move up. Wow though, chief engineer is as high as I can go then, huh. Well there goes my Capt Bligh dream :frowning:


#4

yeah, no crossover at all as far as I know. Whats wrong with Chief?


#5

“… other process for them to move up …”

Well for starters, why on Earth do you think becoming a master is “moving up” from chief engineer? I don’t know about mud boats and such but many if not most chief engineers make as much or more than the master and don’t have to deal with mates, and that is a huge bonus right there. What kind of chief engineer are you? I have never met another unlimited chief who feels that crossing over to the deck is a sign of good mental health … except maybe when it was all too obvious that only crazy people would voluntarily go back down the hole.

You can go get a little 100 ton license and call yourself a master if you really need to feed your ego or want to sell insurance on your time off.


#6

Dont need the ego boost. Just had a childhood dream of havingmy own ship some day like I imagine most people on here have had at one time or another whether they want to admit it or not. I had just always assumed that was the highest position on the boat and being someone who has always tried to do my best I planned on shooting for the highest spot I could in my career. Aside from just a few months I have spent all my time at sea with the Navy so I am still learning. I cant imagine I would like any job more than engineering but if there were one it would have to be the boss. I am really surprised that anyone would be surprised by a young guys desire to be the skipper some day. And as to your question… “what kind of chief engineer are you?”… I’m a long long way from that. I am simply a former Navy engineman converted to QMED. I’m a refrigeration genious if I do say so myself and not bad when you put me on the diesels but a CE I am not(yet). I can tell you I am NOT heartbroken by the fact I may never be the skipper and will have more pride in myself than I will ever need the day I make CE. I just wanted to know what I should be shooting for. Thats all


#7

Whilst I could never have been an enigeneer, heck, I can’t even spell the word, I have the utmost admiration not only for their skills, but also the fact that they could keep a watch in that hot, noisy, stinking engine room, while riding out a force 10 gale.

I also believe that if and when the time comes for you to hang up your sea spurs, far more opportunities will be available to you ashore than Capt. Pugwash.

Question though…why would you have to start as OS if you did decide to change? Is there not an option to also be a deck cadet? Naturally you would not be the youngest cadet out there, but age should not be a factor should it?


#8

[QUOTE=Old Bakelite;30831]Question though…why would you have to start as OS if you did decide to change? Is there not an option to also be a deck cadet? Naturally you would not be the youngest cadet out there, but age should not be a factor should it?[/QUOTE]

I’m not sure I understand your question?? I think you have to be in the academy to be a cadet. I would never want to change though. I love engineering, even though we can really get the shaft sometimes, and I take a lot of pride in being down there. The only job I would ever even [I]possibly[/I] want to do is be the skipper, hence the thread. I am reallly facinated by the navigation stuff and some of the other stuff deck does but would never want to be anything other than a snipe. I will be a CE someday and thats pretty much it, but I would be able to die happy with that


#9

[QUOTE=SailorDaniel;30816]As a young engineer with little civilian experience I have a question for some of you salty old sea dogs.

As an engineer is it an un-realistic goal to want to be the captain of a ship someday. I mean, it just seems like all the Masters I hear about came from deck. How would someone who worked in the Engineroom his whole career even know all the needed knowledge for that(i.e. Navigation, rules of the road, etc…)??? As an engineer should I consider making Chief Eng the pinnacle of career development. I, like any sailor, dream of being top dog someday.

So Basically my question for you all is…

How many times in your career have you seen a Master that came up as a hawespiper through engineering?

I’m sure everyones got a story of “this one guy… 20 yrs ago…” but I’m looking for an overall picture.

Anyone have any idea what the percentage of masters that were engineers is?:confused:[/QUOTE]

I’ve heard of one or two. One I think may be at PMI. I believe OS “Anthony” has made mention of him. I also think there is one on this forum athough I think they both went from top to bottom. I have considered the top to bottom route myself. Seems if you can fog a mirror and have the ticket there is more job opportunity. Considering the cost of STCW training, loss of wages for being in the classes (unless your company is paying for it), USCG exams and stress another option might be to stay as CE in your career and buy yourself a nice boat.


#10

I’ve sailed with a couple of dualies from the academies and several hawespipers with both licenses of various grades. Like 10 said, the STCW requirements now are much more difficult if you’re not a union member or have company assistance.

You can use engine room time for 25% of the required deck time for a lower level deck licence and vice versa. The key is to upgrade as soon as you get the seatime. ALWAYS keep track and document your seatime.

While trying to balance married life and accumulating seatime, it took me 10 years to go from QMED to limited Chief to Unlimited 2nd Motor. (I received my 2nd and divorce papers on the same day) It took another 2 years to make 1st and 3 to make Chief with a mixture of 8 and 12 hour days.

Now in retirement, it’s nice to have a 100T license for a part time fishing guide service.


#11

[QUOTE=10talents;30836]I’ve heard of one or two. One I think may be at PMI. I believe OS “Anthony” has made mention of him. I also think there is one on this forum athough I think they both went from top to bottom. [/QUOTE]

Capt. Pete is PMI’s Technical Projects manager. He spent his early years sailing as an engineer then decided he wanted to be able to look out a window while he was working. Just like I could never just head down into the engineroom and start standing a watch, Pete knew that he couldn’t just walk up to the pilothouse and assume he knew what was going on. So he did, indeed, start from the beginning on deck and worked his way up from OS to AB to Mate to Captain.


#12

Danny, Danny, Danny…you have it all wrong.
Everybody knows the Chief is the boss.

Think of the dumbest guy you know, he’s almost certainly got a drivers license.
Anybody can drive a boat.


#13

I think a percent of your seatime as engineer can count for your license as captain UP TO a certain amount of days, check the NMC web site for more specific info

http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/

Note – Service gained in the engine room on vessels not more than 200 GRT,
may be creditable for up to 25% of the deck service requirements for Mate.11.450

http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/checklists/MCP-FM-NMC5-45%20Mate%20500-1600%20Oceans.pdf?list1=checklists%2FMCP-FM-NMC5-45+Mate+500-1600+Oceans.pdf&B1=GO!


#14

[QUOTE=Old Bakelite;30831]Whilst I could never have been an enigeneer, heck, I can’t even spell the word, I have the utmost admiration not only for their skills, but also the fact that they could keep a watch in that hot, noisy, stinking engine room, while riding out a force 10 gale.[/QUOTE]

I visited the underworld yesterday just because I like to know what is going on down under. The CE was sitting in his soundproof AC cubicle with his feet up on the desk and reading the newspaper. Didn’t look to difficult. He look quite relaxed and contented. Things were running smoooth.


#15

[QUOTE=SailorDaniel;30829]Dont need the ego boost. Just had a childhood dream of havingmy own ship some day like I imagine most people on here have had at one time or another whether they want to admit it or not. I had just always assumed that was the highest position on the boat and being someone who has always tried to do my best I planned on shooting for the highest spot I could in my career. Aside from just a few months I have spent all my time at sea with the Navy so I am still learning. I cant imagine I would like any job more than engineering but if there were one it would have to be the boss. [/QUOTE]

Glad to hear you don’t need the ego boost but then you say you want to be the boss? The chief is the boss of engineering and 90% of any ship is engineering. There are a lot of masters unemployed or working as mate. There are few if any chief engineers unemployed. Though captains have most of the regulatory responsibility it’s a leftover from the days when ships were powered by sail. Now that ships have engines the majority of the money goes to the engineering department and so the chief is the one who controls the money [or lack thereof]. Companies highly value a good chief. Most companies know captains are easy to come by while chiefs are hard to find. It’s a supply and demand issue. Keep in mind I am talking about ships, not oilfield boats. That’s a whole 'nother world. They’ve got lots of captains. Heck, evidently everybody with a deck license is a captain. I’ll never forget being on one of those boats, walking down the passageway and seeing doors labeled “1st captain” 2nd captain, 3rd captain" etc. Lord, I’ve known captains who, if they ever saw such a thing, would have those labels ripped right off the doors and quickly explain there isn’t but one captain on any ship.


#16

[QUOTE=seadog!;30874]Danny, Danny, Danny…you have it all wrong.
Everybody knows the Chief is the boss.

Think of the dumbest guy you know, he’s almost certainly got a drivers license.
Anybody can drive a boat.[/QUOTE]

Yes, even a monkey can be taught to drive a boat but are you going to sleep well in your bunk with him at the wheel? When things go wrong they can go wrong quick. I respect both disciplines of Engine Room and Bridge. I respect knowledge, experience, humility and despise ignorance, pride, selfishness. The body cannot function properly without the mouth and the ass. Both are very essential as well as many other parts. IMO both are equally as important. Try stuffing your mouth without getting rid of the shit. Try talking with your ass and see who listens. It’s not about who thinks he/she is the boss. It is about loving what you do, doing it very well and showing others how to do the same all the while taking care of business, making the company some money and bringing everyone back home to see those who really care about them.


#17

[QUOTE=10talents;30881] The CE was sitting in his soundproof AC cubicle with his feet up on the desk and reading the newspaper. Didn’t look to difficult. He look quite relaxed and contented. Things were running smoooth.[/QUOTE]

In my experience, underway in the engineroom is 95% boredom or tedious work… and 5% of “OMG SHITS HITTIN THE FAN!!”


#18

[QUOTE=10talents;30881]The CE was sitting in his soundproof AC cubicle with his feet up on the desk and reading the newspaper.[/QUOTE]

Oh, so not much different to the bridge then? I always found it was too busy in port and the best time to relax and read the paper was when we sailed.


#19

@10-

“It is about loving what you do, doing it very well and showing others how to do the same all the while taking care of business, making the company some money and bringing everyone back home to see those who really care about them.”

Well said.

I’d only add: keeping a sense of humor.

(Maybe I should have put one of those smiley face do-dads at the end of my post.)

We all know it takes a crew to get the job done.

But… Engineers DO and boat drivers WATCH :stuck_out_tongue:


#20

Like everyone here, I’ve sailed with good Captains and bad Captains. And like everyone here, I’ve sailed with good engineers and bad engineers. And I’ve sailed with good engineers that thought that because they were so good at their job, they must be good at my job. So, one day, I had decided I was pretty sick of the engineer telling the whole crew that without him, the boat wasn’t going anywhere, but without the Captain (me), the ship could still get underway. Oh really. OK, Mr. Engineer, c’mon up and let’s see you put this thing into John Day lock on the Columbia River. And oh, by the way, the wind is blowing 15 knots and since it is springtime, the dam is dumping the water like crazy, so you’ll have to crab your way in. Gotta give the guy credit, he gave it his best shot. But in the end, I saved his ass, he thanked me, and never again said a word about the boat not needing a captain.

Was I born knowing all the intricacies of ship handling? Nope. But I studied, learned, applied, and got good. Was the engineer born knowing all the intricacies of all those systems down there? Nope. But he studied, learned, applied and got good. So, let’s quit this age old, stupid, boring argument. We’re all at the top of our game and we definitely need each other.