Chouest Questions

Does anyone work for Edison Chouest Offshore on this forum or have good knowledge of the company?

If so, are they one of the better ways to attain a Mates License from the ground up?

Their schedule looks like 28 on 14 off, is that right?–and if so, is that considered a good deal these days?

They look like a fun company, but I’d like an insider’s viewpoint if possible.




I work for Chouest, AN. I have been here since Oct 1998. I quit in Sept. 1999 to sell Life Insurance, but couldn’t keep a steady Check, So I came back August of 2000. I should have never left. In the 8 years total I have been here a lot has changed. You can say this company is great or that company is bad. What people do not understand is you may be put on one boat in a company and things not go right. Then that person thinks the entire company is bad. You could be put on another boat in the same company and think everything is great and have nothing but good things to say. One boat may have a cook that can’t shop worth a crap and never have enough snacks or fruit or what ever. You may go on another boat and have an excellent cook that loves their job. It is the same with Captains, engineers, Deckhands, Everybody. The people make the company. It is hard to generalize the subject. I can tell you my experience, but it all depends on the individual. Chouest has some great people on the boats and in the Office.

I came to Chouest with my 100 ton license. I had it for 6 months when I came. I drove crewboats. I liked it. Learned a lot and was encouraged by Chouest Management to upgrade my license to go on the supply boats. It was kind of a no brainer. I work for money. You get paid more on supply boats than crew boats. Chouest paid for my license prep classes and material and took 10 bucks a day out of my check until it was paid off. Two years after my CAP (Career Advancement Program) was paid back they gave me the 2100 bucks back. They have their own school that offers all required STCW classes for lower level licensing. Basic STCW, Advanced Fire Fighting, Radar, GMDSS, ARPA, Dynamic Positioning, Flashing Lights, Medical Care Provider, Basically everything a mariner on his was up needs to advance. In this company the only thing that holds you back is your own ambition and aptitude. I feel like midlevel and upper management created an environment that promoted the growth and advancement of my career. The rest was up to me. I connected with my coordinators on a professional and personal level. You have to be smart enough to separate the two and realize they and you have a job to do. Once you show your manager that you are someone they can count on to do a good job and be reliable, they will bend over backwards to help you. It is hard for me to fully explain all the things I like about this company. I can tell you that I would not want to work for any other company than Chouest in this industry. There are things about this company that I dislike, but that will be with any company. The good out weighs the bad in my opinion. I have come a long way with Chouest and am truly grateful for all that they have done for me and my family. I have a long way to go also. Learning never ends, but I am in a good position with the right people to continue growing. I am going to school at the moment for all STCW training required for my Chief Mate/Master Upgrade classes. Chouest is paying for it through the CAP Program and I will eventually get that back. So the short answer is if this is the industry you want to come into, Chouest is the BEST option to get your Mate’s license from the ground up. They are growing and have the best equipment in the industry. I believe they have the brightest future. If you want to be a part of that you should come aboard. It is a fun company with opportunties around every corner. There are a lot of people that work for this company that started out on the Deck and are now in the wheel house or engine room.

28 and 14 seems to be the standard in the Gulf. They have some overseas assignments that normally involve 60 on and 30 off.


Chouest is a large privately owned company that is growing quickly. The pay is not the best in the OSV sector but it’s not far off. The health benefits aren’t great and they pay minimal travel. All that being said they are not a bad company and give a fellow that’s learning the ropes a chance to learn and earn. There are other companies that pay for your school, pay you a portion of your pay and a per diem while going to USCG required schools for advancement which is something Chouest doesn’t do. BUT, at least Chouest helps you out somewhat and they have a continuous need for people. I’d recommend Chouest, especially if you live close to LA.

AN - The industry leaders I’ve talked with are impressed with the family’s business skills. Those based offshore are impressed with OPS and the Chouest captain’s skills… and I’ve never head a significant complaint from any of it’s employees. While every mariner has complaints… the only overly negative ones Ive heard came from captains of other workboat companies. Jealousy?

I’ve been at Chouest for 12 years and have done well. I’ve never had any major problems. Most complaints that I ever heard of, and then actually met the source, the source <strong>was</strong> the problem 99.9% of the time.

Hi All,

 Thanks for all the comments, they really seem like a good company, and I've seen them operating in various places (have worked with the Cory Chouest as an accoustic platform, and the Carolyn Chouest and C-tractor tugs were always in San Diego harbor).  I always wondered about the company after seeing those very ORANGE hulls, you couldn't miss them!  

 I'm surprised that the pay isn't considered really good, I thought they paid really well--but that's not the case?  I also thought they paid for travel and school completely -- and they have their own school house right?  They seem like a friendly company, and the recruiter was the most positive that I have talked to, very knowledgeable as well.  

 Other questions:

Do they have a schedule that allows for day and a half sea time credit?

Do any of the vessels fall under the unlimited category for license purposes (>1600 tons)?

Thanks to everyone who responded, it’s appreciated greatly!

Best Regards,



The day and a half seatime credit depends on how the vessel is classed. Usually, subchapter L and MODUs’ are granted 12hr days for seatime because these vessel are ran at reduced manning due to automation packages. The vessel must" legally" be able to run a two watch system for this benefit (1.5 days seatime per 12 hr. watch)

Chouest does have unlimited vessels…not very many, but they just opened a shipyard in Gulfport Mississippi called GulfShip, LLC. Chouest has been building top notch vessels in the swamp of Louisiana since the sixties. Now that they are beginning to build at a shipyard with water, watch out. Chouest has tried to expand into Jones Act shipping before, now they actually have the shipbuilding facilities to get that business. WATCH OUT.

Chouest does pay good. In fact, they pay enough to were you can wipe your own ass. What I mean by that is, they don’t pay 100% travel but the will give you up to $350 per crewchange to help with expenses (usually its enough). Personally, I would rather make $590/day and make up any difference in travel pay instead of $425/day and 100% travel and free insurance premiums. Thats what I mean by wipe your own ass, and this goes for ALL benefits. Few actually work out the math and use this as a means to tear companies down.


Guest… the only people who should “WATCH OUT” are the maritime unions leaders!


I’m currently working for a smaller OSV company in the Gulf and have heard a lot of talk about Chouest-namely that they’re one of the best paying companies in the Gulf but that they culture onboard ship is a little-um-interesting.

Specifically I’ve heard things like you have to salute the captain/people higher on the food chain than you onboard; that you have to make up your rack and room prior to each watch; and that when alongside, everyone, from the Catpains to the Riggers, are to be out on deck chipping, painting, and doing general maintenance.

I’ve been sailing long enough where I know that you have to take anything a merchant mariner says with a grain of salt, but how much salt exactly? Is there much truth to these stories? And, understanding that each ship is different, what is the general culture like onboard a Chouest boat?

Also-being from one of the maritime academies far from the Gulf coast-how much of a “good ole boys” club is it with Chouest? Is it true that if “…you ain’t from the bayou then you ain’t shit…”?

Thanks for any help in the matter. Also-is it cool to talk cash on here? What are the daily rates for Mates amongst the companies down there? Right now I’m doing $350/day with a 3M unlimited-but I’ll be sitting for my 500 Ton master in a month and will get a bump up to $450. I understand this is on the lower end of average-how much greener is it in other pastures?



You can look at the Chouest Website for more info. As a 500GT Master with a 3000 ITC, regular supply boats are paying 540 per day for a third Capt position… Anchor Boats are on a higher payscale.

Aero-Most all of the boats are 1.5 day credit. A few of the unlimited tonnage vessels only give the 8 hour day. Almost all of their supply vessels qualify you for unlimited tonnage time even though an unlimited license is not required to run them. This is because most of their vessels are only classified ITC tonnage. So a 500-1600 ton license will be 3000 tons ITC. Most of the vessels are under 3000 and the ones that are over 3000 tons, Chouest has a large OSV program that allows mariners to be assessed and a 6000 ton endorsement or Master of Large OSV limited to 6000 tons ITC attached to their license.

Guest- I have never, ever, ever, ever slauted anybody and I have never ever ever ever ever had someone Salute ME! Come on man. Not many ringknockers working for chouest. Uniform is jeans and a collared shirt. No scrambled eggs. Not yet any way, but who knows. It seems the maritime academies are being actively recruited by Chouest. I don’t have any hard numbers, but I know there were 3 fresh academy graduates in a basic DP class recently and I welcome the fresh meat. I think the mix of academy graduates and hawespipers is going to make this company and the industry stronger and even more professional than it has become already. Myself being a hawespiper. Although I should I do not make my rack every day. If I had a room mate I think I would be a little neater than I am right now out of respect for my roomie. There are company guidelines in place for room inspections and proper conduct that I think is needed. How they are enforced is at the discretion of the Master. The atmosphere in the wheelhouse of most of the vessels I have been on with Chouest has always been pleasant and I am treated respectfully by the office. I have to admit though you are expected to know your job and do your job and if you fail to do so you will be punished. There are consequences to not doing your job. The rumors are often embellished to the point of fairy tale. Now as far a Captains chipping and painting while at the dock although not required, I think a lot of people do it out of pride. The appearance of the vessel is a direct reflection of the vessel’s crew. Most of the Captain’s that work for Chouest came from the deck and know what it takes to keep a vessel looking good when you are run non stop and the moral boost a Captain with a grinder in his hand creates can not be duplicated. It brings the entire crew to a different level. Sometimes you have to get in the trenches. As for good ole’ boy syndrome, well how did you so eloquently put it? “…you ain’t from the bayou then you ain’t shit…”? That is absolutely not true. People who work for Chouest are from all over the United States and all over the world for that matter. I am from Alabama, but I live in Florida and I am on one of the largest vessels the company has and Chouest has helped me every step of the way to my Unlimited Master’s license that I am currently working on. I am just getting my 2nd Mate unlimited (I already have my 1600 ton Master/3000 Master/6000 Master/Master of Towing upon Oceans and Western Rivers/3rd Mate Unlimited) and am currently attending STCW classes to fulfill the requirement to test for Chief Mate and I am not the only one that Chouest is helping with this. As for the pay it is good. There are things I would like to see improved on, but the pay is competetive. I make more than some and less than some, but I do love my job. I am getting pretty proficient at anchor handling and I do not plan on going anywhere for a long time. If it would make you feel better to salute me, I guess that would be OK too, but just for you. LOL


Thanks for the heads up-the good ole boy system and salutes were something that would not deal well with, and seemed a little ridiculous to me. You don’t stay at the top of the food chain by running off talent via cronyism and uncomfortable work environments.

Thanks again-Chouest have a referal bonus program you want some credit for?

Thanks Capt. Lee,

   Lots of good info, thanks for taking the time to write it down and the insight.  So it's true that you can get a  USCG unlmited Master's License from Chouest (along with alot of time and effort), given the right mix of vessels?  I was quickly confused by ITC tonnage, and 3000, 6000, ITC tonnage terminology.  I just thought that anything over 1600 GRT would qualify for unlimited anything--but I simplified too much.    

Thanks again,



No referral program for Captains or mates. Only Engineers. 500 bucks finders fee for an engineer after he is here for 6 months or a year I think. I wasn’t looking for any credit, just giving you an insiders view for your own benefit.

Aero-Yes you can get an Unlimited license from Chouest, but The Offshore Supply Vessel industry has created a new licensing scheme to simplify and accelerate the process of getting into the bridge. Mate OSV/Master OSV. These licenses bypasses most of the OICNW classes for operational level officers. This cuts out 11-13 weeks of STCW training and allows one to get a license quicker. Of course you will be limited to OSV’s, but if you want to close the gap after you get the Mate/Master OSV you can. Basically you can get a license quicker this way and if you decide you want to get an Unrestricted License later, you will be attending the classes while making the money of a Mate or Master verses making AB pay. The tests are pretty much all the same now. The same test for 2nd Mate as for 500 ton Mate. On the Certificate of Inspection the vessels are listed by their type of service (Work they do) OSV, Towing, Freight ship, Industrial vessel, passenger, etc. Their tonnage is also listed here. A lot of the vessels Chouest has are listed as ITC (International Tonnage). An OSV may be listed as 2,022 tons ITC and will not have a domestic tonnage registration. A person with a 500 ton Master OSV/3000 tons ITC can run as Master of this vessel. A straight 2nd Mate Unlimited can not without further testing. The 2nd Mate can only run as a Mate. Pretty much 500/1600 ton Master Domestic is equal to 3000 tons ITC Master. With the Large OSV program, some of these companies have, you can get on an OSV up to 6000 tons ITC. Chouest is coming with some 290 + footers double hulled and they will all be over 3000 ITC. Getting an unlimited license in this industry is possible, but not easy. I often question myself as to why I am doing it, because it will not change my pay at all. I do not intend on going on a ship. It is a lot of effort that I will probably never have to use, but for now I am glad I am doing it. I am spending a lot of time with self study and I can actually show an AB how to do terrestrial or estimate time of sunrise or sunset. I can make a compass correction by an amplitude of polaris, the sun or a star. You can get yourself confused with all the licensing schemes and career paths. Get a plan and roll with it.

Capt Lee,

The fact that you’re going for an Unlimited License is telling, it shows that you are very willing to learn, and it’s the highest professional qualification you can get. I must think in a similar way as you, because it seems like the natural progression of things to keep plugging away until you can’t do anything else.

In my other life this was the Airline Transport Pilot license, the highest one the FAA offers. After that, I sought out a 737 type rating and after that, a certified flight instructor (CFI) license. I ran out of time to get the CFI license, but did everything except the final test, and learned alot. All of this non-required learning I did, I passed on to the other pilots I was training in the military as a navy instructor pilot. This was nirvana for me, man I could go on about what a wonderful experience that was, suffice to say, the best job I ever had.

Thanks for making the OSV world clearer to me, now I understand that there is a diffirential between OSV tonnage and training compared to deepwater/bluewater ships. I see the excellent point in pay difference between working as an AB on ocean going ships and working as a Mate on the OSVs. Also, the schedule allows you to see your family more often, every 28 days. I’m keeping that in mind.

Thanks again sir, that was some expert knowledge that you imparted, appreciate it!



You pronounce it “Shwest”. We have a Maine Maritime Grad in the Engine room right now. 985-601-4444 is the front desk. You can ask for Nicki Collins or Justin Hetzinger. The work in the back hiring department. Ask about anchor handling boats or large OSV’s. There are also two ice breakers in Antartica, and OPDS in Guam, a Spy ship out of San Diego and some more unlimited vessels on the way. The best part is all NON-UNION, no dues, no BS and very good wages. Company training, DP in house training. It’s not a perfect world over here, but it is a great place to work. If you are really interested it helps to come in person. There are travel allowances for people who fly or drive that are not local. They have a good but of overseas work also if that interest you. If you have some specific questions let me know. Lee

My buddy works for Chouest, and he’s saying what Lee’s saying. Seems the biggest challenge to get in with them is nobody quits.

Does anyone know if Chouest is actually hiring right now? I keep getting conflicting answers. I stopped by in Nov and talked to a lady in the office who told me they could definitely use me. Then about a week later I got a call from Nicky Collins who left a message and said they didn’t need anyone. I have a 1600 gt masters ocean (8th issue), second mate unlimited, DPO. I know I am qualified and would do a good job. If Chouest is not hiring, does anyone know of more oilfield companies with work overseas? I would really prefer not to work in the Gulf any more. I’d appreciate any news.