Coastie to Captain

I am a Boatswainmate in the uscg, I have been in for 7 years and am due to get out in Apr or May 2010. I am getting my 100 ton near coastal liscense in Nov. I am hoping to get a crewboat job near mobile AL to some where inside LA.I am hoping for a 14 and 7 or a 14 and 14 job I was wondering if anyone had some advice that may help me get hired. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If you have not yet applied for your TWIC card do it immediately.
Expect to go through “new hire orientation” and don’t be insulted, but seek to learn how the commercial industry operates.
Expect to ride as an extra or trainee and then to initially work as a Mate rather than the Master.
And don’t EVER say “Thats not the way the Coast Guard does it”

USCG ret Mate 1600

Thank you very much, I am very eager to learn and be the best at what I do. I am just nervous about leaving the “safety net” of the military. Will my coast guard expierience assist me in getting hired? Can I expect a 14 and 7 rotation or 14 and 14 ?I have heard some companies prefer 7 and 7.Any info will be greatly appreciated.

I was USCG Boatswain’s Mate (5yrs), and Surfman at Cape “D”. I went to the Maritime Academy to advance my training. The Coast Guard is a good base for learning navigation and boathandling skills (depending where you are stationed) but the academy gives you a big jump graduating with a Third Mate’s License. Not necessarily all the shiphandling skills. That will come after graduation, in time. I had the fortune of attending the Great Lakes Maritime Academy where all my sea time was done aboard merchant ships, not “training ships”, so that was a great advantage to learning how things are “really done”. If you have the GI Bill, you might want to consider the academy route, especially during these slow times. When you graduate, it may be easier to land a job with Third’s license in hand, if the economy is back on the upswing then. You may gain more hands on experience intially, going the 100ton route, but it will be a long road to Third Mate. And considering the economy, it may be even longer. Good Luck which ever path you take.


I was GM2 on the Chase, Thetis and Legare and Plankowner PSU 305(which was total charlie foxtrot) from 91 to 96, then did inter-service transfer to Army for another 2 years 96-97…After I got out I spent 8 years using GI Bill got my Bachelors degree in Economics and found myself selling Ford cars and trucks for several years. When the economy crapped out last year, I quit sales and have spent all year doing labor work and getting everything in line to go Paul HAll Apprentice program in March 2010 class.

Bottom line I could have retired next year at age 38; yet I find myself starting from Scratch all these years later. I’d do one of two things…1)stay in the coast guard. When i got out i was way over life aboard WMEC’s…But looking back on it now…wished i would have toughed it out. Or 2) Use GI BILL and go to four year mariner Academy then get back In CG as an Officer. 3) Go Commercial as Mate…as RJBPilot stated.

You got it great in Coast Guard(and dont even know it probably)…trust me. I know the money sounds attractive to go civilian, i know, i understand…but you’ll wish you would have toughed it out for 20 when you my age.

Where is your duty station? Man I miss it!!! I found a bunch of guys I was in with in 1991-1992 recently on Facebook…All theses years later, one is Master Chief GM(Don Keeling), One is a Chief QM (Jim Pitts), and Another is CWO4 Gunnery (Mike Foucher)…That coulda been me…now I’m an outta work Car Salesman trying to get a job scrapping paint on some ship. Ahhh, but people told me all those years ago to stay in too…I didnt listen, so If you dont either, it wont suprise me.

I got a friend of mine works for Norfolk Tug, he loves it, makes good money and has worked his way up through the Merchant Marine process. He advised me to go Paul HAll Apprentice program, then get on with Norfolk Tug down the road a bit…this time I’m listening to what people tell me. Ha!

I completely agree with the advice you gave to freedomwon1. My advice for you is get down to the USCG or US Army Recruiters; at your age and with your prior service I believe you can get back in.
Good Luck

Freedomwon1 and mtclements, in these difficult times, yes, I would advise you to stay the course with the uscg. There are lots of us mariners, myself included, licensed for many years now and searching for work. It is not a simple thing to land a job in this market, possibly you’ll get lucky. But my advice also would be to stay in until things turn around, or just finish out the 20…I still wish I had. I’d have retired three years ago like all my buddies did. Then persue a career with a nice pension and free college or maritime training.

Jeffrox…RJBPilot, thanks for the encouragement…however, I didnt behave like a good coastie when i was in Army Reserve as a civilian(felonies…time). I actually went back to Army Recruiter(I knew I’d never get back in USCG) in 2002,2004, 2008…at which time policy was waiver for 1 Felony in 2002, waiver for 2 felonies in 2004, waiver for 3 felonies in 2008…I HAVE 4(Sounds worse than it really is…they stacked charges on me) In 2009 they stopped giving waivers for any felonies. At that point i started getting MMD/TWIC and talked to MSC.

I got the TWIC no problem cause charges were older than 10 years.

MSC said they wouldn’t take me cause I had served more than 12 months of incarceration. ??? I talked to MSC recruiter…he told me to call some main 1-800 number. The girl who answered the phone flat out said no exceptons to 12 month rule???

I figured I’d just see what they say at Paul HAll in March about ‘assisting’ with getting me on with MSC. But if not its kool…I’ll take what I can get.

The whole thing is crazy…cause I went on to get a 4 year degree on academic scholarship from Elite Private college(Roanoke College). And finished all probation obligations. But those Felonies never go away. After applying to well over 1300 civilian jobs(documented)…writing letters to Governor, State Congressman, City Council, Et cetera…I tried and got TWIC/MMD(OS)/Passport…and have assurance from Lori at admission Paul Hall that Im set for MArch 2010 class. So Im going the civilian route.

Hell I’ll chip paint allday, stand watch…no biggie! Somebody sign me up! I was a good sailor/soldier/student…just made a mistake 13/14 years ago…I was 25 at the time…damn!

One of other thought . . . consider the Army WO program. Their bigger logistic support vessels are full ocean going with (I think) a CWO 4/5 as master/co and other CWO/WO’s as mates. You’ll need to go through WOC school (Fort Rucker I think) and then advance training at Army Transportation Command School at Fort Eustis. Full STCW training, military pay/pension/lifestyle, and you are doing it with gold on your hat.

Check it out with a recruiter. I almost went that route the year our son was born and with the way the commercial sector has gone I sometimes with I had.

I’ll add one more thing that might encourage you to look a different direction. I’ve worked on crew boats/fast supply vessels with several ex coasties, and by and large they were disappointed and frustrated with the working environment. It’s pretty laid back and lacks the discipline and professionalism they were expecting. At lest do the GI thing, go to one of the maritime schools and get the bigger license. Just my 2 cents. Good luck either way.