Completely New

This is my first post, my name is Rob, I did a small stint of a year and 3 months in the Navy as an IT. I was only able to pick up a few skills during my time as I was stationed in Norfolk on shore duty after “A” School.

I’ve spent the last several years since, bouncing around careers and interests still not sure of what to do. I do know however that I wish I had stayed in the Navy and I need to do something more serious with my time since I have a Kid on the way.

I looked through this forum a bit before this post as I wasn’t sure where to start. I’ve got a ton of questions and I feel like I unfortunately have to take this route instead of the intended way to search for info on here.

For any of these questions I’ll equally happy to receive a link to an answer if it is too long to type the response.

  1. I believe RET (Radio Electronics Technician) is essentially the same thing as IT in the Navy correct?

  2. It seems like time off is different, where people will refer to their schedules in fractions, 6/3 for instance, does this mean 6 months out to sea and 3 months shore, or is it in weeks or days? I could also just be reading this wrong entirely. When I was on Shore Duty, I worked rotating shifts of 4-10s (4 10 hour days) that rotated start times each week, leaving me with roughly 3.5 days off. I’ve also seen mention of working 160+ days out of the year, meaning getting several months off out of the year? I’m actually more inclined to like a schedule where I’m home for large chunks of time to spend with family instead of wasting time commuting. The dilemma I come across is, does the pay while working really cover the time you’re not working? Does one have to show up every day even while your ship is in home port?

  3. It seem like their are several Maritime companies with different ships etc. do Mariners work on different vessels throughout the year or do you get “orders” to one particular ship? Can one work for different companies throughout the year?

  4. Is there a difference between working on a Cruise Liner and any other ship as far as operations is concerned? I won’t be interested in the service industry aboard any ship or boat.

  5. I’ve heard pay and benefits are great, from the numbers I’ve seen so far when I search for jobs they don’t seem bad but I can’t seem to find an entry level position in RET, I’ve seen 2nd RET on the MSC site plenty but is it the same thing for every company? I made IT3 just before I got out and had my pay kicked in in time that’s what my paperwork would say instead of ITSN.

  6. When I left the Navy I got an RE-4 reenlistment code, for some of you, you already know what that means, for others, I’ll say the short version is I’d have to jump through major hoops to get back in and probably an Officer’s signature. That being said I do have an Honorable Discharge so do any companies have any qualms with an RE-4 including the MSC?

  7. I just turned 30, is there an age limit at all? I came across one article earlier that had mentioned can’t be over 25 but I’m fairly certain that was for an Officer thing.

I’m sure I’m missing questions but I’ll leave this here for now and fill in more as they come to me.

Thanks all, in advance for your help.

  1. Yes and also ETR Electro Tech Rating and ETO Electro Tech Officer will be other ratings you will come across

  2. More times than not days on/off standard rotation for smaller vessels like tugs, OSV’s is 28/14, 14/14, 21/21 really it depends on the company and what the rest of the crew prefers deep sea on ships is usually 120/60 or longer

  3. You hire on with a company and work their vessels usually be assigned to just one vessel permanently if you go through a union hiring hall then each trip could be with a different company and different type of vessel

  4. Get cruise ships out of your head I’m sure someone else can elaborate total dead end

  5. A good electronics tech can make $80k-$200k working half the year depending on experience company and vessel type

6.the MSC crowd will have to help you with that one standby

  1. Age doesn’t really matter

Good evening,

First let me say others here will have some really good advice for you. I am just like you…entering into the industry. Right now I am waiting to hear back on my application to the Workboat Academy program. However, I have spent time at a state maritime academy before I transferred out to do other things. So I have a little perspective. I’m not really going to address your questions because I don’t know but let me lay out in a nutshell your options:

  1. Consider applying to a state maritime academy (don’t know if you already have a college degree or not). Knock it out and you get your unlimited tonnage license.

  2. Wait for, apply to, and accept an entry level MSC job (you will be away from home/family ALOT but will quickly get sea time)

  3. Look into a union like the SIU and look into their entry level apprentice program.

  4. Check out the Workboat Academy.

  5. And finally and most likely worst…just start applying to any OS job you can find but that is very hard to make happen. I think your best bet is some from of education whether than be from the union, a state academy, a vo-tech like the workboat program, etc. Otherwise probably entry level MSC.

Hope that helps at least give a basic framework of your most logical paths.

Good advice here, also, without asking for details or trying to upset you, I hope that the reason you only did a year and a few months in the Navy is settled and no longer an issue. Health, legal, family and other problem matters ought to be sorted out before you run into brick walls.

Start with this website

Begin by applying for your TWIC card and basic merchant mariner credential.

I am also new and have a few questions.

  1. What does a union do exactly? And can you join one even if you don’t live near one?

2.I live in Oregon and it doesn’t seem like there are any entry level jobs here. Is it normal for jobs to ebb and flow in an area?

There are some entry level jobs on tugs in Oregon. For entry level job you need a TWIC ( transportation worker identification credential) and an MMC (merchant mariner credential) that may get you a spot as a cook at Sause bros.( coos bay) or there is Brusco on the Columbia. Neither would be great, but if you are lucky enough to land one of these jobs, at least you will be on the road to getting a license, and once you are in the industry its easier to knock out all the schooling and requirements you need to get licensed.

Also, not sure what the unions do exactly. I think you can join, but if a union company wants to hire you, they will guide you on exactly how to join whatever union they are with. There is probably more to that, just not sure of the specifics.

If you are lucky a union will just take your money and do very little else. If you are unlucky . . .

Sause Bros. in Coos Bay is a union (IBU) company, but Sause hires its employees directly, and just requires that you join the IBU. As unions go, IBU is relatively honest. Sause has a sweetheart contract with the IBU to keep wages low. Sause has a pretty good fleet of newer and or thoroughly rebuilt boats.

Brusco is a nonunion company. I have not heard lately what their wages are, but probably a little bit more than Sause Bros. Brusco’s boats are much older and not as nice as Sause.

It would probably be easier to find your first seagoing job working for a Seattle company in Alaska. Do not overlook the fishing boats; they are a good place to get started.

Where in Oregon? I was in Oregon a couple of weeks ago- the coast is dotted with fishing towns. There are river cruises and passenger ferries like the Alaska ferries that depart from Seattle. It’s a week on/week off rotation which I can’t do from the east coast, but you should be able to manage it.

I would rather flip burgers than go back to work for Brusco.

[QUOTE=Blake;164040]I would rather flip burgers than go back to work for Brusco.[/QUOTE]

I knew there must be some reason why I have never sent a resume to Brusco. Maybe its how the boats look when I pass them. I do know some guys that use to work there.

We are far enough along in our careers that we can afford to pick and chose. This new kid needs to take whatever he can get, just like we use to.

Is Brusco the west coast version of McAllister?

Yes, one of them anyway. I’m sure Mcallister is still a better outfit. In my experience with Brusco it can’t get much worse.

[QUOTE=Bayrunner;164056]Is Brusco the west coast version of McAllister?[/QUOTE]

Brusco is a much much smaller company that is not even in the same league as McAllister. Brusco might be more along the lines of Dann.

Ah so they work a 360 on 5 off rotation!

[QUOTE=Bayrunner;164063]Ah so they work a 360 on 5 off rotation![/QUOTE]

Had a friend that worked for them, and that was his biggest gripe about them. Sounds like it depends on what kind of run and/or where you are at. I know their ship assist gig in port hueneme is great for a local guy, but its virtually impossible to break into that.
They are non-union except siu for unlicensed in hueneme and mmp in sf bay I hear.

I was going to say I remember a certain guy who never stopped talking about the hueneme gig. Never heard anything good otherwise.

[QUOTE=catherder;164033]Where in Oregon? I was in Oregon a couple of weeks ago- the coast is dotted with fishing towns. There are river cruises and passenger ferries like the Alaska ferries that depart from Seattle. It’s a week on/week off rotation which I can’t do from the east coast, but you should be able to manage it.[/QUOTE]

I live in Bend so I’m right in the middle of Oregon. I’m working on getting my TWIC so I clearly am not ready to go job hunting yet but I just had some questions. Thank you all for answering them. I’m glad that in the future if I have more questions I can get help here thanks again!