Crew shortage?

Hi I applied to both NOAA and MSC for su and gva. I got immediately forwarded in the process. I’m definitely not mad about that but I’m just curious if there’s a crew shortage because from memory they used to take longer to even look at your application. So is there a crew shortage ? The positions also stayed open fairly long or basically barely closed then reopened immediately. Hiring frenzy? Is the pandemic having an affect on openings? I’m just curious

There is a nationwide crew shortage caused by the pandemic.

I’ve talked to many mariners who have stopped going to sea. Underlying reason for most: spouses tired of being forced to stay at home to take care of kids/parents during the pandemic.

The mariners in question are in the 21-35 range. Their spouses were forced to stay home in 2020, often with out-of-school kids. Also, daycare was very difficult to get for pre-schoolers. But in fall of 2020 the economy re-opened. Those stay-at-home spouses were called back to work, at increased wages. Trouble is, schools can be shutdown at any time due to C19. Who takes care of the kids at home then? Daycare is still difficult to find for preschoolers, because daycare workers got better paying jobs as delivery drivers in 2020. The shoreside-spouse is tired of trying to juggle all this work/kids/aged parents chaos while mariner-spouse is “out of having fun” at sea.

Net result is that shoreside-spouses in school-age families are demanding their mariner-spouses take shoreside jobs, ready to take care of the kids if needed, so the other spouse can go to work. Since there are good paying shoreside jobs available, the marine- spouse prefers swallowing the anchor to getting divorced.


That describes a friend of mine. He’s staying home and doing daytrip trucking for $35 an hour, plus benefits and overtime. In theory, he works 4 - 10 hours days, but there is a lot more overtime than he wants to do.

I’m available to go to sea after Christmas, but I’m getting some work as a construction superintendent at $75 an hour


Thanks for the responses and the explanation makes sense to me.

I’m not sure if it’s a nationwide trend, or how big of an increase it is, but more and more of the people I know have retired. Maybe that’s just because we are at or beyond retirement age. Covid is certainly a factor.

More guys claim that they are semi-retiring, but there is too much work and demand for experience. Not as much “semi” to it as they had hoped.

I can think of two guys that I worked with off and on for many years that died this year.

I can think of a couple others sidelined by cancer. Fools that smoked themselves almost to death.

I’ve also seen some guys that retired awhile ago back out on the boats.

I’m just speaking as to what I’ve seen with my last company before I myself recently quit sailing a few months back.

A lot of people retired last year, this year and more to come with not enough replacements, and a lot of the 21-35 range folks on top of what Freighterman1 said are also either hopping companies or getting shore side jobs in related or different fields entirely. I’m in the 30-35 age range and got a shore side job after sailing for 12 years my self.

Yup I’m another one who made the leap to shore side. I’m still on a boat 12 hours a day but I’m in my own bed each night.


Is it an OSRV?

Same age, been thinking the same thing lately…

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30 years ago a seagoing job paid triple what you could make from a shoreside job at home. You had a lot of buying power when you got home.

Seagoing jobs usually pay more, but the gap has narrowed. I don’t have much buying power anymore.

Seagoing jobs just are not that attractive anymore.


Honestly I had been thinking about it for a few years, I was considering it early 2020 but then COVID hit and thankfully I was able to stay employed and my company didn’t lay anyone off, But I had reached a point in my Career where I was no longer excited and even dreaded going back to the boats, The Week On/Week Off schedule wasn’t bad and I worked with some great folks but everything else was starting to drag on me. I just happened to be in the right place and time when I reached out and got my job shore side, I took a slight pay cut to start, 5% pay. BUT when you factor in the amount of time spent at work a whole week at a time working 8-12 hours a day 7 days a week vs my current 4-10’s schedule it’s really not that much of a cut and sort of a raise.

There’s quite a few niche Shoreside jobs that are still Maritime related generally Maritime Support or something along those lines that are looking for experienced Mariners (especially if you’re an Engineer or Deck Officer) just usually the recruits don’t know how to find us or what to look for.

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No, a RO/Pax ferry

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Congrats! I’m a current NOAA employee and happy to answer any questions about the job if you want to PM me. As for the hiring process, you are absolutely right that it used to take ages (I applied as OS with plenty of experience for a year, then applied for another 6 months as an AB before I got a phone call).

Ignore the length of opening positions, it has to do something (I think) with fiscal years and how many positions are allowed to be open, it’s meaningless.

We lost (like any other commercial company like the others mentioned) employees over the last two years due to Covid and issues that arose from that, and we’ve been on various hiring freezes (this is a budgeting and Congress thing) over the years, so as people retire and quit we haven’t replaced them at the same rate, so we’re working to catch up, so to speak. That and the hiring folks are well, better at their jobs than the previous guys. (When I got that phone call the guy had clearly not read my resume and wasn’t really sure what my job would entail or basic things like pay beyond what is listed. There was also no interview, just an are you still interested?)

Are you leaning toward deck or engine room, or galley?

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Hi thanks so much I will figure out how to pm. I’m wanting gva messman. I applied and didn’t see a place to upload my ksa it’s already prepared. I wrote them about it and I’m waiting on a response. I have seagoing experience and I enjoy being out there. But I would like to know how long does NOAA take to move along? Like a few months to hire? Or longer process? Also how do shipmates treat each other ? What’s life on board like, living conditions etc?

Click on the person’s name and click Message.

Oh ok thanks

Shortage of qualified people in the maritime sector is widespread, both seagoing and shore based:

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