Crowley Western Alaska Marine Delivery

Looking to see if anyone has any experience with this division of Crowley. I could have a potential job with them for this upcoming summer season. I’m currently working as an AB at a well known company in New York City.

I’ve always wanted to work in Alaska at least just once in my lifetime to experience it and I’m still young enough/single to be able to go work up there for the 180-210 day season. The only thing holding me back is I do have a very nice position where I’m at now, the pay is almost exactly the same and I have a great schedule with 2 weeks on/off.

Not only am I interested in learning more about this part of the company, but advice and suggestions from old timers on here would be greatly appreciated for this situation.

I am speaking only from personal experience and may/may not represent the typical Alaskan mariner’s view. Other than a little taste of Puget Sound & the Bay area, coastal & river Alaska is all I know. I have not worked for Crowley, but know several folks that have & pass their boats/barges regularly. For the most part, there are two types of towboaters that work up here… line haul & shallow draft. There is some ship assist work in Dutch & Anchorage…a little in Southeast too. The linehaul boats bring the cargo (fuel/or general freight) up from the PNW & the shallow draft boats deliver it to the villages. My guess is you’re inquiring about the shallow draft, village deliveries. The weather drives a huge part of the work that gets done. Roughly half the villages are exposed to the sea, many of the others are up small rivers that require bar crossings in decent weather. I enjoy running the rivers the most because it is nice not to have to stress about sea state in a small boat towing a bigger one on a wire.
I’m not sure if Crowley allows their crew to hook up to boat internet…but if not, DO NOT forget your kindle & a deck of cards. You can spend days at a time crossing “dead spots” in coverage. Dig around a bit to find out which carrier is best for the region you’ll work. Bottom line is be ready to be disconnected. If you are a fit, hard worker with a solid sense of what is safe and what is not, (and have all the other personality traits that work well on a small boat) you’ll do well in Alaska. Also, if this is you, you won’t have any problem picking up work elsewhere if you decide the Alaska thing is not for you. It is true, good help is hard to find. There are several good, safely managed companies up here…there are just as many of the opposite. Crowley is certainly one of the favorable ones. I would also venture to guess work in Alaska is more challenging as an AB than elsewhere, but don’t take my word for it, I only know this place & am not trying to talk up Alaska as a “tough guy” environment. Discovery channel throws out enough of that BS. Every place brings unique challenges that require different skill sets.
I have no idea what your current employment situation is, but if you have decent pay, a good schedule, benefits, a solid training program…think twice about leaving it. I will say I sure have enjoyed long stretches of time off. I’ve taken some amazing trips with my family because of the schedule. Do your homework and compare your situation to others you’re thinking about. Good luck!

7 Likes

Crowley Western Alaska Fuel Division has been shrinking and is a relatively small operation. Just a few boats left. There are a couple of newer boats, but most of the equipment is old.

The work is seasonal and intensive. The pay is relatively low. This is why they are always looking for people.

Good Morning, I crew the Western Alaska fleet and would be happy to answer your questions and/or refer you to other Western Alaska crew members, former and current. Here’s a good, short video that shows our crews and boats at work.

If you have already applied, you know how to reach out to me. If you haven’t applied, please do so on the Crowley careers web page.

Best,

Sarah

4 Likes

I worked for Crowley there a good company but keep in mind Tugs are no picnic. 6hr on 6 off hard to get rest under tow. Also they are a union company SIU but the hire outside the hall and once hired you will have to join the SIU, You want to work Alaska give Alaska Marine Highway System a look and Edison Chouest

That part of Crowley isn’t SIU, it’s the United Steel Workers Union.

2 Likes

What is the 2020 season pay scale?

I have to say its a pleasure being in this forum I think that I am definitely going to learn some things on here ! I never new that ! its never too late to learn. I hope I can contribute a little salt off my shoes :earth_asia:

I was told 420 a day as an AB, not sure what the other positions make

I’ve been asked not to post wages on public forums, but I’m more than happy to discuss them if you’d like to give me a call.

$420 for an AB/Tankerman?

Hello, just had a interview with the fuel division through MITAGS. The video really showed a good picture of the operations. Question, when you work 6-7 months out there do you get paid on the off time that’s 6 months?

I’ve heard you are able to collect unemployment the right way.

Back when I sailed as Chief Mate at BRIX & FOSS I seem to remember that the daily rate of pay was for both on & off time. So, if the rate was 250.00 a day you got paid 125.00 a day for both on and off periods. I don’t think they do it that way anymore. There was also overtime and other types of pay. We weren’t union in the wheelhouse at that time as licensed “officers” were considered supervisors by the Govt. (Reagan) and did not have to belong to the unions (MM&P). While at BRIX the masters & mates voted to renew their contract with the union so I went elsewhere.
I am sure that everything has changed as I have been out of the business a long time.

Crowley Western Alaska Fuels is organized by Local 5000 of the United Steelworkers Union.

You should be able to get a copy of the contract from the union or the company.

In the past, the pay was toward the low end of the scale in Alaska, but they have had a hard time crewing the boats in recent years. I think the pay has come up, and it’s still rising. They have some good people that have been there a long time.

I cannot recall hearing about ATO or vacation pay. I doubt that they have it.

Alaska unemployment is $372.
Washington unemployment is about $700

I don’t know where Crowley does it’s payroll. It might be in Florida where unemployment is lower.

Crowley Fuels had been shrinking for awhile, but it’s now growing again with some new equipment.

The big problem they have crewing is the schedule. Not many young people want to go to remote Western Alaska with little or no internet for six months with only a two week break in the middle. As the season gets longer, some people don’t like the fall weather in the Bering Sea.

Every company operating in Western Alaska has similar problems crewing.

Competitor Vitus Marine is hiring:

Captain up to $800 a day
Mate up to $700 a day
Engineer up to $700 a day
Tankerman up to $550 a day
Deckineer (deckhand/engineer) up to $599 a day
Deckhand up to $349 a day.

There are other companies paying more, and a few trying to pay less, for example: Alaska Logistics.

There are also some good companies with good equipment, great benefits, and year around work with shorter schedules paying less, and some paying more.

Hi Greg,

On the off-season you will be eligible for unemployment. Our Western Alaska positions are not ATO positions.

For full-time, permanent positions we pay 10 days vacation (goes to 15 days at five years, and 22 days at 10 years) 9 holidays (whether you’re working on the holiday or not), We also cover your health insurance premiums completely, including your family, and we continue to pay the benefit in the off-season if you’re planning on returning the following year.

All travel is paid and arranged by Crowley. We have an upgrade program where we reimburse mariners for classes taken to upgrade your ticket.

And you get to work with an amazing group of professional mariners, and have experiences you will likely never have anywhere else. What you’ll learn in our little line-haul fleet will serve you well your entire career.

I hope this helps answer some questions about Crowley’s Western Alaska Fleet. Here’s a cool video that showcases our boats and our mission.

3 Likes

Nice video.

Thank you for clarifying that there is no ATO, but there are 10 vacation days to start and nine holidays.

P.S. If someone is making $800 a day, 10 days of vacation pay is worth $8000, and nine holidays are $7200, totaling $15,200. That’s a nice bonus.

If you assume 200 days a year of work, $15,200 is in effect an extra $76 per day. That means a nominal day rate of $800 would be effectively $876.

2 Likes

Yes, it’s the benefits that help to make us competitive. However, our Western Alaska mariners work about 150 days in a “season”. It depends on which boat you get assigned to, and how many people want to work a shorter season.

1 Like

Don’t plan on seeing any scenery, it’s all frozen tundra and mud. You’re thinking of the other Alaska…
Cell phone service isn’t terrible with the right carrier, I picked up a GCI card in Bethel and put it in my unlocked iPhone, just refilled when needed.I’d suggest ordering it before you ship out.
You will 100% want to get one, other service providers won’t work in some remote villages like GCI does.

As an AB you are the low man on the totem pole, unless there’s an OS of course.
While the Captain and Chief Mate sit in the galley talking trash about how lazy you are and writing up some BS negative evaluation on you you’ll be out on deck or standing header watch for 12 hours straight…if you’re a Tankerman, loading/DC the barge with a 2nd Mate (a knowledgeable one not fresh PMI grad… if fortunate enough), if the other crew are feeling nice they’ll relieve you so you can use the head or eat.

When you are off watch and thought you were going to get some much needed rest, chances are you’ll be woken up to drag the hose through the mud up the beach, roll up hoses or make/break tow…This is a regular occurrence and you’ll just have to get use to getting by with little rest, because you’ll sign a contract saying that you are opting out of overtime pay for a little extra per day.

And even with that…still, the base pay is low.
Don’t buy into the unemployment BS, It’s like 375/week and that’s only if you work 3/4 of the year in Alaska, otherwise you have to go through the state wherever you worked before (NY I guess), and you have to jump through hoops either way every week to qualify for it, it doesn’t just come.
You’ll be new, you won’t get that 2 weeks of vacation in the middle of the season because everyone wants it and you’re the last in. You may get it super early or super late, not the middle.

One good thing I’ll say, pretty much the only one…is that they offer some of the best benefits I’ve ever had at any company including food (no budget), 401k match, medical was stellar, training all paid for…even those ridiculous online courses they make you do you will get an hourly wage upon completion.

Plan on getting on the worst boat and barge being new, you’ll work from thaw til freeze, that can vary but around November you’ll be probably winterizing the boats (possibly multiple) and and crawling barge tanks cleaning them.

My advice, get your Tankerman ticket and learn to tank the barge, if you can’t find work somewhere else then sure, go to the edge of the world with all the rest of the wash-outs that can’t make it elsewhere.

$0.2

2 Likes

I’ll make another suggestion. If you are planning to work for any of the companies delivering fuel in Alaska (or anywhere else), or you want to improve your chances of being hired, and make more money sooner:

Go take the $1000, one week, Tankerman-PIC course right now, take the exam at the school, and apply for the

Tankerman Assistant (right away)

Then all you need to do once you get your 5 loads and 5 discharges is apply within 12 months to get your

Tankman-PIC (barge) endorsement.

I think any company transporting oil would rather hire a guy who already has Tankerman Assistant. There is also a good chance of starting at a higher day rate.

What do you think @SeaEagle ?