Day in the life onboard an ATB

Hey y’all, im currently looking at making a switch to an ATB (through AMO) and just curious what those days look like? Ive sailed OSV and Tanker and just curious how it compares… Mainly just wanting to switch for the shorter hitches but would appreciate any Input, Thanks

Poker at noon and cornhole at 1800


What position will you be? I was AB on one for a bit. We worked 4/8 watch at sea and 6/6 in port doing cargo. Generally it’s a good job. Smaller crew is nice if everyone is cool. I cooked dinner everyday and the crew would fend for their selves for the other meals. On holidays everyone would pitch in and cook. Most days underway I was cleaning and doing any other little project. In port, I would help the tankerman with cargo and setting up/disconnecting the hoses and whatnot. Occasionally, you sit at anchor doing nothing and everyone chills. Overall it’s a decent gig. The living conditions will be tighter than OSVs but it will be a similar experience if you were in a mudboat. Tying up on ATBs is pretty easy and it’s less linehandeling then a traditional wire boat. Pinning up takes a little time to learn but it’s not rocket science.

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Do you have a tankerman endorsement? You’ll probably neerd one, PIC for mates, or tankerman-assistant for ABs.

Id be switching on as a 3rd Mate (Possibly 2nd)

And I do have my Tankerman PIC but not a TOAR

I think it’s easier to go on without PIC but with a TOAR than the other way around. At last that way you can stand watch underway, you just can’t do cargo by yourself.

Its actually the opposite, I don’t know how they justify it, but they let folks without a TOAR stand nav watch, but without a PIC you have to do your PIC observer. I have a hunch its because they usualy have an extra mate above what’s on the COI.

Less line handling and work getting pinned up than a tug making tow obviously…less cargo volume than a ship, usually shorter runs especially if doing cross harbor work.
Would rather work on an OSV than an ATB, but I’d rather work on an ATB than a wire boat.

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That doesn’t mean that someone without the proper license can stand a watch by themselves though.

See 46 CFR 11.211(d).

I remember working with guys who lamented the good old days when tugs had a cook.

I fucked up the first and only meal I cooked on a tug back in the day and was banned from attempting it again. Best mistake I ever made.


I’m amazed the captains allow that. It’s their license on the line if anything happens and/or they get caught. I thought the companies moving oil were stricter than that.

Hahaha yea I had wished I burned the sh*t out my my very first dinner instead of putting in maximum effort. I was then expected to go all out for every meal. Good crew though and liberal food budget. I head Crowley has a UT in their ATBs that is the designated cook.

I enjoyed working the larger oil related ATB type vessels. Fairly regular schedule and equal time. Having worked on both rigs with and without cooks,was lucky I guess for most of my career had a designated cook. When company “downsized” crew from as many as twelve to eight or nine, the cook that stepped up to help with hoses, loading/discharge, and deckwork became an extremely valuable asset. The good ones got promoted rather quickly. They deserved it…

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Had to look up ATB. All Terrain Boat? :laughing: In the past, I’ve seen some boaters that tried to make their boat an ATB.

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We work 6/6 with 2 week hitches. Wheelhouse personnel do not do cargo. There is one AB on board and they’re tasked with cooking dinner. We’re on our own for the rest. Overall I find it to be pretty agreeable.

Edit- we run a 7 person crew.

You will be a sea buoy mate at sea and pic in port. Almost the same as a tanker except better rotations if you need the shorter ones. Much less comfortable than a tanker.

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This is true.
It’s a glorified Tankerman position.
You will become proficient at loading cargo very very quickly, creating a load plan, BOL, paperwork and basic engine maintenance, get 0 experience actually maneuvering the vessel.
Way too much risk and not enough reward if you ask me.

VanEnkevort operates a trio of dry-bulk ATBs on the Great Lakes if you dont have a tankerman endorsement. I dont believe they are AMO affiliated though and to be a mate you’d need Great Lakes Pilotage.