Death of Hawespipers

Everyone working up the hawespipe should read this.

I recently sat for my 3rd Assistant Engineer Motors Unlimited and passed. I have been a ETO for a few years and a QMED before that but I’ve always wanted to be an engineer but would always talk myself out of it. I finally did it and passed all the exams first try, took ERM and completed my assessments. I was then told that I needed 5 more classes for the OICEW endorsement and as you know there is really no where you can work without your STCW’s!

Ok I was upset of course but alright we all know the Coast Guard stuff changes and we bitch and moan but in the end we have to do it in order to work right. I found 1 school that offered the courses needed to complete OICEW and become a STCW 3rd, and the page might as well have been a giant emogi laughing at me until it died because at that moment I about shit myself, all told 80 days of training and $13,700. That’s not including housing, food, gas and lost pay.

Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy (courses required for OICEW, no matter what!)
(ERM but I had taken that one, was $1,000 not included in the below totals)
Engineering terminology and shipboard operations. 11.329 (included in either electrical or control systems)
Electrical machinery and basic electronics 11.329 20 DAYS $3,900.00
Auxiliary machinery 11.329 20 DAYS $3,000.00
Motor plants as applicable. 11.329 20 DAYS $2,900.00
Control systems. 11.329 20 DAYS $3,900.00

The day I passed my exams all I could think about is being an officer at Maersk or joining MEBA or AMO working on slow speed 2 stroke diesels in large container ships or tankers or dry bulk. I guess I still have Ultra Deep Sea contruction vessels as a ETO, now I’m not saying anything bad about oilfield work it’s just not exactly what I dreamed of and worked so damn hard for. anyway I was just passing on the information so that others will know before they spend the time and money.

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It’s tough out there for a hawsepiper to make it to the top. Many time I despise the attitude that many academy grads bring to the boat, but if I had to do it all over again I would go the academy route.


Go to work on the Great Lakes. No STCW needed.

As a hawsepiper I’m fully aware of the new classes. MAMA is the only game in town for those classes. They have actually ben a requirement since January 2017 I believe. A lot of the guys I know that are in the same situation seem to have selective blinders on when it comes to those classes, thinking they aren’t really needed or that they are for the other guy not me. I’ve heard nothing but good things from MAMA and their courses, but i do think seatime should be substituted fro some if not all of them. I’m not sure what amazingly new & helpful things I’m going to be learning their that i haven’t already experienced in my 7yrs of QMED time, new builds, and shipyards.


I appreciate your reply, mine was more of the stupidity factor. I got all of the paperwork from the REC at the end of 2016 and it took me a yr to get through all of the classes required for 3rds. Between shipping and still paying bills that is. I just never rechecked the checklist for changes so when I got the notice it was a little bit of a shock. I am sure that MAMA is a great place but the time it took to get the others @ $800-1200 a pop I would’ve been a chief lol. Anyway thanks again.

You do realize that upper level licenses require further courses now as well right? It’s not just hawsepipers effected, and I’m pretty sure a four year SMA costs even more and doesn’t have the benefit of working as you’re paying for those same courses you mentioned (at least not at a reasonable pay rate… or at least better than the $21 a day I got as a deck cadet with Mormac back in 97). Ever think about shipping SIU where you can get those classes too?

I know that there are courses for 1st/Chief and for my ETO I already have MEECE, high voltage, DP maintainer with ABS I have stacks of certs with DNV, ABS and Coast Guard along with the STCW ETO. One of the reasons it’s so annoying with the courses most of these I already have a higher certifications. More than the money it’s the time though 80 days of classes is a bit excessive since your already required to get 1084 days of experience. IDK I served with AMO and SIU (as a ETO) but unless it’s changed jobs were sparatic at best. Maybe I was the only one who fell asleep on this. I was doing 90/30 and went to work in the gulf to get more time to take classes. Maybe I should check with them again and see thanks.

Hey… at least they got rid of that pesky radar renewal!

Is that officially official yet? I thought congress still had to pass that?

No…no they haven’t. I’ve got three years tommy next renewal and I fully plan on congress having not addressed that recommendation by then.

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To be honest, I am not sure. I just remember reading that it was something they wanted to do…

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Lol timing is everything

You can work on the Great Lakes, Inland, tugs, and fishing vessels without those courses.That’s where most of the jobs are anyway.

The for-profit schools are in control of STCW training in the US, for now. Instead of fulfilling their taxpayer funded public education mandate, the state academies are using STCW as a for-profit opportunity to screw hawespipers.

$3000 is actually a reasonable cost for a one month (20 classroom days) course. $1800 for a 4 or 5 day course is a real ripoff.

The main problem is that day rates are not high enough to justify the short term investment in all these courses. Hopefully, these STCW requirements will eventually cause a scarcity of licenses and raise day rates.

Eventually, there will be more approved schools, and student loans available to finance the courses.

MAMA undoubtedly has things set up so that VA benefits will pay for their courses.

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If it was me I would be getting the STCW-95 electrical ticket, thats the future.
Came out in 2010, cant be that many out there?

80 days classroom time & paying $13,700 compared to 36 months in class, 3 summer cruises with a $140,000 tution at a 4 year maritime academy? The hawespiper path doesn’t include the uniform inspections, standing in formation, living in dorms, daily shaves or hazing either. It sounds to me that we hawespipers have it pretty easy?

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It’s in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017, it has not passed yet. It’s in both the House and Senate versions, so it would seem likely to survive the reconciliation process.


I can’t help you there at least you didn’t end up at SUNY, I spent 8 yrs in the army and had a family after it wasn’t until later that I got into the field and realized how awesome it was. I’m going to check that gibill side see what I can do with that and let everyone know if that works out. I know in the past technical schools weren’t qualifiers for benefits only traditional universities.

Hopefully that will happen before the end of the year. Due for radar renewal in December.

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13 grand PFFT! If you want sticker shock go look at all the requirements to go from ab to mate to master these days.

Im in like $40 grand for my 1600 Master Oceans and DP certs.And that’s not having taken any of the STCW stuff like stability and ship handling. This includes hotels but not missed work.

That’s just there to keep deckies from breeding like rabbits. We have enough people to drink coffee and watch fox news lmao. :wink: