Death of Hawespipers

It is funny while looking for loans all of the maritime schools that offer in house financial aid only do so to the Deck side specifically master courses hmmmmmmmmm

Yeah that sux but that’s less than 1 month’s pay as a 3AE… Worthy investment

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I totally agree, its more of the 120-160hr per class that is getting me right now but I’ve come to accept the paying for them. Now it’s trying to get them fit into my schedule is the hard part.

80 days of hotels = $8,000. Meals $4,000. Travel expenses $4,000. Incidentals $2,000. Courses $14,000

TOTAL COST $30,000+

That’s one side of the equation (cost), what about the other side (reward)?

I really have no idea of his age or his salary as an ETO but let’s assume he’s 30 and made 80k/yr as an ETO:

5 years of 3AE wages (assume 100k/yr)=$100k additional earned.

10 years of 2AE wages (assume 125k/yr)=$450k additional earned.

5 years of 1AE wages (assume 150k/yr)=$350k additional earned.

Result: retire at 50 having earned $900k more than if you’d stayed as an ETO the whole time.

If you don’t like my numbers, substitute your own and do the math. If he’s reasonably young the return over the course of his career will repay that $30k investment in himself many times over.


It’s actually more like $132k / yr but yea I do see the benefits, even if there wasn’t it’s what I want to do. Like I said it was a shock at first and the only hangup at the moment is the time. Currently working 28/14 and yea if it was once or twice I could swing the time off but 5 20 day classes is crazy. And as we all know it never falls perfectly on the end of a hitch so you always have to add a week so a 4 week class say you have to count 5-6 weeks. Already talking with MAMA and the unions to see if there are any of then offering the classes if so just go Union. I have a goal and I’m going to get there no matter what it takes. I just have to get creative now is all.


No shit? That’s a good deal man… But if you’re working 28/14 to get it then yeah I don’t blame you for looking… Regardless, if your heart is set on what you want to do, then make it happen.

I agree that the STCW courses and upgrading are a very good investment for a guy under 40. And still worthwhile for a guy at 50.

The problem is that most of the guys who are working regularly are working a lot. It’s difficult to give up say 40 days of time off in a year for training. Most guys, or their families, are living on every penny he makes and want more, so it’s also difficult to divert $15,000 a year from family expenses to courses.

It’s a good investment, but my guess is that most hawespipers will be unwilling, if not unable, to make that investment.

As the academies continue to crank out too many new officers wilth college degrees each year. More and more employers tend to prefer these fine young men with college degrees over hawespipers.

There are going to be fewer and fewer hawespipers.

That’s for sure… But it’s all about priorities. I took a pay cut to go from 28/14 to 28/28 to get my classes for 3AE. Then I took a pay cut to go from chief engineer (mudboat) to 3AE Union. 7 years later I’m sailing 1AE and can say it’s all been worth it.

Just depends on your current comfort level and how bad you want to make a change


You’re 100% right. I’m in the process of taking a $30K paycut over a 6 month period to sail on my 1AE to be able to upgrade to CE unlimited. $30K is a lot of money for us but like all the sacrifices in life I know it will be worth it. It might be more complicated but there will always be hawespipers going from QMED/AB to 3AE/3M as long as the path is less expensive & less hassle than going to a 4 year academy.

I went over your math & it comes to $100 a night hotel, $50 a day for food, $50 a day for travel & $25 a day for incidentals. WOW! You must have high standards for lodging, restaurants & like to spend a lot of money on travel & incidentals?

When I was younger & didn’t travel with my family I would stay at the cheapest hotels possible ($30- $50 a night), would eat off the dollar menu or buy water, fruit, bread & sandwich meats at the grocery store and maybe an incidental bag of M&M’s from a vending machine. I have known guys to sleep in their cars, in tents at the nearest KOA or on friends sofas while going to school. I hope the OP doesn’t think he needs to spend $16,300 in 80 days to go to school.

Be serious.

How is someone going to sleep in their car, do all the required reading and homework, be well rested for class, and excel in the course? What is that guy going to look and smell like — a Homeless person?

A 20 day course given 5 days per week takes at least 28 days with weekends, more with holidays. 80 days of class will use up 120 days away from home.

Not many working mariners can afford to go for four months straight at one school. If they did, they could rent an apartment for four months and save money, but short term furnished apartments aren’t cheap in most cities.

Most mariners are going to spend 30 days at a 20 day course four times. That’s flying in and home again four times. Sometimes flying is cheap, but it can be very expensive. 30 days is probably too short to rent a good discount apartment. Most mariners are going to end up staying in a hotel.

Some of the schools have discount deals with weekly rates with nearby hotels. Most mariners are going to end up staying in those hotels. The cost depends on what city, time of year, what conventions are in town, and the safety of the neighborhood. The typical cost is a little under $100 per night.

Some schools arrange for the hotel shuttles to take you to school, some don’t. Most decent hotels have acceptable food on the property. Taxi, Uber and car rentals can add up. Another reason to stay at the hotel.

Most guys are going to eat out, go to bars, chase girls, and spend a little money seeing the sights on the weekend.

MAMA? Norfolk is not a cheap place to fly into. MAMA has hotel deals with shuttles. Be warned. The rush hour traffic is terrible in Norfolk. If you stay at a cheaper $80 a night hotel across town, you will waste a lot of time stuck in traffic and waiting for shuttles. It’s well worth it to pay $125 for a hotel very close to MAMA. Norfolk is a rough crime infested place, but its much better near MAMA.

If MPT has the courses you need, it’s cheaper and nicer. MAMA and MPT both provide similar quality courses. Fort Lauderdale has good flight deals. MPT has good hotel deals with shuttles, and cheaper “crew houses” which might be ok for a young guy that does not mind communal living and noise. No traffic problems. Safe to walk. Food is better and cheaper.

If you are a veteran, you may prefer MAMA.

MPT does not have the STCW courses for OICEW. I am pretty sure they just have the gap closing ones. I looked at MEBA, even emailed them and they don’t have them offered there either. MAMA is the only game in town for the full set of classes. If someone knows of any other places offering these courses feel free to share.

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This is a perfect example of why you need to try to get as much documentation and class time in as possible as soon as it becomes known that’ll be mandatory in the future.

When we go to upgrade we know in advance, for the most part, what we’re going to need to get that upgrade.

If you are an AB and you want to upgrade to Mate find out what classes Mates need and start taking these classes a year before you try to upgrade.

If you are in the engine room and you know that for your 1AE your will need to test on electrical systems or take Meece then study electrical and schedule Meece.

I am not knocking anyone, I myself am a Hawespiper, I started off as a deck hand on a crew boat before I was even an OS/wiper with a z-card and now have an unlimited Master. And no it was not easy but it shouldn’t be. We have a massive amount of responsibility out here and licenses should be earned not given.

Whether you spend four years in an academy to get your third or you upgrade through a couple of decades, it is tough, but it is doable. Don’t give up on yourself press on and persevere. How does the old saying go? The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

Had your application been received by the REC by Dec 31, 2016, you would not have been required to take all these classes (with no assessments, provided you began training/service before March 24, 2014).

MAMA business model revolves around GI Bill money, but it is a good facility with good staff to check off all the required STCW boxes. The class fees are reasonable considering they are the only game in town for the OICEW.

The key to success is minimizes housing/food costs. If you or a friend have an RV, that can reduce costs greatly. Or drive a car and find an Airbnb, or hit Craigslist to find somebody renting a room out. A place with a small kitchen will save you $$$. MAMA has a small break area with microwave and refrigerators.

The long hours required for the classes are mandated by the omniscient masters at our wonderful globalist agency the IMO, and supported by the USCG. The fact that there is no alternative to hours of ass-in-seat death-by-powerpoint, merely reflects on the over-credentialization of our society.

I still make the claim that it takes more $$, more time in service (seatime), and more classroom time to get a 3rd mate or 3rd AE with STCW than it takes to LEGALLY be able to captain a 747 jet.

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VA post 9/11 GI bill will pay for Maurine classes if you find a school that is VA certified. They also pay BAH at the E-5 rate for the school you are attending. Also they give you $41 per class for supplies up to $1000 per year. Just make sure you check the school and the course. Some schools accept GI bill but not every course is validated. For instance I am taking all my 3rd mates classes and GMDSS is not VA certified at the school I am attending but the rest of them are.

As time goes on, there will be a number of schools to choose from that offer approved courses for any endorsement that you are preparing for. The other large schools are not going to let MAMA have a monopoly. I’ll be surprised if MPT, STAR Center, TRI, Crawford, and others are not offering these courses in the near future. Eventually, the Louisiana community colleges will offer these courses at a more reasonable fee.

I did this before all the shortcuts and had to take all the classes. I did the what is the cheapest route and obsessed over paying for hotels or getting a camper the whole bit. What I found is it was cheaper and more productive just to stay at a hotel recommended by the school I was using.

When I first started my journey I was still working I made a spread sheet of all the schools and corses schedules and tried to fit the classes into my schedule I quickly realized flying to the individual classes was quickly becoming cots prohibitive also I found most schools run the courses concurrently which made jumping around almost impossible.

In the end I used PMI and was quite happy with the courses offered they did a good job of presenting the material and seemed to care about their students. Hopefully they will add engineering to the curriculum soon.

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Unless you are like me and blow it all on a electrical eng / computer sci degree that in school was awesome but in the real world sucked ass lol.

Seattle has become quite expensive. Where did you stay?