Delaware Captain looking to Relocate South-- Career Advice wanted

My name is Braydan Graham and I am a 23 y/o recent college graduate (environmental-marine science) with a Merchant Mariner Credential (25GRT upon Inland Waters, OS, Wiper, FH). I have spent my previous 5 summers (Memorial Day-Labor Day) working on Delaware’s inland bays to gain sea time at a boat rental/watersports company until I obtained my MMC roughly a year ago. I also have my TWIC and am currently working on my FCC MROP. I have worked as a captain on sunset cruises, tubing rides, sandbar charters, fishing trips, etc. I have some experience offshore but not enough sea time for Near Coastal.

Post summer 2023 I have a desire to relocate to somewhere in Palm Beach County, FL. I have a friend who works on yachts in Ft. Lauderdale and a few other friends in Boca Raton working in a few marinas.

I am asking for advice on how to find a solid job down anywhere from Jupiter to Ft. Lauderdale. I understand only having an Inland license is limiting but I’m open to working on other vessels to gain more sea time, whether that means yachts or vessels up to 50’ like I do in Delaware.

Are there jobs on the ICW? Parasailing, watersports, charter boats? Should I pay to do STCW training to become more qualified? What’s the best way to approach companies about potential employment in September? I am good friends with a few Key West parasail captains also and want to reach out to them to see if they have connections in Palm Beach County. If anyone could help point me in the right direction that would be great.

Thank you all in advance and I’m happy to be a part of the forum.

What’s a Master Capt?


Why haven’t you been working on tugs on the Delaware River , what are you tubing around the canels in lewes , de. Master capt must be his license plate

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There are water taxis in Ft Lauderdale and harbor tour boats in Miami. I’m not sure what their tonnage is but they might hire you as a deckhand until you can upgrade.

There isn’t much out there in the 25 ton range other than the smallest parasail boats, etc.

Don’t expect to find a captain’s job down there with a 25 ton inland license.

He wants that “clean” work, haha. A tugboat would ruin him forever if he wants yachtie work.

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We went through this before on here many years ago. Calling yourself a Master Captain sounds goofy as hell but a bunch of guys jumped on here and defended it and said it was a real title so :man_shrugging:t2:. Doubtless they will show up again here shortly to tell us about it.

Master Captain.

It’s Master AND Commander.

Everyone knows that… :wink:

I commend you on using your mariner’s skills during college and undertaking various local maritime jobs. However, you are now experiencing the issue of route (Inland) and tonnage (25 ton) limitations which are restrictive on your employment capabilities in other locations.

The issue you are presenting is one of Maritime Career Management. At this point, your post
seems to be focused on finding a job and some time in the future developing a career.

While there is not enough information in your post to provide a strong career path and/or plan outside of your small passenger vessel experience cluster but your post does open the possibility of using your degree as a deck officer with the NOAA Marine Officer Corps.

My recommendation is that you focus on the immediate limitations of your license by review your documented sea time on vessels 0-25 tons and routes. Then research the CFRs to identify specific options and application that may allow a modification.

• IAW Lower Level Tonnage Increases checklist and as outlined in 46 CFR 11.422,
“Do you have the sea time to increase your inland tonnage limitation to 50 tons?”
• How much time offshore do you have?
Refer to 200-ton Mate NC checklist and as outlined in 46 CFR 11.427(a)(2) requirements. “Do you meet the sea time requirements for 200-ton Mate Near Coastal.

Preparing an USCG application for Increase-In-Scope (Modification) or Raise of Grade.

• Your application evaluation may subject you to a tonnage limitation, but you may obtain both an Inland Master and Near Coastal Mate route.
• At each step verify the testing requirements along the possible pathways. Use the Deck and Engineering guide ESS (exam structure sheet) pg. 18, and Pg. 17 for 200 ton.
Some increase-in-scope, courses can be taken in lieu of examination and courses are identified in the NMC Course List.

To your benefit, you indicated having a possible network of friends working as mariners in your targeted locations. Keep in mind, some employees are part of a company’s “Talent Referral Network” where they can receive a recruiting bonus for providing qualified mariners for valid openings.

Start here, see if your network has any possible leads to their company openings or other local companies that could use your work experience and expertise. In some cases, to get into a quality company, you may need to enter at a lower position and work towards the license position you are seeking.

Tap into this professional network and have them explain the following:

  1. How are they developing a sustainable career in their industry sector (e.g. private yachts, launches, water taxis, fishing charters, sports diving boats, dinner/sightseeing boats etc.) in the local area?
  2. Where do they obtain information as to an industry cluster? E.g., Dockwalk123.
  3. How do they go about identifying industry leads? E.g. Daywork123.
  4. Determine how do they go about their continuing professional education. Are courses provided by employer or are out of pocket expenses?

After you ask your fellow mariners these questions, research job descriptions from local companies you would consider working for.

  1. Focus on positions requirements and professional gaps that prevent you getting employed (e.g. deckhand) and those need for the next promotional requirements (e.g. Mate).
  2. When looking at a career in the industry, consider looking at company training reimbursements, travel expenditures, room & board cost while training, and the closest area training facilities representing your industry sector selection.
  3. Then Knock on Doors

Hope this helps.

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As Yogi Berra said, “when you get to a fork in the road, take it”.
You can go the yacht way or the merchant mariner way. As you can see from my name here, I have done all my work in the yachting segment.
1st word of advice: Don’t call yourself “captain”. This is not a way to get on with the people you need to impress.
2nd - Tourists and water taxis will only take you so far unless that is your end goal in life. For yachts, try to get on the biggest boats doing the longest trips. You will not be a “captain” yet on these trips.

For the merchant mariner path, others will have more details but it is kind of the same thing, forget about being captain of anything for bit and see what you can find, probably at the deck hand level.

I thought a guy with a 25T inland license introducing himself as a Master Captain was comical but at least he removed the Master part from his post.

Please, for the love of god, stay in Delaware, Florida is becoming way over populated and there is a major water management dilemma due to this. Not to mention it is becoming extremely unaffordable.

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Not to mention the measles :laughing: