Do maritime academies teach Competency theory


No, Titus, during operation iraqi freedom. And nothing too serious… she’s still not :100: sure if they actaully got shot at or if the Puerto Rican national guard aboard her vessel made the story up to justify firing “warning shots” at nearby vessels.


That would only show that they may have met some unwritten requirement imposed by their ring knocker buds behind a desk somewhere or a company policy that favors academy grads.

The number of grads “working on the water” certainly does not defend the continued funding of KP. The USMM would benefit far more if the cost of that pork barrel were reallocated to training of existing mariners at all levels and sectors.


I’d also like to see how Hawsepipers with college degrees fair against those without.


That would be an interesting study. My gut feeling is the degree (no matter what it is) potentially contributes to a much better outcome.

With regard to the ring knocker phenomenon, it is symptomatic of much of the modern approach to checkbox HR systems where any box unchecked is a negative and many far more valuable positives may not even be acknowledged. It also provides security of choice by reducing the risk of admitting anyone from another tribe into the village.


Could someone help a WAFI out and tell me what ratings a tug requires?


I only know towing of oil and gas so keep that in mind here. You have deckhands, where inland no ab is needed. With the oil trade, next step up is usually Tankerman (alot of towing companies would not even have this position). Companies that haul oil barges use this position as an apprentice to apprentice mate (if you can’t take care of the barge, you’re probably not going to make it in the wheelhouse) Next would be Steersman/ Apprentice Mate to Mate of Towing, and then maxing out at Master of Towing. It took me about 9 years to get to Master of Towing working up from deckhand. I would guess that’s about average. No real need for 500 GRT until you start looking at ATBs.


There are plenty of academy grads (from all schools including KP) working inland, harbor tugs, ATBs, OSVs and anything else that floats.


I’m sure there are. My point is I don’t think any of the schooling or testing they have done will prepare them to run an inland tug. It’s all blue water. I almost laughed when USCG question said shallow water was defined as less than twice a vessels draft. The intracoastal is defined as basically 10 ft deep. Once again, not knocking blue water or higher level licenses. I just think all the testing is done for them which is unfair (especially if the jobs are elsewhere) and I really don’t think much of what we are teaching or testing is helpful, at all, to mariners especially Mariners working on inland tugs.


On a good day.

I’ve met several grads who went straight to inland boats after graduation. It would be interesting to know how common it is or how much their education helped.


I’m speaking for just my company and its ship assist but,

Captains and Mates need 1600Tons
Deckhands/GUDE’s need OS/Wiper or AB or Oiler

Engineers you had a mix of 3rd Assistant or DDE/DDA and Unlicensed Engineers who completed a sign off book for a class of boat (something oddly enough the fresh academy guys don’t have to do)

But now I think starting in August you have to have at least a DDE.


Ship assist 1600 tons Jesus Christ what are you docking? I’m guessing you work Chouest on new Alaska Job and they “prefer” 1600, no harbor tugs in the river require 1600 Ton license


Nothing wrong with going commando


I’m not sure how a few years spent on deck chipping and painting teaches anyone fuck-all about navigation, collision avoidance, or the piles of regulations and paperwork we deal with. Even the small percentage of ABs that occasionally stand a lookout watch (and the smaller percentage that regularly do) don’t necessarily learn much and the mates job.

Additionally, in general it’s easier to take someone book smart and teach them the grunt work than to take a grunt and teach them the book work.


Book learning is very valuable, but not as valuable as the intellect and basic education that enables one to successfully complete the book learning.

Experience on the water is extremely valuable. But not all on the water experiences are created equal.

A lot of what ABs do, sweeping, moping, cleaning, carrying stuff around, chipping, painting, etc. does not really have much value in terms of seamanship skills.

Seatime as a deckhand is really overrated as preparation to be a watch officer.

I frequently have to show AB Unlimited’s how to tie basic knots and splice lines. I have to tell ABs which knots are best to use for routine tasks.

Many commercial fishermen splice wire. I’ve never met an AB who can splice wire.

The present generation of ABs often lack basic seamanship skills.


I value “book learning” because it tends to weed out most of the people without those qualities.


If that’s the new normal, the level of AB skills has taken a major nosedive in the last 25 years.


My advice would be do not tell anyone you from the hawsepipe, instead say that you used the non-academy route. Very strong bias against hawsepipers among some deep-sea officers and HR.

On the other hand working on the tugs, it’s better to keep your mouth shut and just be one of the boys.


An AB wishing to become a deck officer in our system continues to work as a AB while he studies by correspondence. Once he has completed the course satisfactory this brings him up to a level where his knowledge is sufficient to enter the marine school as a student.
As to be expected there is a lot of work in some cases to bring an AB up to speed with maths and physics and just plain English. If he shows perseverance and hard work he can normally find help from the officers onboard.


No secret that I made the move from deep sea to string boats back in the early 80s. . . initially as a temporary employment measure, or so I thought at the time. Now, even though I am what some folks would call a “Ring Knocker” (and have been called that more than once - in spite of not being able to locate my ring for several decades. . . ). Granted that I am also coming at this as an engineer, however working on the hawser is generally a tighter knit group than larger vessels. It took me half a trip from Louisiana to San Juan to realize two things. First, there is quite a bit more involved even though there is a smaller vessel (and much more commensurately smaller engine department); and second, that it really suited my personality. Keeping my mouth shut? Well, that has always been a problem for me. Being one of the boys? Hehehehe, no problem at all. Most of the crews that I sailed with were a mix of hawsepipers and Academy grads. Yeah, not a lot of fellow alumni. Now that ATBs are becoming the rage, I can see more folks with book learnin’ joining vessels. It is inevitable, considering the amount students in license programs around the country.


We are all aware of the plight of our shrinking military support Jones Act ships & lack of active support for that US maritime sector by Congress. And all the hawspipers in all other sectors of the US maritime industry knows about the biases against them in the deep sea, blue water ships. I think too many non-bluebwater hawspipers couldn’t care less about the shrinking Jones Act ships because they know they will never work on them & wouldn’t be welcomed by many if they did. The Academy guys who discriminate against the the hawspipers are shooting themselves in the foot by banging a wedge against their fellow US mariners. US blue water guys need all the support possible, not more enemies.

Concerning being taught good leadership & problem solving skills in school. All students get the same education, take the same classes & get the same licenses. I’ve been WOW’ed by how together some guys have it after graduating. I’ve also been WOW’ed by others being able to pass the USCG tests & pass a job interview after graduating. Some people have it, others never will, the schools are just following proven curriculums. The professors can’t save them all.