Getting a foot in the door


#1

Hello all, I am looking for some guidance and this forum seems to be filled with a lot of experience and knowledge. I am making a transition into being a mariner and have some questions as to where to go to find a first ship. I have an MMC with OS/Wiper, TWIC and STCW95 basic safety training. I am now looking for a billet and am at a loss as to where to start. I don’t really care what I do initally as my goal is to build sea time so I can begin to advance. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have been in the transportation industry as a logistic manager for a land based commercial carrier for the better part of 15 years and don’t know if any of those skill sets would transfer. Thanks in advance for any feedback.


#2

There are a few sites online that you can go to…
Work up a resume and try: OILCAREERS.COM, MONSTER.COM, MARITIMEEMPLOYMENT.COM, JOBSONLINE.COM, INDEED.COM, RIGZONE.COM…with the maritime industry job market as it is right now entry level positions are hard to come by but you could get lucky. Mostly crewboat companies will be your best option in gaining an entry level position. If you are able to travel and physically start knocking on doors, your best bet is to go to Lafayette, Morgan City, Houma, Galiano, Cut Off, Golden Meadow in Louisiana and start filling out applications…Good luck…


#3

Steve, Thanks for the feedback. I was looking at the gulf area and will pursue that avenue and those sites. It sounds bad but it looks like in my case it may end up a matter of “throw as much against the wall as possible and hope that something sticks”. Any thoughts on the headhunters that adverstise on the web? Thanks again.


#4

Hmm…In a past life, I think I was one of those too…Except I was the land based commercial carrier,or rather the owner of said carrier…:slight_smile:

You will find that your logistic back ground,attention to detail and organizational skills will come to the surface once aboard…Some will see this immediately and it will be met with mixed reactions…It will depend on the boat/ship and the crew aboard…

I have one skipper that is a disorganized mess…He likes me to help him often and is helping me advance to a mate position because of it…The other skipper is very organized and doesn’t know why I am taking more responsibility since I’m not being paid more for doing it…

You will also find that a good mate who recognizes your ability to think things through will micro manage you less…You will be one less thing that he/she has to deal with…

As far as where to start, the advice given above is right on but be prepared to knock on doors…As an OS it won’t be easy but not impossible either…I found several companies in the GOM that were willing to put me on as an OS…There are a lot of people switching to different fields right now and I got the impression that these companies are open to the different backgrounds that new applicants are bringing with them…Good luck!


#5

All good advice above.

I think your two best bets are the apprentice program at Piney Point- see seafarers.org- and small ship cruise lines- Cruisewest specifically.

Also- check craigslist in port cities- and consider starting as a processor, waiter, dishwaher- or whatever- to get a foot in the door.

Good luck:)


#6

Head hunters are certainly an option but you are paying and sometimes dearly for a job. I have used them myself in the past mostly for trip jobs and deliveries in which I paid them 10% of my wage. I think that on a permanent job acquisition format that they charge you your first 14 days pay. On that basis the paychecks go to them and they take their cut and send you a check. This goes on till the total of 14 days is paid off by you and then the paychecks go directly to you from the company you are working for. Most people consider head hunters to be blood suckers but you do sign a [B]binding contract[/B] and I have never heard of one not sticking to the contract. Of course you would need to [B]read the contract[/B] and specifically look for [B]loopholes, double talk, and gobbledegoop [/B].
[B]If in doubt, don’t sign.[/B] The positive side is that a head hunter may be able to get you a job faster than you can get one for yourself. It could be the start you need depending on your desperation to go to work. Again, it is [B]better[/B] to go the routes described by others replying to this thread but [B]only you[/B] know what your situation truly is…


#7

I started out about a year ago with the same credentials that you have. I spent several months using the internet, phone, fax etc. sending application after application. My main focus was going to work, but I looked to the work boats in the gulf as my best opportunity. I didn’t hit paydirt until I followed a hurricane down to the gulf and the operations manager just had to have someone that day. The only reason I went to work is that I already had my BST and I was standing in his office when he needed someone. Best thing I think you can do if you want to advance quickly is to get on a boat over 200 gross registered tons and start working toward your AB ticket. If you just need a job… get on a crewboat, if you want a career that has the most opportunity for advancement… get on something over 100 tons.

You can read my recent post “You dont’ need to know all that!” to see some of the things that I ran into along the way. As far as all the experience you have with logistics etc… my advice is to keep it to yourself. Keep your mouth shut and ears open. Show up for watch 15 minutes early and work 5 minutes over. Don’t get caught up trying to fix things onboard. I came out of almost 16 years in the construction field. Purchasing, estimating, scheduling, contract negotiations, etc. I see things everyday that could be better but from my limited experience they don’t like changes so I quit asking. Keep a positive attitude and ask the mate what he wants done then go get it done. If you get lucky and find a good boat you will get a chance to use your brain and be part of a team otherwise, just do what they ask and study every chance you get while you are off watch.

I really, really like my job. I do my best to learn something every day and it’s a struggle to get started at first but hang in there and you will prevail. I just recently upgraded to AB and I am working on my 3rd mate and not because of my background per se, but mainly because I was in the right place at the right time with the right credentials. The operations managers just want someone to fill the position and the only time they hear from me is when I fax them my upgraded credentials. The one thing that I brought with me that has done more for my career than anything is the fact that I can cook. Make sure you mention that when you interview.

All of my experience has been in the oil patch in the GOM. If you can go down there and knock on doors you will have a better chance of going to work. I think it’s fairly easy to drop in and be able to meet with someone. If you go down make sure you have your bags packed and you are ready to go to work for 28 days. It’s not a long hiring process, fill out an application, they copy your credentials, spend 5 minutes with the small talk and if they need you then you go down and get a physical and drug test and they tell you when/where to be for crew change, possibly that same day, if they don’t need you right then at least you will have a name with a face and they will know that you are serious and ready to work.

Best of luck to you. Keep posting/reading on this site as there are years and years of knowledge available from all aspects.


#8

OS is a tough sell right now. nobody wants to train anybody. with so many people being out of work there just arent that many opening. lots of ab’s are sailing os just to be working. and of course, you have mates sailing as ab’s, masters sailing as mates etc just to be earning a paycheck. there just isnt a lot of room for brandy new rookies like us.

the only reason i have the job i have now is becasue on top of beign an os will all my credentials in hand, im also a medic. my company was looking to replace an ab/medic(who was sailing os just to be making a paycheck btw) that got hurt on a boat that is contractually required to have a medic. if id been just another os id probably still be looking.

headhunters can be good or bad. ive worked with kelly sweeney and i cant say enough good things about him. he takes 10% of your first contract, whatever that may be. if he gets your hired with a company that works 2 on 2 off, he gets 10% of for first hitch(2 weeks). if he gets you on with a company that does 90/30, he gets 10% of 90 days. he will never stop looking for a job for you. it may take time for a job that you’re qualified for to come along, but if its out there he’ll get it for you. took him 7 months to place me and again the only reason i got my gig is my medical credentials. who know if he would have placed me in soemthing else by now or not.

get all your paperwork together(although ti sounds like you already have) and get out there. all you need is 180 8 hr days, any route, vessel over 15 tons to get an ab/osv.


#9

I’m going to add a few things to this very well written post, whose identity remains anonymous…

The only reason I went to work is that I already had my BST and I was standing in his office when he needed someone.

You would be surprised how many people have gotten the job by being in the right place at the right time… He is right, having your entry level credentials in hand is a big plus…

As far as all the experience you have with logistics etc… my advice is to keep it to yourself. Keep your mouth shut and ears open. Show up for watch 15 minutes early and work 5 minutes over. Don’t get caught up trying to fix things onboard.

There is a quote that I have borrowed from Anchorman…I wrote it on a card and taped it to the inside of my closet on the boat…

" BE THE HARDEST WORKING GUY ON THE BOAT"

I look at it every morning and try to keep it mind throughout the day…Even when I really don’t feel like it…

Once again, this nailed it…These boats have things a certain way and for what ever reason, there is a tradition or history of a boat that dictates how things are arranged or organized…Trying to change things or improving on existing arrangements will be thwarted on general principal in most cases…Tread lightly and let everyone get a feel for who you are and what you are about…Your background will be known soon enough,let it come out slowly…

I see things everyday that could be better but from my limited experience they don’t like changes so I quit asking. Keep a positive attitude and ask the mate what he wants done then go get it done. If you get lucky and find a good boat you will get a chance to use your brain and be part of a team otherwise, just do what they ask and study every chance you get while you are off watch.

The one thing that I brought with me that has done more for my career than anything is the fact that I can cook. Make sure you mention that when you interview.

Don’t underestimate the paragraph above…One of my Capts first question of new guys …" Can you cook" ?

If you can’t they won’t fire you but they won’t like you any better either…:smiley:


#10

OS!, Great to see your handle pop up! How’s the fishing been?
MTSKIER


#11

[quote=KEVD18;17700]OS is a tough sell right now. nobody wants to train anybody. with so many people being out of work there just arent that many opening. lots of ab’s are sailing os just to be working. and of course, you have mates sailing as ab’s, masters sailing as mates etc just to be earning a paycheck. there just isnt a lot of room for brandy new rookies like us.

the only reason i have the job i have now is becasue on top of beign an os will all my credentials in hand, im also a medic. my company was looking to replace an ab/medic(who was sailing os just to be making a paycheck btw) that got hurt on a boat that is contractually required to have a medic. if id been just another os id probably still be looking.

headhunters can be good or bad. ive worked with kelly sweeney and i cant say enough good things about him. he takes 10% of your first contract, whatever that may be. if he gets your hired with a company that works 2 on 2 off, he gets 10% of for first hitch(2 weeks). if he gets you on with a company that does 90/30, he gets 10% of 90 days. he will never stop looking for a job for you. it may take time for a job that you’re qualified for to come along, but if its out there he’ll get it for you. took him 7 months to place me and again the only reason i got my gig is my medical credentials. who know if he would have placed me in soemthing else by now or not.

get all your paperwork together(although ti sounds like you already have) and get out there. all you need is 180 8 hr days, any route, vessel over 15 tons to get an ab/osv.[/quote]

In regards to your medic qualification, are you an EMT-Basic? A Paramedic?


#12

https://www2.ultirecruit.com/TEC1001/JobBoard/JobDetails.aspx?__ID=*3203951B4D292F73

[B]I think they do 30/30 rotation, so you can school in between if you need to start now. [/B]


#13

Howdy Dave! I’m working in port until late October.

You in Seattle? Working?

I have some stuff for you if you are in the area…

Thanks again for the help :slight_smile:


#14

I just picked up my boat in Fuchon. On the way in, there were several billboards for companies saying they were hiring all positions. They might have been there for years but they didn’t look like it. There sure were a lot of boats tied up there. While I thought the boat traffic in and out of there looked like a LA freeway, my Skipper said it was light.