Getting started in offshore...and DP

So I’ve been sailing for about ten years - all for the same (government) agency. A couple of years ago I got my stuff together and received my Third Mates license, Unlimited. I felt I had an obligation to the company and I stuck around, although not as a mate, as a supervisor for the deck force. I did fill in occasionally, and stood some watches, but mostly deck stuff. I hung around because the agency has been very good to me, not necessarily with pay, but with training and other benefits. However, as a third mate, they really cannot compete. I want to get offshore. I’ve a couple friends at seadrill working as DPOs and met a good number more rig guys when I did my ECDIS course. I’ve made a few inquiries, but it really doesn’t look like anyone is willing to touch me until after I have DP. I’ve been told rigs will occasionally hire a trainee, but they’re often academy guys. My question is this. Do I have any chance landing a DPO trainee position on a rig? If so, how, where, etc… I’ve heard about getting hired on as a mate on an OSV and then moving on once you get DP, although it seems a bit disingenuous to me - although I’m not pulling any sort of moral objection to those that have. In fact, I don’t have any objections to it if thats the way its gotta go. It just seems like there may be companies out there that are willing to home-grow a mate into a DP position. If that’s not the case. Is an OSV the only way to get the aforementioned training? Who’s hiring in that case? I think I make a decent candidate. I don’t jump from ship to ship or company to company. I’m a proven commodity, unlike an academy grad. I’ve got an established track record with experience and references to back me up. Any suggestions on how I can get into this field?

Any help is much appreciated,


I just saw a posting on rigzone for a dp trainee at a drilling company maybe a week or two ago.

Don’t think twice about hiring on with a company and bailing after a year or two. They all talk about being one big happy family, but when times are tough they will drop you if it would help the bottom line.

The only guys who sick with the same company year after year when there are better opportunities out there for them are suckers.

Hey that’s already a lot of great info. Thanks. Is rigzone a popular resource? Any other forums/headhunter/job posting site suggestions?

Over the next two years, there will be something like 74 drillships delivered. There will be a big push for licensed officers, since now that will be the norm on all DP rigs. If I were you, you should try Noble Drilling first, they are not high paying, but from what I see alot of people are getting on with them, then doing a year or two, then going to a better company. Here are a list of most of the others with DP rigs that are building and will be hiring: Pacific, Seadrill, Atwoods, Vantage, Transocean, Ensco, Songa, Maersk Drilling, Dolphin Drilling, Sevan, Etesco, Odebrecht, Grupo R, COSL, Rowan, Sete Brasil, Island Offshore, Odjfell Drilling.

Rigzone is good for the people with experience, its hard to get noticed on there with out it. Some headhunters that are also good (but as well for experience too) are PG Global, GJN Consulting and Swift.


Thanks for the heads up on the rigs that are building and hiring. Some of those are foreign operations right? Do they hire US help? Is there separate certification required?


Yes, most drilling companies are foreign entities anyway. All rigs are foreign flagged. With experience you can get jobs with these companies. I have had numerous offers with Odebrecht (Brazillian), Dolphin Drilling (UK), Sevan (Norwegien), and so on. I have a decent amount of time within the oil and gas industry, but with a couple years at a Transocean, Noble, or Ensco, you can get your big payday with another contractor. I started out at Transocean, then went to Seadrill, then a company called OCS, now I am at Pacific. They are inclined to hire US citizens, for a couple of reasons, especially if they have any rigs possibly going to the GOM, also we have less trouble in some areas getting Visas than some other countries (West Africa). As long as you have your required documentaion, no extras are needed, all of the flag state licenses will be applied for once you are hired on. Just get your foot in the door and the sky is the limit. Not enough qualified people to crew what is currently out here and definitely what is being built.