Getting started in the industry

Hi everybody. I am looking to get some information and opinions on what it takes and the best way to get started in the merchant seaman industry. I am going to be immigrating to The USA from New Zealand. I have worked as a rancher for years, also as a line cook and as a mate on a small charter fishing boat. I am looking for a suitable industry that has stability, longevity and would be cohesive to my personality. I would be based in Boston. Basically I’m interested in how to best prepare myself to get started in the industry when I become a legal resident with a work permit and also just to get a general understanding about what to expect and peoples take on the industry in general. All information, ideas, opinions, testimonials, advice, warnings, anything at all that you feel could be advantageous for me to know as I go forward with this. Cheers.

My first and best advice, having lived in both NZ and the USA is, “[I]Apart from the pure adventure of having done it, do not immigrate to the US from NZ unless you have a serious ‘in demand’ talent, idea or invention[/I]”.

As a society, it is far more civilized in NZ than in the US.

Excepting of course no one makes any serious money in NZ, and real estate is immensely expensive compared to wages, at least anywhere remotely near Auckland.

Merchant marine opportunities are pretty hard to come by in the Northeast US, but there are some ferry, whale watch and day tour boats where you might have a chance. Fishing is about wrapped up now and it is a tight industry to get in as well, compensation on an unpredictable share basis.

PS - You will need to buy your own health insurance in the US - there is no national program providing it for you which is a huge difference - understand that it before moving. The costs for it in the USA can be several hundred dollars a month for young people, to over $1500 a month for older persons. A simple hospital procedure that be total (insured) cost in NZ would be $400, will be over $10,000 here, of which you would owe over $2000 after insurance.

No bull.

I agree with the above. Unless you have credentials or talent that will enable you to make top money with lower taxes in the US, there is not much financial advantage to coming here. You could do much better working for higher wages in Aussie. Get all the NZ seaman’s credentials and experience you can before you come here. You can buy inexpensive “travel insurance” before you leave NZ that will cover you in the US for awhile. There are a lot of Kiwis working on foreign flag yachts. There are very very few jobs for mariners in the Boston area. Massachusetts also has a high state income tax.

Look up uscg.mil/nmc for the requirements for a foreign National getting a mmc and a twic, both of which are needed to get a job on a vessel.

Good luck.

[QUOTE=Kiwi;148253]Hi everybody. I am looking to get some information and opinions on what it takes and the best way to get started in the merchant seaman industry. I am going to be immigrating to The USA from New Zealand. I have worked as a rancher for years, also as a line cook and as a mate on a small charter fishing boat. I am looking for a suitable industry that has stability, longevity and would be cohesive to my personality. I would be based in Boston. Basically I’m interested in how to best prepare myself to get started in the industry when I become a legal resident with a work permit and also just to get a general understanding about what to expect and peoples take on the industry in general. All information, ideas, opinions, testimonials, advice, warnings, anything at all that you feel could be advantageous for me to know as I go forward with this. Cheers.[/QUOTE]

3 things…

  1. Unless you are going to get citizenship, you will never be able to get a license here, clearly limiting your earning potential.

  2. Loved NZ, both islands. Can’t wait to move there for good!

I should explain my situation a little better. I would be moving to The US/Boston to marry a girl. She has a very good career in the medical field and a great job here in Boston. My interest and intention to get involved in the merchant marine industry is more of a by-product from that. Taking into consideration my age, job experience/skill set, education and interests accompanied with the potential to earn a decent wage with room for growth has led me to consider this industry. A lot of positions in the industry require a 2 week on/2 week off or a 30 day on/30 day off schedule, which was also a factor in considering the industry. It gives the freedom to make a home base pretty much anywhere on your down time. Louisiana being a (or “the”) major hub for work?
I appreciate the feedback so far. Considering my updated situation, anymore advice would be great.

Thank you so far for the advice/feedback. I should elaborate more on my situation here. I would be coming to the USA/Boston because of getting married to a girl. Who works in the Medical industry and has a career/really good job here in Boston. I also realize I likely would be working elsewhere (likely Louisiana) with a 2 week on/2 week off or 30 day on/30 day off type of schedule and making Boston my home base. With that in mind any more advice to my previous post would be greatly appreciated.