First off, I want to say that I have enjoyed reading pretty much this entire forum like it was a book prior to joining! Lots of great information and I hope to glean a little bit more.
Second, I hate that my first impression to y’all is one of a guy asking a question that has seamingly been beaten like a dead horse, red headed stepchild, or a SeaShepherd nitwit onboard one of y’alls ships! With that being said, here goes…
A career at sea has been my dream since high school. Specifically my intention was to ship out deep sea onboard containerships or tankers, as I was really interested in their trade routes and, to be honest, enamoured with the shape of those vessels. Anyways, without going on and on about my interests in all things nautical, I found myself with an application to Piney Point and the SIU Unlicensed Apprentice Program. Needless to say, my father, an old Navy guy who was enlisted said no way to shipping out and not being an officer. So I packed my little bag and wound up spending a very strange year at Mass Maritime Academy. Found out that I did in fact LOVE going out to sea and pretty much every aspect of it. I would end up leaving a year later. Multitude of reason, but boiling down to a dislike for the way the Academy operated. Now before all you Academy grads get too upset, I can take the heat, had nothing to do with discipline, it just wasn’t the right place for me at the time. One of those “life takes you in a different direction” deals.
So nowadays I wound up getting a Liberal Arts degree and work a pretty average paying ho-hum government job. I cannot think of any profession or lifestyle that illicits such profound passion in people as those who go to sea. If you are not a seafarer or someone who is drawn to a seafaring lifestyle, you just get blank stares when you talk to them about wanting to go back and work the water. With that being said, I am sure you all understand what I am going through when I tell you I am terribly drawn back into this world right now and I cannot shake it off. It is simply somthing I must pursue again.
Pay is not an issue for me, at least not right now.
I will not be going back to any maritime school.
I want to work O/S and go from there.
That being said, the situation for me in Port Fourchon looks grim as almost all the posters on the board reporting trouble finding work and long lengths of unemployment knocking on the doors down there all have sea time, experience, and advanced licenses or ratings. Can someone explain if this is a good or bad thing for ME, because I see it two ways…
- the market is good for a new O/S because I can be hired at a cheaper day rate
- I’m screwed because even experienced guys are having trouble
Back to Piney Point?
It seems that the deep sea fleet is almost non existant anymore. So is this program a waste of time and energy? Everything has benefits, but really, is it foolish to even consider, outside of MSC, deepsea sailing unlicensed? Also, I have long wondered how the so-called “hiring halls” work. I mean, I know how they work, but how long would an O/S sit around waiting for a job? That is the scary part. I spoke with SUP and they told me up front that sailing as an O/S would be very hard.
Crew management agencies
There are thousands of ships sailing around right now, deep sea, international trade, basically doing all the things alot of US merchant mariners either fondly remember, or wish they could be doing. And they seem to be crewed by ship management agencies. Can someone give me any details on the ups and downs of this? Obviously these seem to be targeted toward East Europe and Philipines, so I am sure the pay is a fraction of what it would be under a US Flag. Seems like it might be a fun adventure for a year or two though, is this a possibility with US mariner documents? Any useful info on this seamingly crazy idea outside of learning to live on rice?! Any reputable ones worth contacting?
Any final comments on actually going to WORK (!!) as an O/S instead of school.