Goldilocks Job

I’m burned out on deep sea sailing and sort of at a career impasse. I’d be grateful for some assistance in brainstorming.

Is there a job that involves:

  • inland/near-coastal work
  • unlimited license advancement
  • plenty of ship-handling
  • short(ish) even-time hitches or day work
  • doesn’t involve moving dangerous liquid cargo
  • isn’t soul-suckingly boring

If this sounds like your job, where are you? Any tips?

Thanks as always.

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You sir, wish to be a state licensed harbor pilot! :wink:


Dredging is the only thing I can think of that checks all those boxes, or even a few OSVs.

Don’t expect to just look out the window as you do deep sea, you actually have to work at 99% of other places you’ll go. Even as a mate… ABs won’t just be your minions doing the hard labor anymore. Most won’t be able to make the switch seeing as you’ll make the same or less money, while having to physically work a lot more.

Try accounting.


Great Lakes…and you can get your mail passing Detroit.


Alaska Marine Highway ferries.

To a lessor extent Washington from ferries.

Harbor tugs.

Some research vessels.

Some yachts.

Everything gets boring after awhile.


I know! but I made the mistake of being born with the wrong last name. :face_with_spiral_eyes:

Switch to hopper dredges. That will keep you entertained for a few more years, with decent pay and lots of shiphandling, even time schedules.

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What’s the typical GRT / GT tonnage of a hopper dredge

This isn’t the case in a lot of places.

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6-10,000 GT in the US.

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Unfortunately, talking to some accountants looking to join the maritime industry, their feild is going to be automated long before ours.


A hopper dredge will check your boxes, more ship handling than most deep sea guys will ever see. Short rotations, 3-4weeks, always coastwise.

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US army corps of engineers. All what u looking for except unlimited (or any) license advancement.
p.s. not very entertaining too.

Jnx, I’ve been a dredgeboater since 1995, and can attest that the transition from deep sea Mate to dredge Mate is extremely difficult. I’ve only seen a couple guys in all those years that successfully made the transition. Tug & supply boat guys do OK, but the first time your 3 abreast in the Houston Ship Channel the deep sea guys have a melt down.

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Wheeler, McFarland, Essayons and Yaquina will all advance your unlimited oceans license.

Now, the limited tonnage hopper dredges out of Wilmington district, I wouldn’t recommend those for license advancement.

And of course, all the commercial fleet unlimited tonnage hopper dredges will advance your unlimited oceans license. Obviously, you should only take these jobs if you like getting close to stuff,(ships, buoys, jetties, piers, etc) and working in heavy traffic, and think you can learn to handle your own watch doing that stuff at 0200 on a dark night by yourself.

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Sounds like the dredging business is the way to go. I did some poking around for the last hour and put this list of large TSHD together:

Am I missing anything obvious?

Company Dredge Tonnage Year built
Callan Marine Admiral Nimitz - 2023
Cashman Atchafalaya 850 1980
Dutra Stuyvesant 8432 1982
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Amelia Island - 2024
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Galveston Island 5649 2023
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Ellis Island unkwn 2017
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Liberty Island 5201 2002
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Terrapin Island 5922 1981
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Padre Island 2820 1981
Manson Frederick Paup 10000 2022
Manson Glenn Edwards 9641 2006
Manson Bayport 3541 1996
Manson Newport 2519 1982
USACE Essayons 7248 1983
USACE Wheeler 10614 1982
USACE Yaquina 1960 1981
USACE McFarland 6036 1967
Weeks Marine (Kiewit) R.B. Weeks 7209 2023
Weeks Marine (Kiewit) Magdalen 7581 2017
Weeks Marine (Kiewit) RN Weeks 3104 1987
Weeks Marine (Kiewit) B.E. Lindholm 3498 1985
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Terrapin, RN, and Lindholm are all laid up

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The Callan hopper dredge was never built and the new Manson vessel is still under construction.

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Stay away from Cashman.

What happened to the Callan dredge? Anybody got any details?