Let me begin by saying I know that there have been numerous hawsepipe vs. Academy threads on here. I have read through many of them, but most of these threads didn’t apply exactly to my situation. Although I have applied and am waiting on academy responses ( I applied a bit late, if not this fall then I’ll transfer Spring 2014), I have begun to give strong consideration to the Hawsepipe.These past few weeks, I have really reviewed what both paths offer and the pros and cons associated.
Maritime Academy- [B]Pros: 3rd Mate Unlimited or Engineers License (if something happens, I can work ashore), potential career in blue water, cadet uniform, extracurriculars, fun,[/B] women. [B]Cons: 9, 10, even 11 months out of a year either in school or on a ship. ~100k of debt. It looks like if not in the top 20% of your class, you would be starting as an apprentice/AB for a few months or longer (which I don’t really object to). Spring or Christmas break is about the only time you can visit family and friends. [/B]
Hawsepipe- Work 1080 days at sea (2.95 years) to qualify to sit for the exact same test the academy grad takes. However, after reading through and researching the GoM on here its become apparent to me that a 3rd Mates Unlimited license is essentially going over board (pardon the nautical pun) to work on a OSV or nearshore/Intracoastal.From what I have read, the real “down fall” to not going to an academy is not being able to eventually obtain one of those fancy DP licenses…which I really don’t want to do anyway. Looks like Office Cubicle work. Also, I think the Hawsepipe would allow for more personal downtime with the “even time”, 28/14, etc. schedule. [B]Pros: Pay, real life experience, fun, freedom, mobility Cons: No college degree to fall back on, can’t varsity sail, no like minded academy peers/connections.
If I become an O/S this summer, I would be making much, much more than my friends who are becoming indentured servants in college by next year. I don’t have any dependents, so obtaining sea time shouldn’t be an enormous issue considering that the alternative would require ten, unpaid months of my life. I am willing to work most anywhere, but the GoM and the Port of Charleston are my “dream” ports. It would be cool to work on a tanker or cargo between Texas and Florida.
I figure that it is just more logical and sensible to go the hawsepipe over the academy. I would much rather do real, paid work and learn a trade than do College work for four/five years if both paths offered the same outcome.
I was set on going to an academy over Christmas 2012, so I am kinda indecisive on this. I will be graduating HS this May at seventeen.
What do you guys think? I know most companies help with training, but this is quite a daunting decision. Can I even work on a ship at seventeen?
Thanks in advance for the advice and scrutiny. (Apologize for the grammar/english mistakes, wanted to put more thought into the questions than how neat it read)