How does Pay work?

Sorry I know this is kind of a novice question, but as being someone who just recently graduated from an academy with my 3rd Mate unlimited, I’ve never had a chance to discuss this with anyone in depth. I want to understand more about how pay works while at sea. My biggest question is how pay works while on off time, say your on 2 months, 1 off. Also, if you have the opportunity with a company to do either 1:1 or 2:1, will you make more money doing 2 months on 1 off? I figure you do, but does it make a huge difference? I’m only 22 so I want to put in as mush time as I can now before I have any thought of starting a family someday in the future. Thanks!

Most companies have 2 pay periods that are the 1st to the 15th and then the 16th to the end of the month with pay dates being somewhere in the middle of the pay period for the previous period. Pay periods can vary.

If contracted with a day rate, you’ll be paid for every day during the pay period you were sailing/at work.

It depends if you’re at a salary company or a day rate company. I’ve heard at Chevron you’re paid every two weeks whether you’re at work or not, and at every union job I’ve had, you’re paid day rate. So I worked 210 days last year and made more than my relief who only worked 150. The difference is Day Rate x days, so about 20k in my case. If I were at Chevron and worked 210 I would have made the same as someone who did 150 days.

I’ve never worked at a 2:1 company, but if it’s day rate I’d imagine you’d make more than 1:1. If it’s salary that’s a bad deal.

If I were graduating today I’d be in the gulf making that oil money. By the time the boom is over, you’re probably headed for life on land anyway. Also probably a good time to get in with MMP and start building seniority with them if you wanted to be deep sea, I’m not sure how that works, but it’s a safer long term play than becoming oil field folk.

And if you really love tankers for some reason and you have a PIC AMO will welcome you with open arms as well. Frankly some might even take you without a PIC at this point.

That’s a company by company question generally speaking. With unions it likely depends on vacation accruals. When I started short rotations I got paid each week worked and not paid each week not works. Then it changed to pay every two weeks whether on rotation or home. I’ve worked salary where it was a once-a-month check, 12months a year.

Short answer, look for jobs that interest you and ask all of your questions during the pre-hire process.

Also, with that new unlimited license you’re about to be making some serious cheddar. Be smart and save in a way such that the frequency of the checks has no material impact on your ability to pay regular bills.

1 Like

I’m not sure why that’s even a question that needs to be asked. The dang job at the same company would pay the same day rate so it’s easy to do the math and see the earnings difference. Working 180 days per year is only working 75% as much as working 240 days per year so you’d only make 75% as much also.

1 Like

Pay varies between companies and contracts. At my last three companies, one union, I was paid bi weekly without regard for the date.

My best advice is get yourself a brokerage account now. Inside that account open a Roth IRA and start socking money in there. The earlier you start the better it is. Also take advantage of any 401K matching that your employer may offer.

Also, you never specified if you are asking about offshore, tug/barge, or deep sea. Sailing deep sea and shipping out of the union hall is different than sailing on tugs in a union outfit.

Everyone pays a day rate but they may pay it out to you in different ways. As described above, some will average it out so you get a check every two weeks for the same average amount regardless of how many days you worked in that pay period. Others also pay you every two weeks but only for the days worked. Some checks will be big and other will be small and potentially zero depending on your work schedule.

Deep sea is a different animal. You still get paid a day rate but there is also overtime and vacation calculated and may be paid out in different ways. You take an allotment during your contract (say three months) so you get paid what you earn as you go. When your contract ends you are technically unemployed so the money stops until you ship out again be that 1 month, 2, 3 or 6.

I would like to stress that this is very important for 3rd mates, as sometimes at or above the 2nd mate level you can exceed the max income for contributing to an IRA, so stash money there while you can. It’s only $6,500 a year, you won’t miss it with the relatively low overhead of a 22 year old, but compounding interest is a kind to to the youth.

backdoor roth ira once you get over the income cap

1 Like