How to find engineering jobs in USA

Hello Capts,
I am an immigrant recently got permanent resident permit for USA.
I had been sailing as Engineer for almost 40 years of which 28 years as Chief Engineer on VLCC and ULCCs. I have commonwealth and Liberian Chief Engineers Licence unlimited in Steam and Motor.

How do I go about searching for jobs and what kind of jobs are available to me.

I would appreciate honest and straight answer.

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First step would be to get in touch with the USCG and see what you need to do in order to get your licenses sorted out for USCG system. I know virtually nothing about that.

You will need to get a TWIC card and a USCG Merchant Mariner Credential(see above step)

If you have sailed as Chief Engineer for 28yrs I think you would be able to know where to look for work. But, try the job leads thread on here for a start or simply do a google search for US shipping,tug,offshore,research, companies.

Non-US flagged yachts?

AMO will take you in a hot second, but you probably will make more money on a Liberian flagged ship.

If you’re in U.S. and looking the yacht scene may bring results as many these days are flagged “red ensign” among others but most don’t require an engineering license.
With your experience any bow legged short pants yacht captain would

Hi all,
Thanks for your advice.
I will follow the lead and come back if I hit the wall.


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If you are interested in working in Hawaii, then you can visit this jobs in Hawaii site that has a large number of featured jobs of various sectors for freshers as well as experienced job seekers.

The “honest and straight” answer is that until you are granted US citizenship or the laws change, you will not be able to obtain a US license or work as an officer onboard a US flagged commercial vessel in US waters.

You can work unlicensed if that appeals to you then get your license when you get citizenship. I have sailed with several Eastern European officers who have gone that route very successfully. It is a good way to learn the culture and it avoids any issues that might come from working a contract on a foreign flag ship on your current license. There are limits (one year but close to 6 months will raise red flags) on how long you can be out of the country on your green card and running up against an immigration official who has had a bad day can jeopardize your status if returning from an extended trip abroad. None of that applies if you are working through an American union for an American company on an American ship.

Regarding the immigration issues, if you used an immigrtion lawyer to get your green card, go back and ask about working outside the country. They look very closely at intent so make sure you can show strong connections and an investment in the US.

Forget the yacht jobs. After a career as a chief engineer on merchant ships you probably won’t care much for that lifestyle even if you could get past the social and prejudicial barriers. I am an unlimited chief engineer (steam/motor/gas turbine) working as a shore superintendent for a company that manages very large yachts so that comment is not just uninformed opinion. There is much more to that advice but this isn’t the place to go into the details.

Depending on where you are, I would look at shore based maintenance firms that specialize in propulsion systems. There are many and most are based in or near the larger ports. You know the type of company I mean, they do warranty work and overhaul machinery used on the ships you sailed on. If you are a native speaker of another language than English, so much the better as most of the employees of those firms come from the same background and most seem to be European immigrants. The US just doesn’t seem to produce people with the skills those companies need, or the experience either.

Good luck.

I’m on the deck side but I would think you would be able to find lots of shoreside employment where you could use the license (foreign) you have now to prove you know what you’re doing. If you don;t want to go ashore yet, what about applying to work on foreign flagged ships. There are plenty flagged from Bahamas, Vanuatu, etc and working only 28/28 (I’m thinking oilfield/drillships etc). The companies hiring are here but they do have some work here and some overseas and I doubt they care if you have US or other license since US license isn;t required unless working here.