How to start this new career

Hello all, I have asked before on this forum about going to the SIU school in MD, however I dont think I could go that long without getting paid. What are some other ways I could start this career and still progress at a decent rate? I have no problem starting from the bottom and earning way my up but im young and would like to progress as fast as I can.

Step one: realize you need a foot in the door of the industry. You are not above taking any entry level job.

Step two: make step one your mantra. It’s your new favorite thing.

Step three: get your entry level MMC (OS, Wiper, Steward food handler)

Step four: apply to every entry level job across all sectors of the industry, including tourism (gasp, not puker boats…) yes even day tour boats. You need experience. Take whatever job is offered in whatever department.

Step five: don’t like this advice or having to work entry level in a sector of the industry that’s below you? Wondering when you will be the captain? See steps one and two.

Welcome to hawsepiping.

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I know im not gonna be above any one else going into an industry that is new to me but would you recommend going to a school to get a sort of head start as far as class or just sign up and dive on in? I have a good bit of mechanical background in automotive, diesel and industrial, so would that help at all?

I would recommend going to school and at the very least getting your STCW BST training to go along with your entry level credential.

The rest of the classes require seatime anyhow, so might as well jump right in.

CTI has a Winter Engineering Program where you get paid to train. The 1st stage takes off next Tuesday. Week long program. No charge. You sail on a training boat and learn on freighters as well as at the dock in Seattle, getting general training in seamanship, but slanted toward marine engineering training for entry level people. Transportation is paid. There’s no commitment after you’re done. Your paid $100/day. The company is understandably picky about who they take, though.

Stage 2 happens January. If you’re accepted, you get 2 to 3 weeks of practical engineering training and cargo ops training in Seattle, done on boats at the dock and ashore. You live on the boats in Seattle, and supply your own meals. You are paid $15/hour to get trained; how many schools do that?

If you don’t wash out, you’re offered three voyages of employment in Alaska, January to April 2020. About 72 days of employment on Aleutian freighters, hauling cargo between Western Alaska and Seattle. Very hard work in a nasty climate. You can quit anytime, but there is no guarantee of employment after April. Transportation is paid. $190/day for entry level.

After that, you may be offered full time employment. Then it’s just a matter of seatime to get your QMED, during which you’re getting paid a regular rate. When you get enough seatime you go to a prep school for 2-3 weeks and sit for your test.

In short, you would be paid from the get-go to get your QMED faster than you would at a school, without debt. Bonus: by the time you get your QMED, you actually know something.

The thing is, the work is hard. As a wiper on the CTI boat you work cargo operations with the rest of the crew. You can go to to learn more about the operation.

You can contact me if you want to learn more, but please don’t until you’ve looked over the website and know exactly what would be expected of you.


Wow I really appreciate all the help you guys have, after I quit my last job to come to my current job I realized how much I miss the traveling and as far as hard work ive been in the oil industry from upstream all the way to downstream work so if its anything like that as far as physical labor I am all in. If you guys can think of any other tips please let me know and again appreciate this help.

Oh and one other thing I forgot to mention is as much as I wouldnt mind at all traveling along the coast, I am really interested in international travel.

Maybe look up MSC (Military Sealift Command). Most commercial ships don’t spend much time in port for “travel”.

Join SIU and get on a contract crewed MSC special mission or research ship. They are forever visiting exotic ports for extended periods.