As my dad said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life again.”[/QUOTE]
Your dad obviously never worked on a tugboat!
I love working on the water, and in fact, I don’t think I could ever do anything else (except maybe brewer!). But, while I am still perfecting my beer recipes, I’ll continue to make my living on the water.
If I could do it all over again, I would go to the Maritime Academy! I didn’t even know those places existed when I graduated high-school.
I imagine there must be tremendous pressure when approaching graduation to find the “best” job, make the big bucks and drive the big boat. My advice, seriously: fuhgetabouit! Postpone the start of a mind-numbing career as DPO operator in some small room on some large ship and go do something that will spark some passion for a career on the water. That’s right: go to Alaska and get a shitty paying mate job on a small expedition vessel for a summer and wake up (almost) every morning, drink a cup of coffee and say WOW! this is f*cking amazing! Or, go to Hawai’i and run a dive boat, learn how to dive and check out some of the amazing stuff below the water line.
Unfortunately, it is hard to make a living doing these jobs. At least, its hard when you have the wife and kids and mortgage, car payments, insurance, etc…I now work on tugs, but spent the first nine years working on mostly passenger, and some research vessels. The pay was shitty, but the jobs were enjoyable. Tugboats…not so much. But, they pay the bills, and now that I am a little older, and priorities are a little different, that’s okay. What I love now, is coming home.
My theory is that the more enjoyable a job is, the less they have to pay people to do it. Case in point: the most enjoyable job I have ever had, hands down, was Capt. of a converted mine-sweeper doing expedition-style wilderness cruises in Alaska. Sadly, an AB on a west coast tug makes more than I did (daily) as captain in AK. But, it doesn’t matter because I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
The fact of the matter is: that there is nothing romantic about working on a Tugboat. People always say “you work on tugboats? Aw, that must be so cool.” Um, no. It is a bunch of guys who don’t shower enough living in too small of a space who usually don’t like each other very much. As a result, the pay is good. So, before you let the sirens lure you in with the intoxicating joysticks and touchscreens of the DP world, or the burly wires and ropes of the tug boats, take a deep breath, and do something you will really love (even just for one summer). Otherwise, you run the risk of being another grumbly, thrice-divorced, DUI-having curmudgeon that I have to share my tug boat with.
Good luck out there!