After reading this post about trying to use pay stubs to prove sea time, are there documents that one should take off every ship that they sail on, so they can prove that the ship existed if the company goes south? COI’s, etc?
I sailed with a guy who spent the last day of every hitch taking digital photos of everything. Every page in the log book, COI, each document he signed…
He went overboard with it but… not a bad idea in general.
As I stated in the previous post, make copies of the Certificate of Documentation and, if the vessel is inspected, the Certificate of Inspection as well. That proves the existence of the boat or ship, what type it was, what service it was used for, size, tonnage, horsepower, etc. Most company’s pay stubs indicate both how much you made each day plus how many days were worked, as well as the position worked in. Between pay stubs and copies of the vessel’s documents you can make a good case to the Coast Guard. Couple that together with a letter from a former captain of said vessel (that you worked with, or was your relief) and you have a better chance still. This has been an accepted practice with the Coast Guard for a long time in cases where a company goes out of business or is swallowed by another. It all depends on how well you’ve documented things.
If you worked tugs than you can also use your pilotage trip log as a back-up. Then use John’s suggestion and photograph the pages of the log book, which should have your name and what position you were working in, and you can’t go wrong. It’s as close as you can get to perfection. Keep copies of your certificates of discharge, if you’ve been shipping out. And if you’ve been working tugs, oilfield, etc. make sure you get a Letter of Service from any company you work for when you leave, or as soon as possible thereafter. That’s the most important one of all.