I am looking into the SIU’s apprenticeship program and need to know if my 3 years as a deckhand on a barge line would count towards any of my time requirements for certifications.
Along that same line would my 6 years in the army provide any value towards my career advancement beyond the experiences and knowledge gained?
Yes your time will count toward your A/B mmd and toward your license for steersman, and master. The exact amount of time you will be credited I can’t tell you based on the information you gave here.
I’m a former SIU member, who now sails as 2nd Mate. Here’s my opinion on your situation. Some may disagree.
I wouldn’t think your Army time counted for anything unless you were operating watercraft. The value lies in life experience and that you are no 18 year-old kid, which is really what the SIU Apprentice program is geared towards. There used to be an age limit, but now I believe it’s open to anyone.
It sounds as if you are interested in shipping deep sea. If so, consider one of these options (since I don’t know the exact scope of your experience).
Take Basic Safety Training, and get your MMC endorsed in all 3 entry level positions (OS, Wiper, Food Handler). Go to an SIU hall, throw down the money, take the physical, and take any entry level position you can get in any department. Don’t worry if it’s not the one you want. That will come later.
If your seatime does permit you to get an AB Special, you can still sail deep sea. Get anything you can qualify for and ship in any AB job you can.
Either way, you will have the lowest seniority (C Book), so good jobs will be scarce. Now’s not the time to be picky. Just sail and it will work out.
It’s been my personal experience that I don’t see a lot of benefit to the Apprentice program, other than graduates being more familiar with Union rules. Apprentice graduates are only qualified to sail entry level anyway. And the pay for Apprentices at sea is appalling. Most of the low-ball companies like to use Apprentices as extra cheap labor, since they are the companies that most likely cut entry level positions anyway. Sure, I would recommend the Apprentice program to a kid just out of high school, but with your age and experience, I say just go to work.
Whatever you choose, good luck.
This isn’t completely accurate. The Apprentice Program has a number of phases, and after the phase (II?) in which they go out as apprentices they are still entry-level, but completing all phases of the programs leads to an Able Seaman endorsement.
I believe SIU also has an Apprentice Program designed specifically for Veterans.
My apologies. I didn’t know graduates of the SIU Apprentice program qualified for an A.B. That’s what makes this website so valuable. Wrong information will usually be corrected by someone who’s in the know. But my real reason for the being against the Apprentice program:
My current company pays SIU Apprentices a monthly base wage of $845.00. That’s $28.167 daily, with an $8.00 per hour overtime rate. That’s tough to swallow for anyone who has bills. An O.S. will make a lot more.
In the four plus years I sailed with the siu I had lots of these kids on ships not only did the pay suck but they were slave labor and they are only to work beside other crew but the the companies get around that I found the ot on boats when they are oboard is lower
Most not all of these kids are either jail kids or troubled kids and when I was at paul hall for training they are treated like boot camp but its longer than six weeks
I agree with these guys if you have 3 years exp then even with equal time 180 per year times 3 years you have your ab sp if you can get your ab and can’t afford your basic training try the great lakes or trident seafoods out of seattle greatlakes, rivers, and the fishing ind are not required to have stcw yet. But if you go trident make sure you are boat crew not prosser
Good luck let us know if you get ab sea school in alabama is the cheepest way they have rooms to sleep and meals and its covered in the price wwwseaschool.com
Good luck never been there but I know people who have save you hotel and meals
Email me if you get ab
[quote=mike173;11941]My apologies. I didn’t know graduates of the SIU Apprentice program qualified for an A.B. That’s what makes this website so valuable. Wrong information will usually be corrected by someone who’s in the know. But my real reason for the being against the Apprentice program:
My current company pays SIU Apprentices a monthly base wage of $845.00. That’s $28.167 daily, with an $8.00 per hour overtime rate. That’s tough to swallow for anyone who has bills. An O.S. will make a lot more.[/quote]
It’d be easy to think the program is only the time when they go out as apprentices. In fact it’s alternating “phases” of training at Piney Point with ship assignments, first as “apprentice” then as Ordinary or Wiper. It’s possibly the fastest way to AB, but there is a lot of time training so it’s still a now or later balance consideration.
There are 3 phases of the training. Initial training conducted at Piney Point, MD. Basic Seamanship, Lifeboat, Firefighting, etc. Second phase is ship side where 30 days are spent in each of the job categories; Deck, Engine, & Steward. Third phase is advanced training dependent upon your job category choice.
As an Apprentice my son completed his initial training and sat “idle” for a month waiting to ship out. You could not leave and they kept you busy with various different jobs, unpaid. He finally shipped out in February and will complete his ship side training next week. SIU is having him return home at this time rather than back to Piney Point for the advanced training. They are not going to have him return for the third phase of training until they have a job they can send him on (which works out well, I believe he’s a bit homesick).
There are upfront costs to the training. In the past if you were accepted you paid some fees for documentation but you began training nonetheless. Now, however, you have to have everything in order to be accepted. You must already have your MMC, TWIC, and Passport. Physical, Drug Screen, and certain clothing. You also have to pay for uniforms and travel to Piney Point.
While the wages as an apprentice are dismal, look at the cost side of the equation. There is a lot of training and experience obtained basically for free. They have trained, housed, and fed my son for 7 months. I will find out exactly what documentation he has obtained when he gets home next week.
The program is not conducive to someone that has a home, family, or bills. If you have none of that then it could be perfect.
I would also suggest that you don’t burn any bridges with any current employer. The Pacific Northwest takes applications in the early months of the year and much of the work is during the summer (Inland Boatman’s Union). The East Coast in contrast slows down during the summer and is busy during the winter, primarly due to home heating oil transport. Be aware of these cycles. The East Coast is laying up a lot of boats right now and companies are laying people off, or modifying schedules to try and retain employees.
Thanks for the info from everyone.
Yes, I am wanting to go deep sea while staying out as long as possible each time. I just went thru a divorce and am between homes right now. I live in my truck 24/7/365.
The apprentice program looks good in that the initial training is free and that I will graduate with an AB. Having a military background the boot camp atmosphere is actually a plus in my eyes.
I think I will give SIU a try to get my foot in the door and then decide where to go from there. I am hoping to finally pay my old debts off and apply to MSC after I get everything in order.
Cal, I was living in Alton, IL until my divorce which is across the creek from you. Worked the St. Louis harbor for 3 years on tow boats running the upper Miss and IL shitditch.