Is there need for oridnary seamen currently?

Hey all.
I got my STCW95 back in Oct in Ft Lauderdale, and have a couple of weeks of day work on a couple of white boats (private yachts), and about 90 nautical miles. I’m 32 and looking into going international shipping.
Are there jobs for ordinary seamen out there right now? Would my almost zero experience make it pointless for me? Would I need to actually go to something like the Paul Hall entry level apprenticeship program? I need employment soon, in fact actually want a good job, so the idea of paying thousands of dollars to go back to school for yet another degree for a couple years is out of the question.
I’ve been looking on the net, accessing some of the job sites I’ve found posted on this forum, but really don’t see positions for OS. I’ve looked at some union sites too, but they never show what kind of jobs are needed and how often, etc… How important is it to become a member of one or more of the unions?
So those of you who are actually in the industry, can you tell me what its like right now? I get conflicting views everywhere I go. Some say that there is need for qualified licensed people, some say that international shipping is not effected by the global economic issues we’ve been seeing. ALso says that enrollment at the maritime schools is up. Some places say that guys are sitting for weeks and months without crew positions. So what gives?
I want to be out on the ocean. Sooner rather than later. Realistic?

You could go the Paul Hall route. It is a way for someone with no experience to get an A/B ticket fairly quickly. If I recall, the graduates their have to do less sailing time to get the A/B special. Pay is probably not as good as in the GOM though but you would be working.

I don’t know much about the offshore business but they have OS jobs on supply boats and such. Not exactly sure what to do to break in there but I’ve got a feeling it involves lots of resume sending and physically going down there and meeting face to face with folks. Perhaps someone else could help out there.

[B]it involves lots of resume sending and physically going down there and meeting face to face with folks. [/B]

On a positive note I am seeing some (slowly) easing up on the hiring freezes. :slight_smile:

Best to try and get out with the SIU get your time in and then go eleswhere.
Get your license if you plan on going to go to sea for a living!!
Just remember if you get a Mates license, most of your time off the ship will be spent in school.

Everything already mentioned on getting a position as a OS was right on the money, and very good advice.

The only thing I could mention is GOM lift boats. Lift boats unlike many oilfield boat are normally between 100 and 200 tons. As such they actually require OS and ABs on board, just like a supply boat. Now, mind you the OS on a lift boat spend most of his time making beds, and cleaning heads. However it does pay better then a deckhand.

But do not dismiss deckhand, deckhand time does count toward your AB ticket. If you choose to go deep sea, the only real way you are going to be hired out of the union hall is to go through the apprentice program. I was just down to the hall, lots of hands just sitting around with no calls. Currently without a B level book, it is going to be awful hard to ship out.

And last but not least, while the GOM is barely opening up again, the same rule applies. Network, network, network, and face time, face time, face time. Throw the pup tent in the vehicle, make a list of companies, and hit them all. Hard to do if you are totally broke, I know. But face time is about the only way to cold enter the oilfield market right now. If you are coming in from the east, start in New Orleans and hit everyplace on Hwy 90 until you get to Lafayette. Try not to go south of 90 if you can help it. South of 90 is bayou country, and the first time there is a problem of any kind, since you are not local, you are out of there.

Anyway hope this helps.

Ever sat in a three legged chair? If one of the legs fail the floor is only two feet away, IF a liftboat breaks a leg you die! Those things scare me! But that just an opinion, and that’s all.
Chouest is still building boats as fast as they can weld them, we will need many more people if the future. Give them a call, there are tons of OS’s here and they will be needing more.
31 is right though, there will be a lot of BEDS & HEADS in your future as an OS… just work hard, swallow your pride and advance as fast as possible.
Good Luck