I’ve been on this website a bunch the last month or so, and I have to say its good to see a craft that supports each other. I’ve been a conductor for two major railroads for the past 15 yrs, so bad hrs and heavy equipment is nothing new to me… I plan on attending Bluewater Maritime School (Jacksonville Florida) in a few weeks to get my BST/RFPNW, drug test and physical. I already have a TWIQ badge. I’ve seen a lot of people looking for jobs, and I’m curios why more people don’t use a headhunter when they first start out or when they are starving and cant pay their bills… I know they take a chunk of ur pay but to me that’s better then going bankrupt… Im a newbie and just curious…
There is very little a headhunter can do for you if you are only an os / wiper even with BST. The first question they ask despite BST and RFPNW is, “How much sea time do you have?”. Ask me how I know.
A lot of companies that are looking for entry level people are still asking for 6 months – 1 year of sea time experience. They can do that because there are an awful lot OSs with sea time that are looking for work. Now if you have a RFPNW as an OS the Unions can find work for you. But that has to be a Full RFPNW. The course you are taking is for Lookout only. You’ll still need 2 months sea time for the full rating. The problem is getting the sea time for those two months when you have to compete against ABs or OSs with 6 moths-1year of sea time.
And truth be told, there are not a lot of headhunters out there filling unlicensed billets. Sure there are some that service the yachting community, but as far as the commercial maritime industry goes…if you join a union you play by their rules. If you don’t join one you still have your work cut out for you finding a job. Starting out in this industry is difficult. No matter what your background. The job market is still tight. Headhunters want to go after the big game, like Captains and Chengs. After that we are all small fish in a very big ocean.
You are better off at the railroad. Believe me.