Job prospects for a hawsepiper 3rd mate

I’m currently finishing up my last classes at Piney Point, Maryland. The school is called Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training. I will take my license exams soon…after I have my license I’m curious what to expect, who hires a new hawsepipers without any experience as a mate? Does AMO hook us newbies with jobs quickly? Or should I go another route/union? Or non union?

Any info is greatly appreciated,

Is the school that much of a failure that they aren’t able to answer these questions for you? If so, I would say job prospects don’t look good for a Piney Point graduate.

Piney point just recently started AB to mate classes. And the instructors just teach classes, they don’t help us find work… we are pushed towards AMO bc it’s affiliated with our SIU union… there are only 6 people in our class this year and this program is somewhat new so I can’t imagin piney Point graduates having an over arching bad reputation. If they do have a bad reputation like you’ve implied then id really like to know why.

How long have you been associated with the SIU? They have a time tested reputation for a reason. Seamanship. Or lack thereof may be more apropos.

You are obviously one of the more motivated in your union and I applaud you for that. The question you should be asking is what does that union have as an end game for training you up to the wheelhouse? Are they thinking they are going to start competing for contracts against the other officers unions? It sounds like they would like to. Years ago I’d heard AMO had a deal set up with SIU to train persons interested in seeking a license with a 7+ year commitment after getting the training. This sounds like something completely different and if there is no job placement after getting you licensed, where is the payoff? What does the union gain from this? Because one thing is for sure. Your leadership doesn’t do anything without wetting their beaks. I say that last part in the most stereotypical “goombah” tone I can muster.

I hate to be the guy asking questions of the OP, but do they also do this for the engine department? A system of classes towards becoming a 3rdAE? Sorry to hijack, but im just curious.

Yes the SIU has AB to mate and 3rd asst upgrade programs. I’ve sailed with a dozen AB to mates. 3 are unlimited masters now that I know of. I’ve had 4 asst engineers out of the program. I’ve been retired since '09 but I don’t think much has changed. There was an agreement with the AMO and SIU to transfer time one way, one time from SIU to AMO or AMO to SIU. Not sure if it’s still in effect.

Limitations are generally self imposed. The required courses are free to the SIU members, room and board with paid transportation or mileage.

Nothing is guaranteed . Get your ticket and pick up the job off the board or some of the inland jobs (ATBs) with proper creds. You might have to pick up an AB or Oiler job to break into a mate or asst slot.

Sw/K, I don’t know anything about SIU or SHLSS except what I’ve read on this forum and online, and that has all been about the unlicensed apprentice program. I looked for information on your AB to Mate program, but could not find anything. My only assumption was that if the union is putting mariners through this program, it has to have an end-game of employment in mind. If they are not set up to offer career counseling, then that doesn’t sound right.

I wasn’t aware that the school even offered training for non SIU members. The last question in your original post implies that you have an option to go non-union. Are you a graduate of SHLSS or did you get into this program through some other path?

I came up the Hawse pipe as well, and neither Mitags or PMI, or a few other Maritime schools that I took classes at, had a “career counseling” program. At the time I got my license my organization was not interested in developing or hiring any new mates. Job prospects are hard without being in a club like those academy grads… I found AMO to be almost useless when it came to putting me to work. I joined MMP, and got some night mate work fairly easily. A position came open in the organization that I was still working as an AB for, so I did that but I suggest that you look at MMP not AMO, that was just the experience that I had.

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I don’t know why people keep saying things like this, it’s never benefited me or anyone I know about other than helping us get a license.


Finding jobs is mostly about networking, reputation, personality, and making a serious persistent effort. It’s also about being flexible and thinking outside the box.


Go back and read this thread, do the posts have a welcome and congratulations vibe to them?

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I have been an ‘applicant’ at AMO for over 3 years now. They’ve called me twice in all that time. Both offers were for jobs I was not qualified for. I’ve pretty much given up on ever getting a ship with them.
I’ve also talked to the MMP. They told me not to even bother filling out the forms to join. They had NO work for deck department. Same with MEBA (of course).
I hold a master unlimited license, DP unlimited certificate and over 30 years experience. It’s still DEAD out there!

My MEBA mate buddy had no problem shipping on a 3m license. Liberty and Maersk Jobs. It aint dead, you just gotta show up to the hall.

AMO does not have a hall. Both MEBA and MMP have halls in Houston, but both told me to forget about finding anything but a night mate job.

Jesus, do you want to work or cry on the gcaptain forum. I’m telling you guys have been sailing out of the MEBA hall with nothing but 3m licenses. Last time I was in HOU I saw 3 mates get work in a 2 weeks span.

You need to show up consistently to the hall. If you want to work you gotta put in the legwork.


thanks, I will go talk to them again next time I’m up there. I’m hoping to get more temp work soon. That’s been enough to survive on (barely) these last 3 years.

Don’t let Donn get you down. He’s the best dispatcher in the M.E.B.A

Thanks. I was talking to Erin last couple of times.

The maritime job market is improving. I have been getting a much much higher than usual number inquires at this time of year about my upcoming availability.

It has become hard to find jobs, and also much harder for companies to fill jobs. Companies don’t want to advertise because the don’t want every Tom, Dick, and Harry most of whom are unqualified and from 3000 miles away ) flooding them with resumes and phone calls. It mostly works on word of mouth now.


Agree it seems to be word of mouth. I would hope that as you are already in the industry and taking the time to get licensed, you already had an idea of what was out there. Don’t be discouraged though and best of luck!