Jobs in Hawaii?

Basically looking to see what, if any maritime jobs exist in Hawaii. Ive been sailing deep sea for the past 6 years on tanker and cargo ships as 2nd and 3rd Mate and I am burnt out. Looking to settle down and get into tug work and I also want to move to Hawaii. I don’t have any tug experience except the ship handling class at Maine Maritime on the Pentagoet. Ive worked on fishing trawlers in the Bering Sea, OSV’s in the GoM. I’m willing to start over as an AB/Deckhand whatever and get my towing endorsement or TOAR and learn everything. I recently looked into Young Brothers and was looking for some other opportunities around Hawaii for maritime work. Seems like a shot in the dark but that’s what the mid watch is for I guess. Any advice, info, contacts, leads much appreciated. thanks

Interisland is primarily Young Bros but Dunlap towing, Western towboat, Kirby, P&L (Tiger tugs), and Sause Bros towing all have operations regularly from mainland to Hawaii. Also could look at Tote, Metson, Matson operate some larger vessels delivering to the islands.

I would not move to an isolated area seeking tugboat work until you are a qualified operator. Just my 2 cents. You could struggle to even land a deckhand job, and be stuck there for years. Also, we are told on these forums by posters in the know that tugboat pay in the islands is not commensurate with the high cost of living. YMMV


Yeah my goal is more to secure work and then move. I currently don’t live anywhere so it’s not a very big deal. It’s not like I’d be uprooting and moving somewhere new in hopes to land a job. Instead of paying off a ship and flying to Thailand or Costa Rica I’ll just take my bags to Hawaii lol :joy:

I would definitely hit up sause and young bros. Also p and r water taxi. MSRC too. You may be able to pick up relief work with them.

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It’s been along time since I’ve worked inter island in Hawaii. I enjoyed it. I’d do it again for awhile.

In those days, there were a lot of guys working for about six months straight, sometimes living onboard during unpaid time off. After that they would go home, or go to Thailand.

Hawaii is very expensive with everything at tourist trap prices and it has a high state income tax.

Unless you marry a doctor or corporate executive, you will find it difficult to live comfortably in Hawaii on local tugboat pay.

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thanks for the info. Ive basically sailed straight the past 6 years, I have a little cheddar stacked i’m just looking to find some work where I could start a decent life there. Made a couple trips to Oahu last year and loved it.

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The other day a shipmate asked me what Hawaii exported these days. I replied, “Our children.” The cost of living is obscene. The median single family home price on Oahu/Honolulu just hit a million dollars. Rent is about $1800 for an 800 ft3 two bedroom.

You might consider crappy jobs like sunset dinner cruises (Star of Honolulu) or even Atlantis sub just to get on something that floats and go from there.

I’m sorry but you’ll have a very hard time. Don’t get your hopes up.

I worked for Atlantis submarines on Maui for 3 yrs BC=before covid as a copilot/captain. Most glamorous dead end job on the ocean. Great people, LOW pay and half decent benefits. It’s a 2.5 yr road to make pilot and even as a jr. pilot the monies just not there for the cost of living.

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It sounds like you just need a good even time job. Then you can live any place you like.

You might like living in Newport, Rhode Island or Fort Lauderdale while working 14/14 in NY or the Gulf. You might like living in Rosarito Beach or Cabo while working in San Diego 7/7 or Seattle 60/60.

Currently work/live on Oahu. Check out Bowhead Corporation. They are hiring Workboat Coxswains for Pearl Harbor. Other than that, what the other posters mentioned about pay/cost of living is correct. Also, expect to be passed up for jobs if you aren’t from here. Everybody here knows somebody.

Forgot two. Check out American Marine Corporation. I’m sure they need operators and/or people that want to learn. I’ve heard as much. Might want to inquire with Operating Engineers local 3, they handle heavy equipment but Dredging as well. I’ve heard a rumour that there is a big Dredging project coming up that is supposed to last for quite a while. I’m sure they can use Workboat Operators.

Good luck buddy!


Yes I believe USACE is funding a few large dredging projects for the islands

You might really want to think twice about this idea. I moved out there to fly inter-island cargo and besides for piloting an airplane instead of a boat, I ran into the issues already discussed.
The basic problem is YOU are not on vacation, but everyone else IS on vacation and spending money like water. Everything is priced accordingly. It is really hard to explain how EVERYTHING is expensive out there. I swear that pineapples cost more in the store in Honolulu than back in the CONUS :roll_eyes:
Besides for all that, you are stuck on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Yeah it sounds like paradise, but it really isn’t for many people. If you have no family you want to visit it is one thing, but round trip from Hawaii to anywhere is a long way. If you can sit on the beach with a drink, enjoy a swim, and be happy every day forever it would be heaven, but not everyone is made like that.
Last thing I found out the hard way, if your job goes tits-up you are way the hell away from any other job.


If you’re not bent on making a bunch of money and just want to work on the water, I had a great time working on the NOAA research ships in Hawaii. You live on board, the boats are clean, and depending on the project you can get to see some really amazing places. If you’re interested in science it’s a great environment. The government will put you through all kinds of training if it applies to your job. Downsides were low pay and a year-round schedule. As a single guy I had a blast and learned a lot. Living on board meant no housing or food expenses, which are huge on the islands.

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Saw just recently P&M tugs was hiring for all positions in Honolulu

Just about everybody everywhere is hiring for most positions.

It’s not that jobs are unavailable. It’s that the pay doesn’t make up for the cost of living. Multi-income and/or multi-generation households are the norm. If someone is willing to give up most of their income to live in a tiny apartment in a crappy cinder block walk-up, or rent a room in a house, then maybe. Most of my shipmates can’t believe the cost. They think the high prices are only for tourists.

That is exactly what I found out. I never once made enough money in a month to cover my monthly expenses and I was in a rented room and drove a $300 car. Car insurance in Hawaii was outrageous too :frowning:

Reach out to UH for their research ship Kilo Moana.

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I just signed on with Foss as AB. Going from a semi-tropical work place to the Arctic circle. Should be an adventure but, I’m being compensated well for it. Kind of surprised that they don’t provide PPE (fowl weather gear)