Joining siu WITHOUT apprenticeship (in detail)

Soon to be fresh mariner here. Seems i’ve managed to get all the info i’ve needed up to this point without being one of those many guys asking the same questions repeatedly. But before we gut this dolphin, here’s where i’m at:

Medical Cert
in progress - MMC (currently in PQEB evaluation as of 1/12, accepted 11/29)

Where im at in life makes taking the apprenticeship route a no go (kids etc). Looking to clear as much smoke as possible in advance so that when the time comes to drive the 7ish hours down to the union hall to apply, i wont be blindsided by anything that will either require me to drive home right after arriving or similar (avoidable hotel rentals, etc. things like that). I got family about 90mins from said hall though.

(Begins slicing dolphin belly) So what im requesting here is. Would anybody here who has joined SIU without going through the apprenticeship be willing to layout in detail the process they went through on arrival? Like nitty gritty/in fine detail?

Some details i haven’t been able to find on my own:

i’ve read they’ll want their own USCG physical, even though i have this fresh one.
Do they handle this in house? Elsewhere? On my dime or theirs?

Are there any other vaxs besides yellow fever that they require?

(ripping guts out) I’ve tried emailing SIU with questions. Though based on the briefness and “information minimal” nature of the replies i’ve recieved, i’ve been given the impression that they’re not interested in helping anyone join them unless its via their apprenticeship program (figure it out yourself)

Appreciate anyones insight.

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just recently somebody asked same kind of questions. Anyway, here you go:
You walk into union hall and tell them you want to join without Piny Point. Ok, first they seat you for math and English (if you speak funny like myself) test. Than they’ll check your paperwork. Assuming everything in the order, they’ll give you a piece of paper - C card. You free to go to get a job on board! Now is the tricky part: you seat by the board waiting for position of wiper/os/steward other than A or B card to show up. Eventually, it will. But nobody knows how long it will take. Maybe 2 minutes, may be two weeks. In my case it was almost a month, but that was about 7-8 years ago. People say things are different now.

Word. Sounds pretty straightforward.

In regards to them allegedly wanting another physical done just for them. Is that a thing? (as far as you know). What about required travel vaccines?

Its these finer details im having trouble finding solid info on.
All the threads ive viewed regarding the above have been discussed in a general sense with nothing concrete/exact

I’ve never been in SIU.

SIU like most unions does a very or poor job of marketing itself to prospective new members.

The answers to your questions should probably be on their website, but they probably are not.

You might try googling “SIU union physical requirements “.

My guess is that you’ll need to take their physical at their contracted doctor. It will probably included a dental check. If the doctor sees a problem in your mouth you’ll probably have to go to dentist too.

I don’t know what shots SIU requires. Certainly a yellow fever shot Card. I’d highly recommend getting Twinrex combined hepatitis A & B, tetanus, etc. (get those added into your shot card) if a ship is going to some third world shithole, they should provide the extra shots necessary, malaria medication, etc.

Supposedly, there is currently a shortage of mariners. So, one would think you shouldn’t have to hang out in the hall too long.

If it turns out that you need to age your C card for awhile, go get a job on a non-union tugboat for awhile. Most of them are hiring.

Then don’t bothering responding to a post asking for info about SIU


Not sure what the requirements are now, but i remember years ago when i joined, you go to their clinic and pay for the physical and benzene test. 20+ years ago it was a couple hundred bucks, so i’d assume its more now. After you attain senority any physicals you may be required are covered by them i believe. So yeah, you will have to spend a little to get registered with them.

It wasn’t too long ago the SIU was actually advertising on indeed. So hopefully you can find some work with them sooner rather than later.

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That’s more or less what I’ve usually heard.

To answer your question about the union physical yes, you will have to take a physical, a drug test, as well benzene test, ppd test and blood work. All of this you will to do at one of their contracted clinics. By the way you will have to pay for this at the hall. It should be anywhere from $475 to $515.

As far as vaccinations, if you dont have it you will have to take the yellow fever shot, mmr shot, flu shot, and hep shots.

After all of this done you will have to wait anywhere from 7 days to three weeks to be cleared by SIU medical.

The SIU physical was $500 in 2014.

They don’t want “their own USCG physical”, they want their own union physical. It’s much more comprehensive than the USCG physical, is done annually, and most always be current in order to ship out.

It’s a physical (including EKG and hearing test in a booth) plus a functional capacity exam then you wait for their doctors to review it and issue you a “fit for duty” certificate. Last I know it cost about $500 if you don’t need a drug test (though I’m not sure the drug test is optional, even if you have a recent one completed).

Once you have 90 days onboard a vessel the physicals (both union and USCG) and drug tests are free.

Back in 1979, I just received my AB blue ticket,
After sailing on ocean tow & ATB.

Went to join SIU in December as I heard it was
easier to ship out during the holidays.

They wanted $100 for the physical & were
sending me to Piney Point for oreintation &
AB classes.

I explained I had my AB ticket & just wanted to ship out. They said I had to attend Piney Point.

I departed & registers with NMU,
National Maritime Union.

I was aboard a Lykes Lines ship 2 days later.

Of course NMU was absorbed by SIU in 2001
as I recall & is no more.

Later joined MEBA-2 which is AMO.

End of Story.

I sailed with a handful of former NMU mariners, some of the finest I’d ever met.

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