Leaving Gulf/OSVs to go Union?

Ive been operating on OSVs in the gulf as a mate for a few years. I’d like to work on getting my chief mate unlimited and have started paying out of pocket for some of the classes, a few more to go and all of my assessments still to go. I’ve tried getting myself into a larger tonnage vessel where I can get sign offs done, but honestly I think it would make a lot more sense to go somewhere with more opportunities, I work with a lot of people who don’t have oceans and can’t offer any real advice anyway.

I know there are some opportunities to have classes covered by the unions, but I’m sure thats not going to be open to a new applicant, so I guess this is just a really long winded version of the bog standard “which union” question, with emphasis on training opportunities and chief mate on board assessments. Any union as good as any other for that purpose? Thanks in advance!

I’m not sure if you have any vessels over 3000GT but that’s what you need to get the sign offs done. I’ve worked both union and OSV

Unions are nice for benefits, classes, tonnage, comforts etc but are usually much longer trips, no boat handling experience, pretty much just a paper pushing sea buoy mate.

OSVs you get the boat handling, decent comforts if you get on the right one, but yeah usually classes aren’t paid for, and you deal with the good old GOM hillbilly good old boys but schedules are flexible.

Pick your poison

If I went back to the hall it would be with MEBA deck side for the 20 and out pension plan.

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Thanks for the reply, and just a quick follow up question. This is a second career for me and I don’t expect to sail for 20 more years, is it true that you can get vested with the MEBA pension with a minimum five years?

Yes 5 years at a minimum of 125 days worked a year, I believe it includes vacation days but I would have to look back at paperwork.

Whenever I get done with hitch that seems to never end, I’m looking into the same thing (OSV’s to union) but from an engineer standpoint. I think I can handle longer hitches if I can escape everything associated with OSV’s and the Gulf. The day rate isn’t worth it anymore. As for anyone coming into the industry…Abandon All Hope Here! lol

240 days of covered employment makes up a pension year. More days give you better numbers. Sea days, vacation days, night work and school all count for covered employment.

AMO has some decent options for engineers… Check it out.

MEBA will pay for all Chief Mate upgrade classes ANYWHERE. So you can take them at the MEBA Calhoon school but have the option to take them elsewhere if it fits your schedule better.
They pay for tuition and room and board at any school. The MEBA pays for travel if you take them at the Calhoon.
You can mix and match. You can take some at the Calhoon school, some at MITAGs, or some at the Star Center. Whatever works for you.

And yes applicants get classes for free once they’ve have at least 30days of covered employment with the Union.

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Yeah MEBA sounding pretty nice, especially now that work is abundant pretty much everywhere. Would you say a deckie applicant can get right to work there without a problem, or would it very much be dependant on the hall?

Feel free to shoot me a message with questions about meba. Im going on 20 and although I am clearly biased…….meba is a great option for finding employment immediately with good pay and the best pension in the industry.

Yes but the “early retirement” pension kinda sucks. The documents are openly available on their website to see the numbers for yourself but you’re potentially better off at AMO where you can take the money with you when you leave by rolling it other into an IRA.

AMO will let an applicant take classes, you just sign a promissory note that you won’t leave the union for a period of time (I think 2 years but I’m not sure). Some guys they’ll let take classes before ever shipping out but normally you need to do at least one trip to qualify.

Only if a company sponsors them and usually only the MSC classes required for employment

I’ve paid for all my C/M classes, the signs off did them through classes and all STCW classes. It took a while, but it can be done. The benefit of staying as a C/M in the gulf is for the 1.5 days of seatime per day, also the variety of different cargoes we manage. I would NOT like loosing the DP cert. Anyhow completely understand you want to leave the gulf, it’s not for everyone. The current vessel working on, for 6 months changed from SubChapter L to I. Now it’s back to L but working in Brazilian waters.