Living the Dream

In June, I made a decision to try and get back to work on boats after walking away 17-18 years ago. The process of making that a reality has been well documented here in our forums. About two weeks ago I received my MMC with my AB Unlimited (any waters) which I held back in the day.

The journey has been enlightening, frustrating, expensive, and time consuming. I have come to realize and appreciate what a wonderful group of people we have here at gCaptain. Your help, insight, and encouragement are a true blessing in my life. (Feel free to take a bow if you like, you have earned it)!

In a couple days, I am leaving my home down here in S. Florida and heading over to my old stomping grounds along the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com</st1:State>Texas, and <ST1:p<st1:State w:st=“on”>Louisiana </st1:State></ST1:pcoastline to seek employment in the offshore oilfields. I will be staying in <st1:City w:st=“on”><ST1:pLafayette</ST1:p</st1:City> with my brother for as long as it takes to get a job.

I have a few questions in general about living and working on boats down that way. Maybe some of you would be willing to share some of your knowledge and experience with me. I have been advised to approach this as a new experience as a lot has changed since I last worked out in the gulf.

  1. What kind of work schedule do most of the companies work?
  2. What is reasonable daily pay rate for an AB Unlimited with STCW-95, RFPNW (Lookout Only), and Life boatman? My goal is to get onboard supply boats, but I am open to other types of vessels.
  3. Do most vessels have washing machines and ice machines?
  4. Can or should you bring a laptop?
  5. What type of foot wear, clothing, safety gear and personal items should I bring or am allowed to bring?
  6. Any other gear I should bring?
  7. Is it acceptable to bring a fishing pole (I love to fish)?
  8. Any tips on getting a foot in the door?
  9. I figure it is going to be important to be ready to go to work right away if a job is offered?
  10. I had a disk fusion in my cervical spine 7 years ago C5-C6. No problems since and am in great health. Is that something that will/can cause me a problem with potentional employers?

Any other thoughts would be appreciated?


1- Work schedules vary from company to company. 28 on 14 off is a popular one. 14 on 14 off is another one. 14 and 7 with some places. 21 and 21. Basically a combination of even time and 2 days of work for 1 day at home.
2- I am really not sure exactly what an AB makes. The range can be from around $260 per day to around $500 per day as an AB in the Bosun position on an Oil Rig.
3- I remember not having a washing machine on a boat. I had to bring 14 days worth of clothes and sometimes the platform would let us come up to do laundry. Today most all vessels have washers and dryers, but not all have ice machines. Most Supply boats have ice machine, but the smaller mini supply and crew boats do not have them. Ice trays.
4- You should definitely bring a lap top.
5- Bring work clothes and a pair of steel toes. Most boat companies do not provide steel toes, but require that you have them. Most drilling companies provide you with all safety equipment you need. Most boat companies will issue your hard hat, work vest, safety glasses and gloves. You should bring a towel for the first hitch at least. They may have towels on board, but don’t take it for granted. Bring some tennis shoes, slippers and shower shoes.
6- Astro-glide or lotion. Really.
7- Most companies do not allow fishing. There are some that do. I would not ask a prospective employer. Once I got the job and pulled one hitch on the vessel, you will know then if you can bring the rod or not.
8- Be upbeat and positive. Look people in the eye. Firm hand shake (I am sure you know all that). Be willing to start as an OS if need be. Don’t talk too much. Use appropriate language and don’t be too cocky. Ask questions and don’t appear desperate. Remember the three C’s…Cool, Calm, and Confident.
9- Be ready to leave straight from the interview to the vessel. That is how it used to be. I did not move around too much, but I always went on a job interview with a boat company with my bags in the truck ready to go. I don’t think that’s how it is now, but I do know that one day they may not have any positions available and then next day a company may need ten people.
10- I can not say for sure, because I don’t have much experience with it. I would “GUESS” that most employers are going to be scared to hire you with fused discs. Granted this is coming from a guy that has no idea what fused discs means, but it sure doesn’t sound good to me. If my memory is correct I think Shellback had a time with a similar condition. Everything went great up to the point when his condition was disclosed.