Hi everybody. New here. Due to the pandemic, my trade as an aircraft mechanic has been decimated and it maybe many months if not years before I can get back into it. Living near the Great Lakes and seeing freighters from time to time has always had me wondering what it would be like. Well, now its time to take it seriously and see what steps I need to take.
I am 42, in decent shape ( good cardio/not over weight). I have a wife and two kids and I live in a Great Lakes port city. I know it’s not easy work and I would be working in the worst of the elements. I also know that I could be gone for weeks at a time. My biggest question is: Would somebody like me with no prior maritime experience be able to find work on the Great Lakes? How much work? How much could I expect to make in a good year? I know I’d start from the bottom. I just want some good honest work, and if I can’t be around aircraft, I think ships would be a neat alternative.
From what I’ve been reading, I need my TWIC and a merchant mariners cred. Is this all I need to get started? I know there are maritime academies, but I’m not looking to take on more debt. Can I still find work without schooling? Basically just looking for pointers on the appropriate steps to get a shot with one of the Great Lakes freighter companies. I’m hoping to not have to go back to factory work. Been there.
Just wanted to ask some of you veterans for some advice and maybe point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance.