Looking for work as Wiper in Engine Room - East Coast

Can anyone give me some advice as to where on the web can I find employment as a entry-level Wiper either aboard a ship or tug boat? I have worked as a field construction welder-Boilermaker and have been out of work for over a year! I do hold a 4th Class Stationary Steam Engineers licence from working on a narrow gauge steam locomotive, but can not seem to get hired as a stationary watch engineer due to lack of experience!! I have also worked as a custodian, from time to time, to suppliment my income so I am not afraid of getting dirty.
I would like to work as a wiper for the required 180 days aboard a ship or tug in order to qualify to sit for a few USCG Q.M.E.D. ratings, take the general test first then qualify as Oiler, FM/WT as a start.

Any suggestions would be of great help.

I am working to get the TWIC card along with a new MMD “Z” card. I did have a MMD that I never sailed on and it expired five years ago. I think it can not be renewed and I must reapply.


You didn’t let us know where you are, which would help.

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, Washington State Ferries hires out of the MEBA hall in Seattle, and they occasionally call wipers. I got called up a few years ago, I had put my name on the list just for kicks and I could have had the job if I wanted it.

Have you applied for the TWIC? In the words of the NMC, “If you are applying for any Merchant Mariner credentials, you must already have applied for a TWIC.”

Until you have the TWIC and your MMC in hand you are not going to get anywhere. Move quickly in the right direction or you will not move anywhere.

Steamer. Yes, I am currently working to acquire the TWIC Travelers documentation. I have preregistered on their website for now. I think it costs around what, $150.00 for the fee? This is what is holding me up because I’m out of work right now, and have to save up the fee money.
Also, do I have to complete the Basic Safety on week course as a requirement for the MMD or does that come later when I am looking for work with the Z card in hand?
I just want to get a few facts clear and test the waters to see if there is work out there for wiper jobs. If there some demand out there, I will move ahead more quickly. But, if wiper jobs are at a stand still in this entry level position, like all productive blue collar jobs are now a days in this country, then what is the rush or motivation for me to spend the $$$$$ and time on that money making requirement called TWIC?
Is TWIC some kind of factor of safety for the MMD?
It seems to me that the travelers documentation is just more RED TAPE that the Marine Industry really needs? Right? Are mariners at sea and field construction Boiler Makers in oil refineries, safer because of TWIC documentation? I don’t know. I got off the subject. I’m not anti government, and I do believe that we need to keep the bad guys out of sensitive jobs that affect our country, but I do think that the TWIC requirement is over kill. Maybe I’m wrong?

DougPine, I live in Maine and would like to work along the Atlantic East coast.


Doug could you list the contact info for MEBA I would really appreciate it. Thank You for your time and information.

Can anyone give me some advice as to where on the web can I find employment as a entry-level Wiper either aboard a ship, ferry or tug boat along the Atlantic East Coast? I live in Maine and I have worked as a field construction UNION Welder/Boilermaker for a few years on the road in New England when the construction industry in the development of co-generation power plants was booming. Now, work has come to a complete stand still in this industry and I do not want to re-train as a computer programmer or office worker!! I have been out of work for over a year and from time to time, I have been able to work as a custodian-cleaner. I do hold a State Of Maine Fourth Class Stationary Steam Engineers Licence from working as a volunteer Fireman/Watertender-Oiler aboard a narrow gauge steam locomotive. This licence was an upgrade from my previous High Pressure Boiler Operators licence. It seems that I can not get hired on as a stationary watch engineer or utility operator in a stationary plant due to lack of hands on experience! I have applied for positions many times here in Maine, but with no results.
I would like to work as a Wiper for the required 180 days aboard some kind of marine vessel so that I can qualify to sit for a few USCG QMED ratings. I’ll most likely take the general exam first, then try to qualify as an Oiler or FM/WT.
I’m not a school person and have earned my stationary steam licence by studying on my own. I learn by doing things hands on, and self study.

Yes, I know about the TWIC documentation and have already pre-applied on their website. I need money for the fee and as soon as I get the TWIC, I’ll be applying for my MMD and will then take the required one week Basic safety course here in Maine. I am asking about Wiper work because I would like to know if there is some demand out there in the Marine Industry for wipers and getting a QMED raiting is something I am really interested in doing as a new career!

Any suggestions would be of great help.


Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA)
5527 Airport Way South, #101
Seattle, WA 98108
Phone 206-762-0803

Regardless of what it really is, without it and several other bits of expensive paper you don’t stand a chance of employment in this industry. That is the simple and cold reality these days.

The people you will be competing against for work probably have experience, paperwork, and inside knowledge so if you want to play in their world you need to make the investment in time, money, and attitude.

I do realize the financial commitment that needs to be made for the TWIC credentials. I guess I get a little upset when unemployed working people always have to squeeze real hard, especially in hard times, to come up with more cash to grease the wheels of another redundant government department for the “good of the people”.


You have only begun to enjoy the process … get used to it or find another sandbox because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

A popular saying seems to fit here “It’s the cost of doing business”.

TWIC is nothing new, except to the new mariners. It’s not going anywhere, and it’s only a small drop in the hat of the expenses you will incur should you decide to work your way up the hawsepipe. Looking back at the money I have spent on my career, I wouldn’t change a thing…The $140 TWIC won’t seem like much, should you have a successful maritime career.

“It’s the cost of doing business”, is how I make myself feel better about the money you have to spend…JMHO

I have no problem of physical or mental work. I had to go through a lot of red tape and money here in Maine to get my 4th Class Stationary Steam Engineers Licence. I think I have accomplished something positive in my live and I wish the Hell I can find work in this trade!! *I always had a good attitude especially at work when I am among my fellow workers. A bad attitude can spread like a cancer!
I’m not some young punk grunge “Dude” who runs away from real work and likes to shoot off his mouth.

By the way how much is the TWIC card fee? I can’t seem to fine the fee posted on the TWIC site?

I know I can get the money and, in time, I will get that MMD. And If I get that BST course, I think that will make me more marketable. But for now, I just want to know IF THERE IS DEMAND out there for Wiper positions? If this entry-level job has no demand and is at a stand still, like everything else in the blue collar trades these days in this country, then I will wait for a while to save up more money, get all my MMD documentation in order. By then, the economic conditions may call for a demand for marine Wipers in the industry.


Back when I got my TWIC, there were two prices…one for current mariners who wanted their TWIC and MMCs to expire together (something like 105 bucks)…

The other price was the “full price”, about $135 maybe?

Regardless, to answer the question at hand here…In my experience, and those of many friends who are trying to get into the industry, the entry level positions are in low demand right now. There are many seasoned and very experienced mariners looking for jobs, and the new guys are having a harder time getting work. Some of my buddies have found work as greenhorns, but it took tremendous amounts of persistence and dedication to get the job.

If you aren’t up for sending out countless resumes and hearing the words “not hiring” a dozen times a day, you may want to put off jumping into this industry for now…

Didn’t you just post something in another thread of the same topic that MFOW told you they had a program through which you could ship as wiper?

If that is the case you have your answer so stop shopping for a better one and get your butt in gear. You will find that seafarers can be the most helpful people in the world to those who are willing to help themselves, but that only goes so far.

IF the MFOW has a place for you, passing it up might be the worst career move you ever make short of not enrolling in an academy. It is the best unlicensed union in the US and has the best contracts of any. You wil make more money than you know what to do with but they are not going to come to your house with a job offer because they feel sorry for you.

It is too bad you can’t get stationary work but you said yourself it is because you are not experienced or qualified (how you got that license is a whole 'nuther question) so stop whining about it and get some qualifications and experience.

Thank You for the insight. Same stagnant jobless conditions exsist on shore!


I got the licence form working as a fireman/water tender and oiler on a narrow gauge steam locomotive and self study. After a year of holding a High Pressure Boiler Operators licence, the engineer signed me off to take the 4th engineers licence. I have also read many books on stationary steam operations and had been trying to obtain an entry-level position. There was one entry-level position at a company called “Huhtamaki” here in Maine. The position was opened because the engineer was going to quit his job there but, according to my rejection letter, he decided to “stay in his position”. According to their: “Collective Bargaining Agreement, an employee has the ability to do this and the Company honors and follows the CBA.”? Thanks for letting me know about my bitching. Yes, you are correct!

MFOW? I was told there was a program through which I can ship as a Wiper? I must have missed reading this? I think I got lost somewhere? Where did I post that thread?. Yes I’m a newbe wantabe.


Maybe someone else is posting under your name but here are the posts by someone calling himself DryPipe:

Re: OS or Wiper jobs on the West Coast post #8

[I]“I have looked at the Marine Fireman’s Union in California. They have entry-level apprentice programs that run for 180 days IF you have your TWIC , MMD, Passport, BST certificate and medical records ready for then to look at. This was for Wiper, but they also may have OS apprentice positions?”[/I]

Looking for work as Wiper in Engine Room - East Coast post #1

[I]“I do hold a 4th Class Stationary Steam Engineers licence from working on a narrow gauge steam locomotive, but can not seem to get hired as a stationary watch engineer due to lack of experience!!”[/I]

Yes! that was me. Thank you Steam. I guess I lost myself there for awhile. I must have a little water hammer on my brain! I’m new to this forum stuff.
The Marine Fireman’s Union, MFOW, does have that entry-level WIPER job/program which is designed to be an apprenticeship program. They want an applicant to get all their ducks all in row before they even think of looking at an application. This is the maritime union I have been considering. Here, I must also invest in a BST course for them to consider. This is going to take awhile, but it is worth the time and money! I do like this union as it starts you off in the field where you earn while you learn, so to speak. However they have not posted any statement as to whether or not they have a hiring freeze like SIU has done with their QMED apprenticeship program website.
It would be great if MFOW had a hall on the East Coast because I could not find whether or not SIU has a similar Wiper program like that of MFOW?


hi good evening, im looking for deck cadet, i am 25yo. Currently a regular employee here in davao Philipines, i am willing to become a deck cadet i have already experienced onboarding a ship as a deck cadet in domestic only. I finished study BSMT.

Go to the MFOW website. However, the only entry-level position I saw was wiper. Try to email Sandra Serrano and ask her about deck positions where you have some experience, she is their training coordinator. sserrano@mfoww.org[/email]. She may have more info for you.


I figure once I have got my TWIC and MMD documentation along with the passport, copy of drug chain of title and the BST under my belt, I’ll be able to go out to California and sit down at the Marine Fireman’s Union Hall and register to be called up for to fill a wiper job. I know I’ll then have to get a hotel somewhere close to the hall, and every day walk or cab over to the Hall at 10:00am til 2:00pm and sit there with coffee, bagels and read the local news newspapers; along with listning to the war stories from the other mariners who are also waiting for a call up to fill a vacant slot. Hay, this is Just like in the movie “Action in the North Atlantic”!
And, when there is no call for a wiper that day, I’ll be going over to the local bar with everyone else, who also did not get called, and get good and stiff. Then call a cab, and go back to my $70.00 a night hotel order some Chinese food, and get ready for the next day at the Hall.

I think I just may enjoy this lifestyle. Not too far from being a Union boilermaker welder!