Looking in Alabama

I live in Mobile, Alabama and I really want to make a career change and get a job on the water. I have no experience and no certifications or training, I just know its something I want to do and it seems like I can make good money the longer I stick with it. I’ve read the “read first sticky” and have searched the forum some to find info related to entry level work and proper documentation, but have some questions still.

First concern: regarding knocking on doors and being ready to take work immediately… My wife and I are both employed (she works day, I work night) and have children that one of us are always with; while I may be able to find a little time to go talk to potential employers, I cannot just walk away from my current job without notice. With no experience, my work/family situation and inability to leave right away do I have a reasonable chance of getting work on a boat?

Next question: is there a place where I get a job on the water without having to spend $ on a MMD, a physical, a drug test etc? Money is really tight right now and all that is going to be a bit costly. I know I have to have all that if I want to work off-shore, but do I have to have the MMD or something similar to work on the rivers/inland bodies of water? ** I do have a current TWIC and can pass a background check, but no MMD and my passport is expired **

Those are my two main concerns/questions- I don’t have a preference (at the moment) for what type of boat I work on and don’t necessarily have to stay in the Mobile area (although if required to move, I would have to have a job/job offer first). I have tried putting applications in online with a few tug/barge companies that operate around here and on the rivers; but I see, now, that is not the best way to get work. I’m willing to work hard, I’m a fast learner and prefer to be able to get as much OJT as I can to get a start in this industry. Can somebody help point/push me in the right direction?

If it helps: I’m 35, college grad, prior law enforcement, and a have basic familiarity with watercraft; I am disciplined and not afraid to bust my knuckles or clean a head. I come from a Coastie family, drove my first boat before I could drive a car, and have always loved reading books about the water/sea…so I feel like working in that environment would just be natural for me- just need some advice from people with experience so I can get started.


-Mobile, AL.