Mariner Pay 2023

New year, new thread…
This time last year in the Tugboat Pay thread there was the best, most accurate accounting of mariner pay I have ever seen. Firsthand accounts of what mariners make at specific companies, instead of rumors. Maybe we can reproduce it for 2023. I’ll go first:

Coastal Transportation Inc.
Operates Aleutian freighters. Vessels about 240’ LOA. 1900-2490 ITC. Crew 8-9.
(Pay averages as of 1/8/2023).
Captains: Average $1003/day
Chief Engineers: Average $794/day
Mates (1M/2M): Average $739/day. Top 1st Mates, high $800’s. Starting 2nd Mate: $550
ABs: Average $459/day. Starting, no Alaska exp. $350
Cooks: Average $396/day. Starting $310/day. (No deckwork required.)
OS/Wiper: Average $282/day Starting $200/day.

Benefits: Travel costs paid. 401k with 37.5% matching on employee contribution. Medical /dental
/ life insurance. 24-day long voyages. Mariners are scheduled into an annual sailing schedule.


100 ton near coastal whale watching: 345/day starting plus 10% bonus and tips which vary greatly but are significant. Job is also advertised at $48 an hour but they don’t pay hourly.

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I just looked at CTI’s website. The voyage description is a work of art.

“The work schedule, when it’s easy, is six hours on, six hours off. However crew members cannot rely on something like that, and it’s not unusual to work twenty-four hours straight, get four hours of sleep, and work another twenty-four.”

“Here are the facts: we have never had loss of life in Alaska, nor have we ever put anyone permanently in a wheelchair. Those are the facts.”

And …“Generally speaking, we say there are three types of weather in the Gulf: bad, worse, and awful.”

And …“The bad news is being seasick is just as unpleasant as you suppose; the good news is it’s usually over in a few days. And you’ll have plenty of work to keep your mind off of how awful you feel.”


If I were 20 years younger …

*also, don’t mean this as a criticism. Just love the bracing honesty and it smells like adventure. And dirty socks, too.


Glad you brought up the work hours at CTI. Here is the work hour data from first quarter of 2022, the busiest/hardest time of the year.


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I love this fact: in four decades of operation in the Bering Sea, in winter and in storms, we have never lost a man to injury or illness on a voyage. Not from accident or heart attack. And we have never put anyone in a wheelchair.

When I first started off in this company four decades ago I was told the trade was dangerous. And yet not a soul dead or crippled on any voyage, coming on half a century. How many maritime companies can boast that?


That’s impressive, especially for that part of the world.

The work hours log is is surprising. Why do fishing vessels, not bound by the same hours as other sectors, track that?

Again, not being critical. Sounds like very interesting work!

Edit: also, I was kinda keying-in on “permanently” in a wheelchair. :joy:

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They’re not fishing vessels. Due to various regulatory history they’re considered uninspected fishing vessels, but they neither operate that way nor do the minimum regulatory requirements.

Freighterman would know better why they decided to track that but they employ a lot of former fisherman and having a work hours log might help in recruiting people interested but wanting to make sure they’re not trading long work hours for long work hours for less money.

It is surprisingly low for the operations they do but I imagine some of those days feel a lot longer.


It’s strictly a company thing. Mostly used for tracking efficiency. The fewer hours needed to work cargo, the more efficient the operation is. But you can’t tell unless you track the data.

The text you cited from the website is old stuff. Pre-2012, when we stopped hand-stacking and lots of at-sea transfers, which was inefficient.

Back in 2012 a voyage averaged 31.5 days long, and cargo days could be 24 hours long with handstacking cargo.

in 2022 voyages average 24 days. Dutch Harbor cargo days average less than 11 hours, operating forklifts instead of handwork. More efficient. Less effort. And very important, better for cargo quality.


Haven’t checked out their website in quite sometime, but i recall how impressed i was with the candid honesty displayed there. You can assume possibly that they’ve had more than enough guys over the years that throw in the towel and possibly gripe about not realizing what they were getting into. I remember under their FAQ there was something about their day rates, someone saying ‘i can make more in the gulf’ and the response was 'by all means, go to the gulf then. ’ hahaha.

If only more employers were half as transparent. There’s a reason why at the bottom of most job descriptions it says ‘other duties as assigned’, but their website really leaves no room for misunderstandings during the hiring process at all.


This is good evidence that most tug companies are not paying enough.


I can think of a couple tug companies operating in alaska that aren’t either.


I understand the trade they are in, but the website says they are regulated as uninspected fishing vessels and the license requirements on the jobs page reflects that.

Come on guys that work on tugs. We won’t have an idea of existing pay unless you post what it is where you work.

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Tall Ship Captain (500/1600 oceans license and masters degree), - $150-200 per day. Annual Salary is 9 months teaching and sailing for $52k. Good times :neutral_face:

Tall Ship Chief Mate (200 oceans mate license and bachelor’s degree): $90-120 per day, paid monthly.

To be fair, many people work elsewhere for part of the year to make it sustainable and are motivated by the educational mission.

Thanks for this thread so I can evaluate my life choices lol.


Sorry to say in my part of the world not much has changed since last time this subject matter was discussed.


Yeah my company gave out raises last year and I have a feeling that will probably be it for a while. We’re pretty fully crewed up as well…

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I’d say thats the same thing where I work. I think we are good on officers, but may need some ABs and/or qmeds.

I left the engine room to go back to a wheelhouse position. Took a pay cut to do it, but i am much happier.

…and according to what i’ve seen on this forum, i’m getting paid competitively for my current position.

Poling and Cutler, all day rates according to the current MMP contract…

Captains 750
Mates with PIC 630
Licensed engineers 630
Unlicensed engineers 623
Mates without PIC 605
Ab 360
Os 330
Dayman 290

Barge captain (I still don’t know what that even means) 550
Barge mate (That either) 466

Since all of our barges are unmanned, I think all the ab tankermen get 466, and os somewhere around 430. But I can’t be sure.

All but one of the boats works in and around New York. The one boat that usually works in the Gulf is on the same contract.


I think this forum is perhaps a valued place for mariners to vent about some of their experiences without fear of retribution from their employers or coworkers, so I wonder if maybe some people aren’t as forthcoming as they might be out of fear of doxxing themselves by revealing details of their employment, like their rank and pay. If there were a better way to submit the info anonymously I wonder if more people would contribute their information.


Understandable. Maybe not post company name or anything identifying.