Mariner Wage Comparison

Seems to me that after adjusting for inflation and such the merchant mariners of say 1970-1995 had greater buy power than the mariners of 2022. Can anyone shed some insight ? Make as true a comparison as possible for example ;
1970’s Median Merchant Mariner income 40,000 average costs of a new 4 bedroom 2 bath 2300sqft home in the city on 0.50 acres $80,000 Same house is 2022 1 Million while median merchant marine income in 2022 say $70,000. Prices went up times ten plus while wages went up less than times 2.
That was an example with numbers used for illustration purposes only.
Anyone got any more accurate numbers to share ?

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Anecdotally, because I don’t have the time to look up the numbers, but this is true for everyone. Look at wage stagnation since the 70s compared to inflation. It’s totally true for mariners though.


Your numbers do seem pulled out thin air. But yes, this is true for pretty much all workers except upper %. Many reasons, more 2 income households (more workers for workforce), rise in corruption, increase in lending (can finance almost any purchase), etc. It’s not just corporations, or the gov, or consumers, it’s everyone. Plenty of other low cost of living countries out there though!

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The Fed just printed almost $6 trillion. The wage you earn means nothing, purchasing power means everything


wage stagnation absolutely , Anyone know of someone who left sailing to work shore side ? There used to be a monetary motivation behind going to sea and continue going to sea. However it seems that motivation is getting less and less, because some shore side work pays competitively to working on a ship. So while there is enough wage stagnation to go around, there seems to be a greater degree of the stagnation for merchant mariners. Anyone read anything stating a shortage of merchant mariners ? It seems that if there really was a shortage of merchant mariners, wages would go up, to at minimum give a merchant mariner of 2022 and beyond the same purchasing power as a mariner of the 1970’s.

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are interest rates going up this week…thats a bigger problem

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I did. I do better now, than I did at sea.

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" powerabout
are interest rates going up this week…thats a bigger problem "

 Rising interest rate(s) coincides with my posts, however thank you for reiterating my posts. 

 How about responding with more useful responses. Unless any one disagrees about the wage stagnation in the merchant marine. Can anyone offer solutions ? Are profit margins really that low for shipping companies or could shipping companies do better with wages and onboard crew comfort ? 

As far as unions go, anyone know of a maritime labor union where the union representatives sailed between 2015-2022 ? Or are unions ran by mariners that sailed between 1970-2002 ?
There has been an abundant amount of changes between 2003-2015, evidenced by 46CFR being re-written to incorporate a significant number of changes. Would’nt be nice to have those that advocate to the benefit of the merchant marine to have sailed during a time after the significant changes have taken affect.

European mariners seem to be doing OK as far as pay. If one considers the total compensation they have been doing better than US mariners for awhile.

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A post was split to a new topic: Union sector bargaining vs enterprise bargaining

Can’t speak to other unions, but 4 out of the top 5 officials in the MEBA sailed during or since 2016, and 12 out of the 13 total elected officials sailed during or since 2010

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This is all workers in the US not mariner specific but still interesting.


Real sailing? Or nepotistic easy job/great pay reserved for special people and their children so they can burnish their bona fide on the way up the corrupt union leadership ladder? Only asking for a friend… honestly I have no idea.

After some quick research of BLS data, here are some historical comparisons of U.S. wages: production workers versus sailors and marine oilers.

Production workers= workers in mining, logging, manufacturing and construction.
Sailors and marine oilers= unlicensed mariners in general (not a lot of granular data there).

For each group I applied CPI to estimate what the equivalent wage would need to be to keep up with cumulative inflation from the year in question to March 2022. (Side note: look at the rise in wages between 1970 and 1980, at a time when the CPI doubled.)



Real sailing. We don’t have much of an opportunity for in-union nepotism to get you a cushy job. Junior deep-sea jobs are filled by whoever has the highest shipping card, senior deep-sea jobs are a mix of that and company selection, inland jobs are a mix of those and seniority for transfers.

As far as hiring hall fairness, jobs are called in front of everyone at the hall and anyone can step in to question someone’s credentials or registration. Shipping card dates are posted in a list on the bulletin board at each hall, as well as being registered in a computer system for verification.


Look at truck drivers, real wages have been going downhill since the 80’s

Shouldn’t be an issue if the contracts have annual raises indexed to inflation. I know at least some contracts are.

I read in the latest issue of the Marine Fireman’s Union newspaper that they’re advertising for engine crew. An amazing turn around for such a small union.

Anecdotally, and being recalled from deep-archive memory, I recall a friend who was sailing 3AE on one of the LNG’s in 1976 or so. Something about $96,000 a year for 6-months of work [day-for-day vacation]. Having asked Google the FV of 96k in 1976 dollars, the result was more than 482K.

Ah, those were the days. Better music too.


My youngest brother sailed on the LNG Virgo around that time. He was making bank.