Mariners Licensing Factors

As I understand it, the Brits have comprehensive written exams and assessments followed by oral exams. They keep all the questions a secret too.

It’s not that big a deal,1600 Masters take your 3rd Mate exam get issued a 3rd with a tonnage restriction get it lifeted and be done until it’s time to test for your C/M. Thats what I did, is it convienent or easy no, eaither was earning a DP Unlimited or a Master of Towing. If mariners want it you have to fight for it, earning $150,000 and up for 6 months of work comes at a cost. If I did it the hard way so can you,think of the 3rd exam as a prep for the C/M, this post was not directed at any one mariner. Could our system be better ? of course!

Those of you who have been working in the oil patch for past few years have been in the right place at the right time. However, the oil patch is not the entire maritime industry in the US. Not everyone is working in the oil patch where there are suddenly a few 3000 and 6000 OSV’s with special 84 day company run large OSV training programs for special OSV only restricted licenses that provide an upgrade path to an unlimited license.

There are a lot of places around the country that are more interesting and fun to work than Fouchon. Some of us like going to different ports that are not all armpits. Some of us like paid travel, carrying pocket knives, fishing poles, not wearing steel toe boots in the pilothouse, not doing lots of silly oil company required paperwork, going ashore while off watch, and being treated like adults with a lot more respect than is commonly available in the oil patch. Also, not so long ago, the oil patch was one of the lowest wage places to work, and most people working elsewhere were making more money.

There are many more mariners on tugs around the US, than on OSVs in the oil patch. There are very few tugs over 199 tons. However, 199 ton tug time while holding a license as 1600 ton master and handling 10,000 ton barges does NOT count at all toward a 3rd Mate (not even with a 2000 ton limit). Some ATB time does partially count the combined tonnage of the tug and barge, but not everyone can sail on an ATB either. There are a very limited number of ATBs.

There are very few vessels in the US between 1600 tons and 2000 tons relative to the number of mariners with limited licenses, and almost no 1600 to 2000 ton vessels outside the oil patch. So its pretty hard to get that 2000 or 3000 ton limit lifted outside the oil patch.

Do you really want a lot of mariners from all over the country flocking to the oil patch because it is the only place where they can upgrade their licenses? Don’t you think that might put a damper on oil patch wages which have really gotten way out of balance with the rest of the maritime industry, including deep sea?

Some of us also like making $850.00 per day or more. So Fourchon it is.

Some of us can make that deep sea as well.

[QUOTE=ElCapitan;99513]Some of us also like making $850.00 per day or more. So Fourchon it is.[/QUOTE]

Absolutely. The Gulf is top money now. You are in the right place at the right time. For $850 a day I can give up doing things that I like and put up with Fouchon too.

Business cycles come and go, and things are always changing. At one time NYC had the highest wages by far, now its quite low compared to several other places. The last time I left the oil patch I doubled my salary by going to tugs outside the Gulf. Today, one can leave tugs anywhere, and work up to a 50% to 100% pay increase on an OSV in the Gulf. Eventually wages will rise elsewhere to compete. Eventually, wages will fall behind in the Gulf. Then it will happen all over again and again.

[QUOTE=“tugsailor;99454”]As I understand it, the Brits have comprehensive written exams and assessments followed by oral exams. They keep all the questions a secret too.[/QUOTE]

I believe that no matter the testing style it will only serve as proof of book knowledge or basic knowledge. It is still up to company management and senior mariners to decide if a mariner is capable of performing their job.

[QUOTE=“Kennebec Captain;99208”]The road vehicle analogy doesn’t get you too far. There are learner’s permits, motorcycle, and commercial DL. The variation in vessels is vast but the number of categories of license is not that great. The main division are tonnage and route. TOAR recognized specialized skills as does PIC for tankers and special for license for passengers.[/QUOTE]

Actually, road licenses almost exactly parallel marine licenses. They license tonnage with a few specialized endorsements for the type of vehicle as well as the tonnage (passenger, tanker, and hazardous materials).

Same exact view I have. Its up to us guys to be more proactive in onboard assessing and onboard training. The license just gets you through the door with HR, the people onboard need to be more responsible for weeding out weak mariners and then deciding whether they are trainable for the job at hand or a waste of time.