Merchant Mariner Shore Leave

I guess you can start battles you may be able to win on a union boat.(You still lose the war though)

On non-union workboats the minute you start running your head about your “rights” and “laws”, etc., etc.; you just turned yourself into a red headed step child.

Chances are the Master is putting up with more crap than you and the cherry on the top is he has to “baby sit” fellas that want to go ashore.
Most companies let you know right of the bat there is no “liberty” and getting off the boat requires the permission of the office.
To get that you better have a better excuse than margaritas and senioritas.
They look at it like you can sew your wild oats on your “leave” not your liberty (of which you have none).

The office will ambush crew change your ass the minute you spit some diarrhea of the mouth about USC this or Maritime Act that.

They don’t want a “smart guy”.
They just want a man to work on their boat and not cause drama.

No employer needs a reason to fire you anymore in a majority of all US states.
Down the road you go and someone that is more hungry than you steps up to the plate and says nothing but “Yes, Sir / No Sir”.

If there are things in your work place that “have always been done this way” you are better off to leave than to try to change the way things “have always been done.”

There is ever slimmer pickings out there now…more than ever before.
You better have a high tolerance for bullshit and I have always had to have “starvation motivation” to stay on with most any workboat company I have ever worked for.

Crew considerations come well down the line after other major logistical challenges have been solved by the office.
Especially if they are always “tramping” for different companies.

You may well have a “case” in any given situation for any number of laws that are broken on your vessel while you are a crew member.
Go ahead and report sub-standard living conditions, un-seaworthy equipment, working in excess of max allowed hours under Federal Law,…hell even something as simple as trying to get a company to cut you a letter of sea time!

There is no one to enforce a great deal of “laws” that are on the books.
Must dumb ass hawsepipers like me don’t have the money to “retain” a lawyer to pursue anything against anyone unless you got hurt and have a legit claim.

The USCG will maybe take a “statement” from you to pacify you but unless the company is running illegals or dope they don’t care.
All they here is Charlie Brown’s teacher…
Waa…waa…waa, blah, blah…is he done yet?

I have had to take a serious step back and have had many, many months to reflect on both my success and my failures after going on 25 years of service in many different sectors of the maritime industries.

I was watching LBJ or JFK…I think it was JFK that said in a speech (paraphrased and partial quote)…“to do what others are not willing to.”

I got to thinking about my career and when I made the most money.
It was always riding garbage cans in deplorable conditions most people wouldn’t subject a dog to let alone men.

Had to quit to go home and maybe choose another “fly by night, mom and pop op” when you went broke on shore again.

Hell, even the company you “quit to go home” will hire you back when you are broke and desperate.
Then they can get you to do even more shit you would normally never do…because the shoe is on the other foot now and the HR man holds all the cards.

Ever notice how they start being really nice to you when you been on the boat for an endless amount of days and they know you are sitting on a wad of cash?

They wait for you to get home and if you managed to do 90+ days for them last trip then you will probably come back early motivated by implied threats from the crew change man that if you don’t help them out right now you may not have a job to come back to.

“You have to have a high tolerance for bullshit” was one of the smartest things I have ever heard said by a good ol boy that had been a river deckhand for at least 20 years.

How bad do you want it?

That is what I ask the generation of lost 20 somethings that have no 4 year degree and are trying to find a “living wage job” in todays US job market.
They bounce around from one job to the next with no skills to bring to the table and little motivation to show up for work besides the nagging from whoever enables them.

You offer them or anyone else a path to 6 figures per year in as little as 3 years but when they hear then have to spend months upon months away from home 99.8% balk.

Well…they don’t have “starvation motivation”.

I was glad to just get “3 hots and a cot” let alone a day rate to cash out when I left the boat.

I am not going to say how much a started for because every generation older than mine will tell me how much less they made than me.
That topic at the galley table or in the wheelhouse always becomes a pecker measuring contest.

The whole thread is kinda nutty to me to be honest.
Sign of someone that has too much time on his hands or is sailing union where all kinds of red tape has to be used to get rid of someone.

Not so much in the non union world.
They just send you home and never return your calls.
Atrician does the rest.
Hard to make a claim for unemployment if you haven’t been officially laid off.

I see all the new classes that have to be USCG Approved for STCW 2010.
If I somehow manage to renew those by 2019 the STCW will meet again in 2025 most likely.
Shortly after that they will come up with a whole new set of classes that have to be “refreshed” and so on.

I have one or two young men that would make excellent hawsepipers.
But now they have to complete so much schooling to get their STCW 2010 that they might as well go to Piney Point.

It is far too late for them to go to a traditional maritime academy.

The new STCW requirements that are getting ever more difficult for low paid US Merchant Seaman to finance on their own are creating an industry of academy grads only.
That is fine right now while things are slow but what happens when companies can’t fill all the open billets in the next “boom”?

No one except academy grads or foreign sailors are going to be IMO compliant.

The rich can afford it and the foreign sailors don’t have to pay top US dollar to get an STCW cert that says “USCG Approved”.
As long as their certificates cite IMO law then they can get an STCW issued by their home country a whole lot cheaper than an US sailor.

If McCain gets his way I am sure they will have an “exemption” that allows foreign sailors to use their home flag state’s STCW to meet any requirements placed on them to trade from US port to US port.
I wonder if Senator McCain will issue the same exemption to competing US Sailors?
I’ll hold my breathe while waiting for that answer.

I see a whole lot of things getting more difficult and not much getting easier.
It wasn’t so bad back in the day when it was so much easier to “hawsepipe” your way into a rating.

I was grandfathered for some things with STCW 95 but this 2015 is a deal breaker.
It is salt in the wound of a shitty economy.

No one is hiring besides the bottom of the barrel and adding insult to injury you have to have an academy equivalent training level to maintain the license.

How many of these academy grads have the grit to muscle out 25 years in the hawsepipe?

Damn sure ain’t like it was.
Used to be if you busted your ass and studied on your off watch you could fill in the gaps with OJT.
Not anymore…

I wonder how many of the new breed coming out of the US Maritime Academies are going to be willing to work on the trash I have served the majority of my career on to make a buck?
Shit cans that pass ABS and USCG are not going anywhere too soon.

And only the senior fellas get a “new boat”.
If you are the bottom of the pole you get the worn out boat that “used to be new”.

Lice, scabies, bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, snakes, jellyfish, food poisoning, poor sanitation, failing A/C units, diesel & cig smoke for your fabric softener, and on and on…
Not exactly the “school ship” they did their summer term on.

I see some traveling in uniform to and from the deepwater GOM.
Most are wearing Midshipmen insignia probably serving an internship with one of the major players.
Good on them but that is the exception to the rule.

I guess the point I am making besides “You may win the battle but…” ; is Who is going to “do what others will not.”?

I even saw a job add not too long ago that had the balls to state, "No ‘Ol Salts’ need apply."

Who the F-bomb to they think schools the cabin boys?

Who would you rather take your back watch?
An Ol’ Salt that has “been there, done that” for most any situation or some wet behind the ears kid that puts his gumby suit on in rough seas?

I am not trying to be “exclusive”.
Everyone has a place no matter what your experience level.
But it seems a 4 year degree is worth much more than 25 years OJT.
A total reversal of the way things used to be on US “workboats”.

I have even seen the correspondence courses offered now that will reward you an AS Degree in Marine this or that based upon minimum online study, a premium “enrolment and issuance fee”, and your career experience.

I have not seen a lot of companies offering gainful maritime employment listing that a “2 year AS Degree in Marine Whatever” will be an acceptable substitute for a minimum 4 year degree in Marine Transportation or Engineering (or even more advanced degrees).

I am hoping to get in on one more “boom” before I hang it up for good.
However I have not even been searching lately due to the depressed oil economy.
When things start booming again lobbyists fueled by industry money will maybe open the gates to the hawsepipers once again when demand outweighs the supply of “salty” mariners.

Or maybe I am just having another pipe dream…


[QUOTE=Mike Bolinger;189711]
Lice, scabies, bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, snakes, jellyfish, food poisoning, poor sanitation, failing A/C units, diesel & cig smoke for your fabric softener…
One question: where the Hell do you work? That’s 11 “plagues”–one more than the ten the Lord of the Hebrews dealt out to the Egyptians in the Old Testament. Why didn’t you switch over to a union boat? Old Pharaoh got the message eventually, though only after losing his firstborn. Though, I guess, in Louisiana in August having your A/C unit fall off might be worse than losing your first born–especially if he’s got his drivers license.

IMO is highlighting the importance of Seafarer Centers in ports around the world:

Don’t know how relevant this is, since there are hardly any possibilities for shore leave, except maybe during shipyard periods and when signing on/off, (Even then most seafarers are whisked to from the airport a.s.a.p.)

Foreign seamen are not very welcome in US ports these days. How does that affect the standing of USA in this context??

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We are welcome everywhere wether they like us or not. We have money so they either want us to spend it or steal it or some combination of the two.

Yes You are welcome almost anywhere (except where your Gov. don’t allow you to go) but what about other seafarers coming to a US port? Not so welcome these days, I believe?

Where do they allow that? MSC?