Military to Mariner

Retiring from the Coast Guard and will be driving from Seattle to the South east in search of my next career. I understand times are slow, and many companies have their fleet laid up until otherwise. Nevertheless, one has to start somewhere, and so I am planning on going door to door from Houston to Charleston looking for an opening.
Is there a time of year that companies tend to hire such as Spring/summer or perhaps Fall/winter? I have heard that the winter is typically slow for employment.

Let me be the first to thank you for your career service with the USCG.
I retired from the other water service in 1993 after 28 years.

I believe that the knowledgeable and helpful folks here will note that more info is needed. e.g., what did you do in the CG, what licenses have you earned, what are you bringing to the table when you go seeking that second career?

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You would be a lot better off to stay in the Pacific Northwest. There are jobs today in the fishing industry. In April there will be tugboat and fishing jobs.


Boatswain mate aboard an Icebreaker, only carrying a 200T and AB (unlimited) with STCW, VPDSD, PSC right now. I have more than enough time for 3M, only need time to attend classes. Current Security Clearance.

I second what tugsailor says. Your odds of finding work would probably be better in the PNW especially if you have no problem with working in alaska.

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Tugs on the East Coast are hiring if you wanna go that route…


Crowley has a Military To Mariner program and operates nationwide. Maybe contact them and send a CV.

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What sector of the industry do you want to work in?

What are East Coast tugs paying?

Most of what I’ve heard about for east coast job is much less than the PNW.

Towing, OSV, Research, etc. It would be ideal to find gainful employment in a specific sector of the industry. Worse case scenario, there is always MSC.

SIU has actually been advertising for new union members and claiming that jobs are immediately available.

A current security clearance is probably a big advantage.

You might want to stop by the SIU Hall in Tacoma.

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If you ain’t working, no matter what union, keep your options open, mainly because you ain’t working. Can’t be too picky these days.

AB 250-350, Mates 450-575ish. I gotta believe it’s lower than pnw for sure, but it’s a start. Dawn and Dann ocean I know are looking. Norfolk Tug, ICM, Robbins etc I know are looking too, or so I hear…


For some perspective, I tried for over a year to get on a tug in the Bay Area with zero luck. Networked my ass off and called weekly to anyone who would pick up the phone. This past July I pulled the trigger and decided to move to VA. Had two calls for jobs while driving east. Was on a boat within a week of moving. I got extremely lucky, but there are way more operators on the east coast period and they are almost all willing to hire you once, sometimes twice… I’m just glad to be working and gaining experience, which is all I was hoping for in SF.


It’s also way cheaper to live on the east coast

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If you drive through San Francisco, check with Westar Marine at pier 50, a company I worked for years ago during the expansion of the airport runways. I just looked at their website and it looks like they’re expanding.

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Deckhand- job post

Houston Pilots

-Galveston, TX 77550

Here’s one to get you going.

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Not necessarily…thats close to the pay range generally speaking.


Lots of union crewed government ships that require security clearances and not enough mariners with those. I don’t think you’d have any problems finding a job once you get your 3M.


It’s pretty easy to live on the East Coast and commute to the PNW to work. A lot of people do it. The hitches are often long. Most companies pay travel.

The cost depends on where you live in the PNW. Seattle has become very expensive, similar to Boston, but an hour or two out isn’t too bad. Certainly not as expensive as anywhere in Mass, CT, or RI. No state income tax in Washington either.

The PNW is certainly more expensive than most places in the South.

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