Minimum Voyage Length?

My job affords me as much as 20 days off at a time, but sometimes as little as a week. I have an interest in working as an Ordinary Seaman aboard a merchant vessel. Am I correct in believing that merchant mariners essentially work as freelancers and are hired for one voyage at a time? How long are the voyages for a deep sea ship?

My ultimate question is: What are the shortest voyages available for which one can be hired? Could this possibly work for me as a second job?


there are very few choices around that sort of schedule. also, most mariners are hired on a steady rotation. again, to fit into your category where you are working less than 21 days straight would be difficult, but there are possibilities. just plan on doing so as something for a little extra cash from time to time. your best bet would probably be doing vessel delivery as a deckhand.

Nowadays (there’s a word from a long, long time ago) most companies ( at least the honest ones with integrity) won’t hire someone for a short time, temporary position. Most companies must spend around 400 bucks just to do a ‘pre employment’ drug test, a physical, and a background check on any potential employees. So your idea of finding short, temp jobs in commercial vessels isn’t a possibility.

Unless you want to find a ‘fly by nite’ job.

Union guys are essentially freelance. When you want work you go sure in the union hall. Contracts are usually 3+ months.

Go pound the yacht fourms and docks as your more likely to find what you are looking for, or better yet just take a cruise. You will not find what you are looking for in the commercial industry, and frankly because you are not looking at this as a career but something to play around with you are not what I would look for on my vessel.

IF you are already qualified, there are agencies that will put you to work for whatever time you want. You could try C-Mar or Oceanwide which are both good for mariners and do the right thing and charge the company instead of the sailor. I hear Wood Group is good for other types of offshore work such as on drill rigs.