MSC or Tugs

Recent grad. MSC offered me a gig as a third mate. I’m currently with a reputable tug company in NYC as an AB.

Looking for advice in terms of which job would be best for a kid fresh out of school.

Take the job on your license. Advance your license as fast as possible.


Times are tough. MSC won’t lay you off. When things get better then quit MSC. However make sure MSC is offering you a job right NOW. They tend to offer a job then make you wait a long time.

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Agree with all the above. Faster you can upgrade, the faster more jobs open up to you. Getting a clearance helps with shoreside jobs down the road also. Don’t quit your current job until you’re 100% sure of the MSC job though. Good luck.

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Good advice by all above. Sail on your license if you can, get it in writing. MSC ain’t a bad gig, if are willing to put in the time. AB pays quite well too, at least you have choices, some do not in this current environment.

Is there reasoning behind this? I’m assuming it’s just to use the license I have, correct? I don’t plan on shipping for out as a 2m unlimited really

Get the highest license you can get as fast as possible. It opens up future possibilities you cannot foresee. But they are there. Like the man says, you can quit MSC later - but it is the fastest way to get sea time, and it is sometimes quite interesting. When I was there I had some good billets on UNREP dry cargo and tankers, as well as tugs and some fun research boats.


Bigger licenses gets you bigger opportunities. Even if you don’t want to sail deep sea, it’s a faster route to 2/M, which gets you to a 1600T Master, which is the biggest thing you need for any tug.

Why did you get the license if you aren’t going to use it? Go for the bucks if you have to be away from home anyway… If not, quite a few behind you will gladly take your place. Blink twice, you are toast.

All of the above. You’ve sailed on tugs, so now you have that experience. You don’t often hear of too many people sailing deepsea and then going to tugs, so its good you were able to do that and take that insight onto the ships, but unless you aspire to be a tug captain you should absolutely sail on that 3/M license.

MSC will obviously be very different, but what you get is a ton of experience in a short amount of time. You say you don’t plan on sailing 2/M. Most people didn’t plan on getting laid off in April. You might not sail on it, but you are being offered a great opportunity to make yourself more marketable for what ever comes next.

Sail MSC now while being gone 10 months a year doesn’t matter. See the world, get experience, upgrade your license as far as possible, then eventually settle down to whatever you decide you want for a permanent job. They’ll also pay for your Chief Mate/Master upgrade classes which everyone needs now, including limited tonnage licenses.

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It still takes 1080 days as OICNW to get Master 3,000 GT (plus classes and assessments), regardless of what domestic license you have, do that 1,600 ton Master route isn’t very useful anymore.

4 years of sailing ain’t that much., Your paycheck, protect it. If not, all on you. Your bride and kids may appreciate it.

Do you need that to run an inland harbor tug though? Honest question, I have no idea.

Not necessarily, but in that case you also don’t need 1,600 ton Master oceans either. Though a lot of companies prefer to have appropriate outside licensed personnel in case they need to send a tug offshore to assist a client’s ship.

The insurers take a fairly intensive look at your licensed cadre. Keep that in mind.

Thanks for all of the Info man

I don’t think so. I’ve got a 500T Inland Master purely off time, tonnage, and testing. With a TOAR attached to it I can run an inland tug.
I’n definitely no licensing expert, though.

2 things come to my mind right away: Travel and save money as much as you can while you can. I’ve been on and off the water for 30 years and it was a lot more fun being at sea when I didn’t have kids at home I wanted to be a dad for.
Also, it’s possible to lose your license or have it downgraded without recency. (Use it or lose it.) If you decide you don’t like being at sea it’s much easier to downsize than to work your way up again.
Just my 2 cents. Good luck.

Something to really ponder. If you remember the hurdles to get your original license, how would you like to go through that process again? Your call sir. Recency is a big deal for renewing.

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