MSC questions and seeking advice

I also posted this on the Maritime reddit, figured I’d post this here as well for more advice/guidance.

I put in my app for MSC entry level on Oct 25th, got a call/conditional offer 11/19 for the SU Fast Track position and leave for NEO on Jan 8th/9th, not sure yet. I originally wanted the Wiper position, but I’ll take what I can get to get my foot in the door. I have a couple of questions for people who’s familiar with MSC and such.

1: Would it be possible to switch positions later? I’m after the Wiper advancement path, I’m not saying I won’t do my job properly as an SU or anything, but I’m looking long term, career wise.

2: SRS, is this competitive? I wouldn’t mind getting this as well but my main issue is, I haven’t swam in ages and I won’t be able to practice while doing my duties as an SU. Is SRS like an endorsement per se? Like being an SU/Wiper/etc with SRS cert/endorse?

3: I’m trying to find the promotion path for SU and I’ve been just putting pieces together from the MSC site. The 2 paths I see is the logistics and culinary paths, unless I transfer to another department correct?

4: Overtime, is this something you have to ask for or are you given a limit of how much OT you can have per week?

5: For those that attended NEO, after NEO/training did you go straight to your ship? I’m trying to figure out what all I should bring, the email said you should pack as though you will be away from home for 4-6 months.

6: Any advice on what to bring? I plan on bringing my laptop/ipad with an external HDD with movies. Looking for more input from other people. I’m a little hesitant because I’m not sure if my stuff will be left in the open aboard the ship or we have our own rooms.

7: Can anyone recommend a good steel toe boot/shoes?

8: Any advice on benefits/insurance? I’ve been looking at BCBS Basic. I don’t go to the doctors hardly, maybe once every 3-5 years for a checkup and that’s about it.

I’m sure I have more questions, but these are the main ones for right now, any responses are appreciated.

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Hey welcome aboard -

I’ll try and answer your questions in order -

  1. Yes, when you get to your new ship get familiarized with the day to day and your duties. After you’ve done so I would speak to the 1/ae and the CHENG and let them know you’re interested in moving to the engine department. Volunteer your own time to learn the job, and be proactive and attentive to what you are taught.

  2. SRS is very undermanned and will delay you getting a relief on a ship, additionally it will delay you being assigned a ship as you go to the navy surface rescue swimmer school for this. That bring said there is extra OT for srs.

  3. Yes the promotion path is culinary or the supply side - some SUs have trained with pursers to become pursers eventually - supply side it goes ASK-YNSK-JSO-SUPPO.

  4. Overtime as an SU is basically guaranteed.

  5. From NEO you will go to Training Center East and attend 4-6 weeks of training and then likely get assigned a ship.

  6. Most ships you will have your own room with a shared head. Some will be open berthing though - bring a lock. Just make sure you have things to entertain yourself - some ships spend a long time underway.

  7. Redwings, always I get slip on Moulder boots - super comfortable for 12 hour days.

  8. I have BCBS basic and have had it for 8 years - works just fine and it’s about $80 a pay period.

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What’s 1/ae and CHENG? Googled 1/ae, I’m guessing it’s First Assistant Engineer. As for CHENG, nothing popped up. I’m guessing Chief Engineer? Abbreviation fits. Proactive fits me, I’m the type of person that likes to know how to do everything.

For SRS, do you have to pass the test before getting into the school? I haven’t swam in almost 20 years so I know I won’t be able to pass that portion of the test unless I train.


They generally put you in a training program for 90 days prior to sending you to the school

Look up the MSC 101 Facebook group, it has a lot of entry level personnel who can probably help you as well.

Waiting on request to get accepted to the group, thanks for that.

Hmm that’s not bad then, i’m assuming that during that time, i’m not getting paid?

Or a lot of BS.

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Yes you will be paid during that time but base salary only.

  1. Yes, as recommended, talk to the Chief and/or 1AE. Expect to learn the Wiper job on your own time; probably chipping and painting or moving things around or organizing/cleaning stuff. It all depends on the Chief/1AE, but you could be learning on your own time for quite awhile. Promotions depend on how full the billet is; if they have 110 wipers when they only need 100, it will be extremely difficult to promote you to Wiper. It’s a bit of a crapshoot depending on timing and the people around you.

  2. SRS isn’t an endorsement, but a program within MSC. They were paying a bonus at one point, probably still are, but I’m not sure. SRS have had to get in the water to save refugees, aircraft crew, etc as needed. It’s a lot of responsibility when you’re actually needed. However, some department heads will take issue with the extra money you make because you aren’t needed to save people very often… You can get screwed in many different ways in the SRS program. Unless you think you’re really going to love it, I would recommend staying away.

  3. Correct

  4. Depends on the ship, anywhere between no OT and unlimited OT, depending on a number of factors.

  5. It depends. Plan on going straight to the ship, but be prepared to sit around for a couple months and then go to a ship and then be a couple months overdue getting off.

  6. Versatile clothing, you can end up in the freezing cold or the tropics, even over the course of a couple weeks. You might have your own room, plan on not though.

  7. Go to some boot stores and try a bunch on, get what you like. Also get some good insoles, no Dr. Scholl’s.

  8. Look into a HDHP with a HSA, see if that’s something you would like. Otherwise BCBS is good.

Read up on TSP, FERS, OASDI so you know where your paychecks are going. Visit the OPM website to read up on basic info. Read the CMPI so you understand the rules which apply to CIVMARS.

If that’s the case I highly doubt you’d have the swimming endurance to qualify. It’s a really physically demanding job and unless they have lower standards for MSC crew at the Navy school is an elite unit even by military standards.

If that’s what you want to do (not just for the extra money but really want to do it) then you should be working out daily now to get in shape for attempting it.

Dude we got the same NEO date!!! In Norfolk!

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