I’m coming close to the end of my enlistment in the Coast Guard (NOV 2014), and I’m not ready to say goodbye to the ocean. The ultimate goal was to get out and go live in Arizona near my folks and my brothers, but I can’t bring myself to do it just yet. I have 1.5 years of sea time aboard a 110 ft. Patrol Boat out of San Diego. I conducted SAR, AMIO, Drug interdiction missions and aids to navigation. Easily the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Since then, I’ve been stuck behind a desk in Petaluma, CA. It was the quickest way to go up in rank, but I hate it. Time to get back out there.
My grandfather did 8 years in the MSC after he got out of the Navy, and I got to do a few tiger cruises aboard the USNS Tippecanoe as a kid. I’ve had the idea ever since that the MSC would be a good retirement gig after I got out of the CG. Seeing as I’m getting out early, it’s not a retirement gig, but I want to do it now before I have a wife and kid who would miss me if I up and got underway for 8-9 months out of the year.
I don’t see this being a career for me, but I do intend to do it for a few years, and a good friend of mine is thinking of doing the same thing with me. Am I wrong in thinking it would be a good way to make some money and see the world before I move inland? If not, then here’s some questions for whoever has any good input:
What’s berthing like for an entry level guy? I’m used to 6-20 man berthing with 3 high racks.
Can an OS or an AB learn another watch section on the job? I was a QM on the patrol boat, which I understand is comparable to a 3rd mate. Does that take extra schooling?
How does the Surface Rescue Swimmer qual work? I have an existing cutter rescue swimmer qual, and a swimmer tender qual, and I don’t think they’re transferrable, but I’m not sure.
Who is a fire party comprised of? Are deckhands thrown into some nomex and a BA in the event of an explosion or casualty to be damage controlmen?
How often are you drug tested in the MSC? I worked as a deckhand on a research vessel, and they never tested the deckhands or watchstanders, a few of whom did meth to stay awake during the long work hours, or standing watch on the bridge. I’d like some sort of provision to put a round turn on that crap if possible.
My best friend is COMPLETELY blind in one eye. As in, there’s no way to correct his vision. He may as well not have an eye there. Will he be denied entry because of this?
I appreciate anyone taking the time to look at this, and look forward to hearing your answers.