Need help finding a job

<P>First off, I’m new to this forum and forums in general. . .so take it easy on me guys. I’ve been reading the comments given to other people looking for help and I’ve been impressed with the level of professionalism I see – usually. Such a rare thing on the anonymous net but, I guess it’s to be expected considering the tradition of mariners helping one another. </P>
<P>So here I go – casting myself into the water so to speak. </P>
<P>I’m looking for some help finding a job in the gulf. I’ve filled out applications with all the usual suspects, posted my resume on the net (,,, rigzone. etc. . .) and made calls to every company I have an application with, but I haven’t had any luck finding a job. I’ve got a 500 Master Any Ocean ticket with STCW but no DP, GMDSS or ARPA. The last time I applied in the gulf (two years ago) I was swamped with offers but I can’t even get an offer from a second tier company. Really, I’d like to go to work with one of the big operators (Chouest, HOS, Seacor, Rigdon, Tidewater,) or somewhere that I could get the additional certifications that I will need, but I’m starting to get desperate and even Abdon Callais is starting to look good.</P>
<P>I’ve been sailing as mate aboard various boats outside the industry since 2001 and I’ve done some relief Captain work. My two years of experience in the Gulf is exclusively as mate. I’m hoping to make the transition to Captain with my next gig–and I know this probably means crewboats. Does anybody have a line on a job. I’m willing to work overseas if that’s what it takes. </P>

You have to have ARPA and GMDSS to sail on today’s OSVs.

You can hire Capt. Kelly Sweeney to find you a gig. He’s awesome and tireless:<br>

GMDSS and ARPA should be done to make yourself more attractive to a company. The DP, some companies have their own class as ECO. Some places may send you. <br><br>But you should get the GMDSS and ARPA on your own if need be. <br><br>Having a 500 ton Oceans is a good start, but as you said, crewboats may be where you’ll have to start. <br><br>But winter is around the corner…

<P>Thanks Capt Rob. After reading your post I’m considering getting the ARPA and GMDSS. I was a little puzzled by Capt. Anonymous’s blanket statement that you <EM>have</EM> to have ARPA and GMDSS to work in the gulf. Not to come across as unappreciative, but I know this just isn’t true. I’'ve worked in the Gulf (as recently as six months ago) and I don’t have them, but I think you may be rite. I could make myself more marketable by having them–they’re just so damned expensive.<br><br>To Capt. Fran. Thanks about the tip on Capt. Sweeney. You couldn’t be more on the spot. I’ve already done some work through Sweeney (I was on a dive boat through him when I got your post) and I couldn’t have been more happy with his relentless approach to finding me work. </P>

I think most of the top tier companies’ boats have GMDSS, therefore you must have it before you can legally stand the watch (usually just one officer on watch). As for ARPA, if the boat has an ARPA, you must have the certification. <br><br>Alot of companies are building boats but they don’t hire until the new boat gets close to launching. So it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. <br><br>Also, with the word out of how “desperate” companies are for personnel, they are getting flooded with applications so they can afford to be a little more picky. They like to see a motivated individual. Anymore it seems that having the license only allows you in the door. Your ACTIONS need to show the recruiters haw bad you really want the job. I recently participated in a recruiting fair for my company (ECO) and there is a tremendous amount of interest by prospective employees. In one day, we took over 30 applications from licensed individuals that were ready to go. We probably had 3 or 4 times that amount from “green” hands. <br><br>My point is companies still need people but they can afford to be alot more selective but from what I’ve seen, if an individual is motivated to the point of making a personnel appearance and is consistenet about staying in touch, they will wind up with an opportuntiy.<br>Good Luck!

<P>Unfortunately, I think your rite. The companies aren’t as desperate as they were a few years ago when I started in the Gulf. Back then, with no supply boat experience, I had five offers in as many days after posting my resume on Several of them wanted to hire me as captain. I refused these offers because I thought they were giving me a rope to hang myself with and took a mates job. I’m still glad I made that decision, but now I feel ready to step up to the plate and I can’t even get a call back-- for mate or captains work.</P>

<P>(sorry, wrong thread)</P>

I didn’t say you had to have ARPA and GMDSS to sail in the Gulf. I said you have to have them to sail on today’s OSVs. <br><br>As mentioned already, if it is so equipped, you must be qualified to operate that equipment. Otherwise your STCW will say “restricted to non-ARPA equipped vessels” and there won’t be that magic line about being certified to sail on GMDSS equipped vessels. <br><br>captmike, did you once own a rusty bronze colored Nissan 4x4 pickup truck at about latitude 21 N?

Negativo there shipmate. Although I probably would have benefited monetarily if I did!

Ahhh…<br><br>There’s another Mike at ECO who did.

I’m headed to the Gulf in a couple of weeks to look for a job. I’ll be hitting all the big companies (ECO, HOS, Tidewater, Seacor, etct . . . ) but I’m not hearing much about any job openings; it doesn’t seem like anyone is hiring right now. I could use some help on any inside information about jobs and who to talk to. As I said in my previous post, I hold a 500 ton Ocean Masters License and I have two years supply boat experience in the Gulf as mate.

A couple of observations for a veteran of the trenches why you are not having much luck…

it’s really pretty simple

  1. the price of oil is dropping
  2. most companies have personnel in the pipeline ready for promotion so are only looking for entry level people
  3. there aren’t as many new vessels coming out as there were two years ago and most of the new ones are larger tonnage
  4. most of the supply and rov vessels require at least 1600ton licenses these days so you are excluded from sailing as even mate on any of those (or do you have a 1600 tone mate?)
  5. have you done anything to possibly piss one your ex employers off in the GoM? (if so then RIP for working down there in today’s market)
  6. you are not from the South and that has always been a hurdle hard to get over working in the earl patch!

It is quite possibly that you won’t be able to find what you want offshore so you might think about sucking it up and taking an AB job on a tug to get your TOAR. You are living in the right place for towing and there are AB jobs available today at some fairly decent companies. Remember how the other guy’s deal always seems to look better than your’s…well it really isn’t. Hell, I’d get out of the GoM if I could, but I can’t take the cut in pay so am stuck in Bayoo LaFlush for as long as I can see and that isn’t a happy thought for me.

good luck

Truer words have never been spoken. I know what you mean about being stuck. I worked on Northwest tugs some years ago and I couldn’t wait to get away. Now I wish I had stuck it out. I’d probably have a decent captains gig by now. But the reality at the time was that no one that I was working with wanted to be where they where–without exception. They all hated their jobs but had got stuck with all the bills that came with a decent income and a sailors idea of saving. I’m going to be hitting the tugboats hard over the next few weeks but I’m not sure I want another three or so years on deck–been there, don that.

I don’t think you’d need anywhere near that long to get back to mate and ultimately to master…

there are alot of oldtimer tugboat captains nearing retirement (I heard the avgerage age on tugs is over 55 these days) and I also know that with the advent of towing endorsements there is a shortage of tugboat mates all over the country. Do your time to get the TOAR and I believe you will find more opportunities than you might expect

my advice is to stay on the west coast and not to come back down here!

cheers mate

I disagree with Guest’s comments. The companies are still actively recruiting, I just participated in a job fair for Chouest. THe HR folks are hitting job fairs all over the country to bring in new blood. The difference today is that the HR folks have literally piles of applications and resumes to sift thru. You need to make yourself stand out from the rest. The key is to have your info in front of them when they need to pull the trigger and hire. After sending your resume, follow up with a phone call, and then follow up with an email every week or 2 to let them know you are still interested. Then go visit them. If you don’t get offered a job on the spot, you will be fresh in their minds when they do need to hire, and it won’t be long. There are still sveral boats under construction and new boats will be coming out every month. Show them you are motivated by showing up in person and keep your name in front of the ones that do the hiring, that is the key.
Good luck!

Thanks for the advice. I’ll be in knocking on the door at Chouest in a little over a week. It would be great to get with a company like Chouest.

Seattle…don’t go running down to the GoM without knowing you can get in the door with a few companies! Receptionists are trained to block people from getting in to talk to anybody if the company is not actively hiring. Trust me…I’ve been there and unless you have an appointment, just showing up may net you only frustration. Before flying down to Louisiana, make a few calls to target companies and see if you can speak with someone first so at least you will be able to drop a name when you walk up to that girl behind the front lobby desk.

For a bit of inside info, I just met a fellow captain just laid off at Fairfield and he told me that it is very slow out there. He took a mate/dpo job for Harvey Gulf but said that he got nowhere with ECO or Tidewater saying that each had a hiring freeze in effect. Take that one as you wish but I do not believe that the doors are wide open down here like they were a few years ago. I still say that you should try to get your towing endorsement if you can find a good company to get on with. There is a whole lot of development about to happen in Alaska and most of that cargo will go by tug/barge units. For more inside info, a good friend and ex shipmate of mine is operations manager at a well established Alaskan based maritime transportation company and he told me they are signing newbuilding contracts right now with lots of future work they already contracted for to do.

best of luck to you


<span style="font-size: larger]Thanks,</span>
I spent the last week running around the Seattle tugboat companies. I filled out applications and spoke to several receptionists but I didn’t get past the front counter. My experience is that this is the case with most employers: they are all very effective at blowing you off–unless they are hiring. Every job I have ever gotten has been with a company in a bind and I had the job before I completed the application. I realize that going to the Gulf is a crap-shoot, but I won’t know unless I go. I’m hoping to walk in the door at some company at the right moment. At the worst, I’m out a thousand dollars in travel expenses but I will have left any employers that I’m able to meet with the impression that I’m serious about working in the Gulf. So . . .
<span style="font-size: larger]
Back to my original question: Does anyone know about a job in the Gulf?

I’m not surpirsed you didn’t get far with the towing companies, since you don’t have a towing license. You could sign on with Crowley or Foss etc as AB out of the IBU hall in Seattle and get your TOAR done and start up the ladder of the towing license scheme. Otherwise you’re probably going to get the cold shoulder unless someone (like Crowley is know to do) will hire you as a training Mate and you can get your towing license that way.
But I want to follow up on my earlier comments to you. Have you at least gotten ARPA out of the way yet? I assume by your username that you’e in or near Seattle. PMI is right there, man, and they give ARPA classes all the time. GMDSS too.
You’re gonna need ARPA at the very least, and if you want a job in the Gulf you’ll need GMDSS. More and more tugs are being equipped with ARPA. Mine has it. I also know that Sause Bros is installing Furuno 2127 ARPA radars on their boats, they’ve put them on the two new ones and plan to outfit the fleet with them. Each simulator at PMI has a 2127 Radar on it, courtesy of Sause. A bunch of their guys trained on the 2127s at PMI two years ago.