I’ve got a few questions to ask but ill start with a little background.
Currently working in a dead-end factory job for the last 5yrs where I’m technically unskilled labor. The company where I work trained me to do a job that only they, and their competitors need and forced me into a non-compete contract. AKA I’m only worth money to them. They have me by the shorthairs, and if they want, they can take my pay and I’m back at entry level in another factory, in a different industry. Not two months ago, I heard it through the grapevine that the management is buying Astroglide by the gallon and eyeing me in a less than friendly way in an effort to cut labor costs. Naturally, I’ve been looking for a change in career which led me to the Maritime industry and in turn, gCaptain’s forum.
I started googleing information about maritime jobs. See all this marketing spin about the SIU and other similar establishments. Learn a little about the academies and how Me being 28 is too old for some of them, and how other schools charging $30k annually is a tad too expensive and I’d have to take money out of my personal milk and knitting yarn fund for me to consider jumping back into college. Academies are out of the question or at least a last resort as far as I’m concerned. But these “unions” may be an option, I’m 28, smarter than the average bear, debt free, in reasonable physical condition, accustomed to working 12hr shifts regularly, don’t mind being away from my family for extended periods, handsome, rugged, courteous, well-mannered, the list goes on. I could probably sail through one of these programs with relative ease, but I have reservations about it and a nagging BS alert on my radar.
More googleing and the funny thing is, you cant find any recent info or opinions about them. Sure, they have websites and make claims like “Guaranteed job after completion” “such and such rank in union upon completing course” “I swear I’m a virgin” “Graduates will receive an AB rating” “I’ve only been with two guys” “Free of charge, applicant only pays for uniform” These quotes also seem like the type of things companies would use to entice gullible people. Which leads me to my first series of questions. Of all the BS they’re spouting what is the truth in their claims. Am I going to be able to go through one of the schools and walk out with an AB or QMED rating on my MMC and a rank in a union where I can bid on jobs. What kind of jobs and for what companies? I don’t care if they’re short or long rotations, or if they’re hard or easy jobs. They don’t list the companies they staff for, where I’m looking. I’m hoping the diversity of people in the industry on gCap can shed some light on this for me. I’m not trying to piss off or disrespect the unions and their members, there is just not a lot of information on their websites available to me it seems like everything is hidden behind closed doors.
Say I go another way and I get my MMC and want to get work as an OS working my way up as high as i am able. I researched for hours, hitting up all the big “job sites”, and “careers” sections of shipping companies looking for jobs. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but there aren’t many posted. Are all of these staffed by the unions or is there no demand? Whats going on here? Even if I look for jobs that need an AB unlimited or limited jobs very few jobs are posted. Are they only through unions? Am I asking the wrong questions? There are plenty of random guys on the internet trying to sell E-books on how to join maritime for like $10 or so but I would bet my bottom dollar they’re a scam. Any help is appreciated here.
Another option I looked into was drilling work, found out that drilling rigs are sea vessels. Can you claim sea-time on drilling rigs on your MMC? I’m still in the early stages of looking into this job. Sorry if I’m a moron.
I see a lot apprentice programs for maritime jobs in England but I don’t think foreigners are allowed to apply. Is there anything like that in the U.S. of A? Any foreign schools that do that sort of thing that accept Americans?
Is maritime all its cracked up to be? I don’t think im romanticizing this career and trying to sell it to myself I understand that it is hard work and that is what I’m after, work. It is just work that I think would be “better” than where I’m at currently. Additionally companies cant take away sea-time and training you’ve completed so you can’t work. Any myths you want to dispel for a greenhorn? Please, show me where I’m thinking wrong or correctly. You don’t have to hold my hand just point me in the right direction. Provide me any resource you see fit to help learn about the industry.
Final question, How long in the industry before seamen stops being funny.