New Mariner Pay

I was having a discussion the other day about how pay has changed in the last 25 years. I started off making 120 a day as an OS with no documents. Just curious what the OS pay is in the industry nowadays. Tugs, SIU, whatever… Appreciate any “back in my day” stories also

19 years ago I was doing 185 a day as an AB / Crane Operator in the GOM. I was pretty proud of myself. I had come from 5 years ago n research vessels making between 9-14 an hour, but enjoying every minute.

Pay goes up and comes down but the price of eggs stays up.

From what I have been seeing in GOM pay for 100-200 ton Captains is between 450-600 depending on the job scope. Maybe 500-700 same tonnage in towing higher in dredge support. Seems towing are the ones looking the hardest for crew.

Unlimited tonnages deck licenses I can only go by hearsay.

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For tugs/osvs anywhere from 250-300 a day depending.

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HB $465 AB unlimited OS I think 295?

There is data in this thread:


First job as a deckhand (holding a new 3rd mate license) on a tug in 1985 was $60/day, about $175 in 2024 dollars.

My next job a month or so latter as deckhand on a union tug was $180/day or about $525 a day in today’s dollars.


Thank you. I guess i was feeling nostalgic this morning, thinking about what we did for work for the pay we received. Now everyone makes more and seems to do less haha

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Every generation has said that. But the curious always seem to educate themselves one way or another and things keep working. Wheat separates from chaff now as surely as it always did. I have confidence in the youth replacing us. If they cannot that is our fault not theirs. Education and values instilled by parents are key. Most folks on this forum know this and raise the next generation accordingly. We’ll be fine


Currently Fed pays OS $215 for 8 hours day

Can’t compare a dollar thirty years ago to today’s.


First job as a 3rd mate ADPO with TOI: $19.24/hr. (86hrs per week= 40 regular, 46 overtime pay and half) 22 years ago.

Truth, look at big ticket items (housing, education, healthcare) all dramatically higher. To be fair, we do have instagram now so a nice luxury for sure…

Right out of the academy in 1984 my first mate job on an Aleutian tender vessel ((Coastal Transportation) paid $140 day. About $422 in 2024 dollars (using BLS inflation calculator).

Nowadays the same position at the same company pays on average $768. (Though I wouldn’t be a chief mate right out of the academy today, so probably more like $550).

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1977 as a mate on a AHTS vessel in Alaska made $100 a day with $20 a day bonus if you finished a 6 week hitch.

Late 90s on charter sportfishing boats when i first got my 100 ton, 80 dollars a day plus tips.

Early 2000s, first job running a 50 ft crewboat i was making 170 a day. I was very content at the time as my biggest concern was partying when i was off.


$70 a day as an oiler in ‘97 on a tidewater tugs (anchor handling), they make a good bit more today, I think deckhands make at least more than twice that at my company, and that’s said to be $365 a day, but I think that’s high, maybe it’s AB’s. I saw all those old tidewater tugs working for other companies up north when I worked for Bouchard (‘00-‘04). When I think about what I willingly did for that $70 bucks a day before I got my Qmed, and moved up to $115, I laugh. And the characters on those boats…phew. Sea stories galore for that.

first ‘real’ job (not working for my dad on his fishing boat) was as galley hand on a party boat (os- no documents). I made $20/trip + tips, 2 trips/day every weekend. Would have been about 1974. That was good money back then, rent for an efficiency apartment was only $80/month with all bills paid! We also had “free” healthcare at marine hospitals which was a benefit I really wish we still had and appreciate it more and more every year as I get older (even tho they weren’t that great to deal with, at least we had something for emergencies and weren’t tied to a job we hate- like so many are now)

20 years ago McAllister started OS off at varying levels of pay. Some guys came in off the street at $120 a day and a week later another showed up at $100… then someone else would randomly show up at $150. Absolutely no rhyme or reason. Makes me wonder if that outfit is still as backwards and ghetto now as it was back then.

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Coast Guard E-2, $52 every two weeks. 1969.

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When I joined the Army, I made $572 a month. When i went back in the Guard in 2004, I was struck by how much the pay had increased