New Mariner Pay

When i started as mate at Express Marine (1985) the owner told me $100 / day for the first trip and $120 after that. Apparently mates were making one trip and quitting.

I was also told I wouldn’t have to load or discharge cargo in Seattle but that the crew did all cargo ops in Alaska.

My first trip was miserable, for one the northbound cargo was all miss-stowed so the cargo at each discharge port was blocked by cargo for later ports.

For my second trip i told the company I’d load the ship in Seattle to avoid a repeat. Things went better but when I got back to Seattle the company told me nobody was coming to relieve me and wanted to me to run the gear for the discharge.

I called the office and asked what my pay rate was and they told me $100/day.

I went back on board got my bag and walked off. Captain chased me down and asked me to run the gear till they could get someone else so I did. Soon as I got relieved I left.

I didn’t think I could find a worse job but I did, unloading (destuffing) containers at a warehouse (at Pier 91) for small money. When the next mate quit after one trip the company called and asked me if I’d come back and I did, But at $120 / day and no discharging in Seattle.

After my third trip I asked for $140/day and they told me that was more than the captain was making.


We got a good raise in 1970 after it was discovered that Coast Guard families qualified for food stamps.


I think we still qualified for food stamps in the late 80s, in spite of that.

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A shame isn’t it. I had an appointment with my cardiologist this week and he was asking me about my VA healthcare and when he found out I have to pay a co-pay, he said VA healthcare should be 100% free.

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I guess that is why I was told by my father that when he was in the Navy, if you were an E-5 or lower you had to ask for your commanding officer’s permission to get married.

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Something about this bothered me, so I finally got around to looking it up. $120 a day in todays purchasing power is about $213.76, an increase of $93.76 over 24 years. So when companies are paying an OS $325 a day, either they’re overpaid, or we were underpaid.

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Don’t believe the government’s inflation rates, and the calculators of relative buying power. They are usually way off.

These results are based upon the cost of a hypothetical basket of goods bought by an hypothetical family across the entire country. I think it has a strong major urban city bias.

There is a big difference in cost between Appalachia and Beverly Hills, or Anchorage and Tampa, or Seattle and Houma, or Eastport and Manhatten, or Coos Bay and San Diego. Generally, the north is much more expensive than the South and the Heartland is much less expensive that the coast. Rural is usually a lot cheaper than urban, but not always.

Awhile ago I compared the the cost of a $8000 huge Sears & Robuck kit barn in the 1920s to today. The results were laughable. I forget exactly what the calculator said $8000 in 1924 equals in 2024, but it was a tiny fraction of today’s cost of materials for a big barn.

Finished lumber prices are highly variable. During Covid they tripled, but they came most of the way back down. Plumbing and electrical shot way up too, but those prices have not come back down.

We were buying 2” shackles before Covid for $400. In a year they increased to $800 and in two years to $1600. I haven’t bought any lately, but I’ll bet that they have not dropped back to the $500 level that government inflation rates would suggest.


We recently purchased a new tow wire. The amount it increased in 2 years tells me someone’s lying about the inflation numbers. When we got the quote, we checked around for a better deal. Everyone had gone up a lot. More than a 50% increase


The BLS CPI number isn’t inflation. There is no general “inflation statistic” because inflation is relative to the consumer . The usual CPI number cited as a marker of inflation is just the observed change in prices for a set “market basket” of consumer goods, fuel, and housing costs. The theoretical market basket is devised by the BLS stays roughly the same so the prices can be compared year to year.

Actual inflation is relative. The consumer who is 25 years into a 30 year mortgage, who paid their automobiles off years ago, and who gets regular increases in pay, is going to see their housing costs shrink relative to their income. With no car payments their transportation costs are only gas and repairs, and gas in most places is not expensive as it was a few years ago. Hence relative inflation is low because big set costs occupy less of the income.

Contrast this with someone is buying a house and a truck at the same time today. For them inflation is astronomical because these big ticket items dominate their finances, and will for the next decade at least.

Which is why there is only a CPI and no general “inflation “ number.


Another example of how inflation works.

The Alaska fishing industry is hurting right now because of an oversupply of salmon in cold storages but no increase in buying from American public. Hence the price that the fisherman gets from fish buyers is low. Too much supply, not enough demand. Simple market economics.

You would think, therefore, the price for salmon in the store would drop, right? Get rid of last year’s catch taking up all that space in the cold storages.

Nope. Because the store owner figures the public will continue to pay inflated prices for salmon. Why should he drop the price just because fishermen are getting a low price and the processing company is shutting plants down? That’s not the store owner’s problem.

The store owner had to raise his labor cost to hold on to workers. So he’s going to keep the price of salmon and everything else high as long as consumers keep buying. He isn’t going to drop prices even if his cost drops. So, prices are not likely to drop for a lot of things. The effect of inflation gets baked into the economy.


Most of the markup in consumer goods is at the retail level. Goods typically retail for 5 to 7 times the cost of manufacture. This why stores make good money on 50% off sales.

Food and fuel are smaller margin / high volume exceptions.

Once consumers are “trained” to pay higher prices during a period of shortage or supply chain disruption, vendors of consumer goods have little incentive drop prices once supply increases. They price gouge and profiteer unless or until competition forces prices down, or consumers stop buying.

Some major expenses often seem to have a very high rate of inflation: college tuition, autos, durable goods (which are no longer very durable), real estate taxes, insurance, home repairs. Brace your feet for the coming income tax and SS tax hike increases.

Anyone with variable interest rate loans, such as home equity loans, has seen their interest expense triple over the past few years. (Of course it tripled from a ridiculously low rate). Still when a home equity loan payment jumps from $500 a month to $1500 a month, you feel the bite of inflation.

It stuns me that a nice new 4x4 truck with a plow is now over $100,000. It stuns me even more that high mileage old junker fixer uppers are now $10,000.

My neighbor bought a Mercedes. The dealer wanted $800 to change the oil. So he bought oil and a filter and changed it himself. Then, his car would not start. He had to have his car towed to the dealer where they changed the oil again and reset the low oil level sensor with their proprietary computer and charged him $800!

The vendors of consumer goods get more and more creative at stealing from us.

There’s more than one price index:

Here’s Kevin Drum on PCI and PCE (personal consumption expenditure):

Over longer periods CPI is badly off. Without diving into a bunch of niggling details, the best bet for long periods that go back far into the past is PCE inflation.

Some private companies use their own.

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[quote=“tugsailor, post:31, topic:68069”]
My neighbor bought a Mercedes. The dealer wanted $800 to change the oil. So he bought oil and a filter and changed it himself. Then, his car would not start. He had to have his car towed to the dealer where they changed the oil again and reset the low oil level sensor with their proprietary computer and charged him

Profiteering 101: Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Boast of Billions in Net Income After Price Hikes - Accountable US!

Exactly, greed has a lot to do with inflation, so do monopolies.

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