OK I’m 54, spent some time when i was young on commercial fishing boats between Oregon, Washington and Alaska out past Dutch. When I was a young guy in HS my plan was to make a life at sea. Friend of the family was an old unlimited captain and was on my way to getting on a Core of Engineers dredge then he got cancer and passed in 6 months. Was going to to Coast Guard but had too much fun and partied past that right after HS and ended up as a machinist and then engineer. Now I’m 54 years old and am seriously considering trying to get on a Tug. Am I nuts? I expect to work another 15-20 years. Although I’m older than the new young guys I’m also very stable and would want to get experience and move up.
It’s doable for you as long as you’re still able and mobile. Work hard on deck, show up for work every hitch, and not be a psychopath and you will move up no problem.
Thanks for that. Luckily going the engineering route I’ve preserved my body pretty well.
Sounds like the next thing I need to do is get my physical and documentation taken care of.
The average 54 year old can be a deckhand or deckhand/engineer. It’s not unusual to have no one under 60 onboard.
For the average 20 something, it’s a little more doubtful.
You can most likely outwork most of the young guys I have gotten in the last few years. I prefer older oilers these new guys are hit and miss.
Not to be partial in any way, but found the older fellows took a bit more pride in their work and knew when to duck, hold on, or both.
Not nuts at all. Hardest part on a tug I’ve found is actually staying in shape. Given all the good food around, its really easy to overeat your daily caloric intake in a 6hr watch. Just keep busy and shouldn’t be a problem…Good luck!
That is a task in itself. Surrounded with the luxury of a designated cook and good budget was hard pressed to stay in shape. As an AB-Tankerman, not too hard. Once I went wheelhouse, I think I was 180-185 lbs. When I retired, was at about 220 or so. I didn’t blame it on the cook. Don’t let your age hold you back. A skilled deck/engineer guy/gal is always welcome, no matter what the age.
You probably have a better work ethic than most of the young guys. If you’re good mechanically, you’ll be fine.
Thanks for all the feedback guys. Couple questions about the next steps. Looking for jobs is it best done going straight to the local companies and or union hall? I live nearest to Portland, Oregon but given the type of week on week off should I be looking in Seattle and other areas in driving distance?
This site has a list of companies. I’d apply to anyone online and follow up with emails/phone calls. Tough to go visit offices/union halls now due to covid. I believe IBU SF is still closed. I know Curtin down in Long Beach is hiring. Network all you can too. As a heads up, I was located in the Bay Area and had a hell of a time trying to get in anywhere on the West Coast w/out an AB for tugs. I did dinner cruises and ferries to build seatime. I eventually decided to relocate to Virginia and got hired no problem. Probably a pay cut but getting wire work and experience for the eventual move back west. Just something to consider. Don’t get discouraged, but it might be a while/require you to travel outside the PNW/ west coast. Most companies on the east coast seem to be hiring at the moment. Good luck!
Is MTVA - Tow masters still a thing? That sight looks like the info is pretty dated?
It’s dated for sure, but a lot of those companies are still around in some form or another. Under the jobs tab…you can also just use google.
This is a difficult time of year to be looking for a tugboat job in Portland or Seattle. There won’t be many jobs until April or May.
No problem playing the waiting game.
What’s the market like in Texas? Wife and I would love to go there at some point anyway.
i didn’t go to sea till i was 45 & wished i’d of done it sooner but moved up fast & retired cme oceans. damn the torpedoes!!