New To Maritime Industry

Hello all,

I am new here and new to the maritime industry. I am 23 with no experience in the maritime industry. I recently acquired my TWIC card, and have read through the not entirely clear pathway to obtaining an MMC.

As a newbie and first timer, I have to have sea time to apply for an MMC, yes? Are there any maritime jobs I can apply for that would help me with gaining sea time for an MMC?

I currently work for a company repairing Lenovo laptops, full time job, Monday-Friday. I am not looking to go to school, I’d rather pay my dues and work my way up obtaining experience and required licensing/certifications.

Thank you for your responses.

Twic, go to the uscg website, entry level rating packet and a physical / drug test. Submit everything, then you get a fancy red book. Plenty of threads here spelling this all out but its a tought nut if your blind to it. Go to a local college, get a degree in something useful shoreside, becoming boat trash is not the answer :laughing::man_facepalming:


Boat trash? Doesn’t sound like a nice time heh. I’d give myself five years or so and then move on from working on ships at sea. I don’t have much time for a degree, that route is fading. Thank you for laying it all out though. I really do appreciate it.

Entry level MMC does not require any sea-time. Once obtained take an entry level job, gain a little seatime. Upgrade to AB or QMED depending which route you want to go (deck or engine). You can even sail without your MMC to start, as a deckhand on a crew boat or inland push boat. TWIC will suffice for both. It’s getting harder and harder to get licensed as an officer but 100 percent do-able if you’ve got some drive and some extra $$. Would I recommend this career to my 3 kids? Probably not. It gets harder and harder leaving 3 kids and a wife behind every time. If you’re cool with being away and want to make some decent coin then go for it!

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With a TWIC you can start out as an entry-level Deckhand on inland pushboats or ship-assist tugs (most dont require MMC). Its not as “glamorous” as being at sea but pays the bills. And with the proper training/motivation, you can become a Mate/Master within 5 years.


Is there a reason you want to leave that industry? It seems like you’d have a better career if you pursued something in tech.

You’re only 23. You’re still young and have plenty of time for a degree.


A college degree is fine & dandy but 2-4 years as a non earning student probably isn’t in this hot job market. I’ve always recommended people consider going back to school during recessions when hopefully the fed & states are paying for it & giving grants. The USCG NMC is moving slower than molasses & if the OP did everything right with no delays he could have an entry level job in 6 months. With our fickle industries, who knows what the maritime job markets will be like in 6m-1y? But he could get the same TWIC but spend 2 weeks in a CDL class & be making $50-$80K a year by the end of this month. Might even get more time at home being a trucker too? The US needs more truckers than mariners.

With my current job, it is pretty much a sweatshop for computer repair. Lots of foreigners, we work on lines repairing certain models of Lenovo laptops. The job is demanding and includes people being on our back about when units have to go out by a certain date. Also there are expenses here on land…I can’t get ahead with $15.50/hr - gas, car note, phone bill, food, vehicle maintenance…being at sea allows me to save the money I make for a while.

I don’t have the money nor do I have the time with the filler classes they stick in most college programs. If I’m going, I want to get out just as fast as I got in. I went to a community college for a certificate in Computer Networking that prepared us to take some sort of Microsoft certification and a Network+ certification. I’d rather leave technology as a hobby and save up while working in the maritime industry. That way I can take that money and get ahead on various expenses and pursue other ventures.

Okay, thank you for the information. Whatever gets me into the door. I see listings for entry-level Deckhands in the Houston area. I will have to figure out how to juggle that around my current job or apply when I am prepared to be away from land for months on end.

Are entry-level Deckhands usually gone for months on end? I’d imagine it isn’t like being at sea. I’d have to get my affairs in order here (put more space on my car note and other bills).

Thank you, I don’t have any children nor a family or significant other.
I will look into starting off as a deckhand on a crew boat or an inland push boat. I am 23 and will plan to put in the work until I’m at least 30.

The deckhands where I work typically do anywhere from 2-4wks, guys starting out are around 250 a day, AB is 350ish but everyone makes their own deal. Im not going to deter anyone, I enjoy to watch misery just as much as the next man, its not a get rich quick industry or where you say “Im 30” now Im done, guys typically make it less than 3-5yrs or till death :laughing: I wouldnt base your opinion of the entire industry on the first job you get. Captain I worked with yrs ago posted looking for a deckhand recently, they have very little turn over. I thought it was funny.

My ex runs DMV the next county over, swift and the big companies cant print licenses fast enough, alot of these big carriers are borderline modern slavery. Everyone around here is short for drivers but the insurance company basically makes it cost prohibitive to hire anyone with less than 5+yrs of time.


Deckhands on most inland pushboats work 28 on/14 off, with some being 14/14. Ship-docking tug deckhands usually work 7/7. Dont know where you are located, Houston area?, but lots of openings with SE TX pushboat companies and SELA pushboat and ship-assist companies. Most companies have good benefits, pay for training, have room for advancement and pay ranges for entry level DH from about $250 - $ 300 per day.

I just have a plan to not stay in it forever - same with any other industry. I am not the most strong guy in terms of physicality, but I don’t have a problem putting in the work. My current job has high turnover, they feel and think they can run through people to hire - guess you can in a major city.

Yeah, I went with a smaller insurance company (Farm Bureau) and pay $209 and some change each month. Used to be $197 but it slowly crept up after nearly a year - no claims - no moving violations - clean driving record. It’s a shame it’s legal to discriminate when it comes to credit and insurance. I’m 23 so only a few years left until my insurance supposedly starts to decrease (and I’ve been driving since I was 15).

I have driven across most of the Southeast U.S., 9 hours here, 12 hours there. Trucking however, that is very different. You have to deal with companies trying to screw you over, law enforcement ticketing truckers on the road, the price of diesel has gone up.

Sounds like the individual in that image is too invested into politics and the “culture war” - I don’t participate in that. Won’t be much of a problem for me though, don’t talk much, just listen and stay to oneself.

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Doesn’t sound too bad. I am located in the Houston area - NW Harris County - about 30-45 minutes opposite from the port. I currently make $124 day with $15.50/hr so the mentioned pay ranges aren’t bad - imo.

Threads like these make me miss c.captain :rofl: