New to sea and looking for advice in getting into the engineering track

Howdy. After a year and a half of being unemployed and not having any luck, a friend who’s an oiler for the state ferry system presented me with the idea of trying to work at sea. So, after looking at the options , I figured the Wiper would be the best place to start but I’m willing to take anything to get my foot in the door and transfer to engineering. My hope is to become a 3rds in 3.5-4 years and then reassess my options to see where I stand. I’ve got a BA in History, an AA in Information Technology, Eagle Scout, been deployed to Red Cross disaster relief operations and served in AmeriCorps for two years. So I feel I’ve got some options later as if I follow this I’ll have my 3rds in my early 30’s and I need something that pays. I’m also not tied down by family or a house so extended work away from shore is just fine. But I was hoping some of the folks here could help me with some advice to help make the best decision possible.

Now I left a message for NOAA a little earlier today to get that ball rolling. I’ve also called MSC but they aren’t looking for anything entry level at the moment and they don’t know when they will (neither the recruiter in person or the one over the phone had any clue). I’ve also got a contact who’s husband works for them but he’s to contact me later in the week. My preference would be to work with these organizations as I just got my MMC/TWIC but I’ve heard they help with your STCW training/cert. I’d also prefer the MSC as their ships generally have more horsepower, I’d get the mechanical and steam certs while seeing more of the world. NOAA on the other hand is hiring at the moment but I’d rather not get pidgin-holed into small diesel ships that I have to work out from. So… Is this not such a big deal? My friend claims it isn’t but I’m still a little confused about how I’d be able to get from limited horsepower to larger horsepower if I’m lacking the 60% sea time to go unlimited. I’d like to be an oiler with options of working towards a 3rds on a range of ships if possible. Are there any other groups I should look at besides these two? Any other nuggets of wisdom about starting a career/things to look towards getting certified in/whatever that I should take into account would also be wonderful as well.

Thanks for your time and I hope to be joining your ranks soon.

PS: I think this is the right forum for this as I’m looking for career advancement advice. So if it belongs somewhere else I’d encourage a mod to move it.

[QUOTE=Ominous Fish;65886] My hope is to become a 3rds in 3.5-4 years …[/QUOTE]

There is an old saying about hoping in one hand …

If you figure out how to hawsepipe your way from zero to 3 a/e in less than 4 years you can get rich selling career development seminars in your spare time.

It looks like you might be a good candidate for one of the missionary ships. Living on one of them full time for a few years might give you enough creatively written discharges to get started.

Try to get a job on anything you can first. Don’t limit yourself to MSC/NOAA, try tugs, supply boats, ferries etc. Getting on entry level is hard it seems these days. Get some experience on anything to put on your application or resume. I know that seems obvious but I’m just throwing that out there. Some NOAA vessel I’ve seen are the same size as large OSV’s so “working your way out” of limited vessels is an option. You can achieve your goals in the oil field. You can probably get a DDE to Chief Limited on tugs. The leap to third won’t be hard from there either. It will probably take you 5 to 6 years to get the 3rd a/e you want. It’s not just a matter of sea time but also the required classes that have to be scheduled during your time off etc. The hardest part for you right now is getting on as a wiper somewhere.

Thanks for the advice! I’ll adjust my timetable a little bit then as I was hearing it only took three years of time on the water. I didn’t realize that the classes added that much time onto it. :confused:

I’ll keep looking around then for wiper jobs but as I said, I’m willing to go for just about anything at the moment to prove myself and get my foot in the door.

You’d be batshit crazy if you spent 3+ continuous years at sea as a wiper/oiler. Plan on no more than 8 months per year of sea time. I did it as OS/AB/Mate back in the ancient times (10+ months per year at sea for 5 straight years) but I don’t think many companies would let you do that now. I second the advice, Just get on anything you can for now.

The classes don’t add that much. Three years sea time is not the same as three years working. If you work 12 hour watches on a 2 for 1 schedule on a boat that is allowed to work 12 hour watches then you actually get 360 sea days for every calendar year. Count on it taking longer and be surprised.