New to the Merchant Marine Industry looking for guidance I have a degree and sea time

Hello everyone at gCaptian. I have been lurking the forum for a few weeks now. I hold a valid US Passport, and I just received my TWIC card. I just took my urinalyses yesterday. I will be submitting my MMC application as soon as I get the results. I do not see any issues getting my MMC approved, but I am still real foggy about the details and license structure of the USCG merchant marines. I will try to sum up my experience as concisely as possible. Please give me any input or recommendations you might have about licance application.

I am a 36 year old man. I am a former U.S. Marine. I am located just south of Jacksonville, Florida in the little sea side town of St. Augustine. I was raised here, and it is my plan to keep this as my home of record. I have worked with a friend who runs a 55’ sport fisher for three summers now as a deck hand and mate. Honestly I did not do much but tend lines and bait hooks for the charter guest. It is a fairly large charter company with 5 charter vessels and a commercial fishing vessel. My point is the captain of one boat (good, good buddy) said he will sign off on at least 360 days of sea time as that is about what I actually have on the boat over 3 to 4 summers. He wants to give me more and said the commercial vessel would give me more relevant experience, but I did not honestly serve on that vessel more than 10 or 20 days…… [B]FIRST QUESTION: Should I take my buddy up on his offer to write off a bunch of my sea time? I hear it is some what common. [/B]

As I said I am a 36 year old guy. I have not had a full time job for 3 years now. I was laid off in 2008 and have not been able to find good work since. I decided to change career paths, and Capt. Buddy is stoked to hear. I surprised him with my TWIC card and MMC app. I am a Civil Engineer by training, and I have my E.I.T. (8hour engineering knowledge test, it’s a real b.f.d. in the civil engineering and consulting field and not everybody gets the EIT) I graduated from the University of Florida in 2004 with a BS in Civil and Costal engineering. I was laid off in 2008 and have been unable to find full time employment. I feel like the online application system is flawed and not useful at all, and if you don’t know anybody then you can’t get your foot in the door on land. So now I’m a washed up civil engineer, all I do is surf, fish and try to scrape by. I decided about 3 or 4 months ago to become a merchant marine. I know a few guys that are in the industry and they seem like they are very happy and like their jobs more than most. [B]SECOND QUESTION: Will my Civil Engineering degree help me in the merchant marines?[/B]

Basically I have no idea what I should do as far as applying for my MMC. What license or rating should I try to get with 360 days of sea time? What should I do if I want to take advantage of my civil engineering and construction experience? I know hydraulics, pump curve theory, I can read plans and specifications and much much more. I feel like I can be trained to do most any job. I have a strong back and can work like a dog.

Please let me know if I can provide any other details that may be relevant.

Section VI - Certification and Oath
Certification (Mandatory)
Whoever, in any manner within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States, knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or
covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or
uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry, violates the U. S.
Criminal Code at Title 18 U. S. C. 1001 which subjects the violator to Federal prosecution and possible incarceration, fine or both.
I certify that the information on this application is true and correct and that I have not submitted any application of any type to the Officer-inCharge, Marine Inspection in any port and been rejected or denied within 12 months of this application.

There is practically no one with a MMD rating that has not been signed off on sea time they technically did not do. Tied to the dock is not “time underway” but a ton of people working 28 days get a company letter saying they had 28 days sea time. IF the USCG strictly enforced this rule there would be a lot of people and companies officials fined or imprisoned.

Get all the sea time you can legitimately argue you served, including the commercial vessel.

360 days is enough for an AB Special and master nmt 100 tons. Definitely get the AB if you can afford the school, or try to get on with a company like ECO who has a training center and will provide you school for free.

[QUOTE=tengineer;65976]There is practically no one with a MMD rating that has not been signed off on sea time they technically did not do. Tied to the dock is not “time underway” but a ton of people working 28 days get a company letter saying they had 28 days sea time. IF the USCG strictly enforced this rule there would be a lot of people and companies officials fined or imprisoned.[/QUOTE]

I have been sailing as a master for 16 years. In all of that time I have NEVER signed a discharge for a single day of underway time that was not for actual underway time. Not Once. I have never worked for anyone that padded seatime, though I have heard of it happening. I have had plenty of people say to me, “Captain So-and-So would sign these extra few days I need off for me.” I would then politely suggest they go and ask Captain So-and-So if HE would like to be party to fraud on their behalf.

To the OP, as Capt Phoenix said you might be eligible for an AB special.
You need to crawl through all this if you haven’t already:
You also need to decide if you want to go deck or engineering, if engineering (and the employment outlook is better for engineers) I’d just get my OS try to get on a crewboat as an unlicensed engineer.

Thanks for all the info guys. I really am an honest person and my friend was just trying to help me out. In the end it is my responsibility, so I’m just going to use my actual sea time. I have been told engineering is the way to go by several people.

Except all your sea time is deck. So I’m not sure how well that will carry over. I would say do what you will envoy the most, not what people tell you is the best career move.


In a place the size of Jacksonville, there should be qualified people who can give you good advice.

I think that your training and EIT might be very valuable to dredging and marine construction companies — without any USCG license at all. Especially, if you are also, or can become, a LSIT. With the right experience working with the engineering staff at a marine construction company, you should eventually qualify for P.E.

By all means go ahead and get whatever license you can with your 360 days of legitimate deck time. It won’t be much of a license, but its a start. (I started with a very small license for a very limited route). You don’t need much of a license to run some of the small boats that are often used to tend construction barges.

I don’t know if small charter boat time is creditable toward AB or not.

Nothing says that you cannot hold both a deck license and an engineering license.

Also, there are special USCG rules that are VERY advantageous to people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees or engineering technology degrees . Unfortunately, your degree is in civil instead of mechanical or electrical. However, the academic differences between civil and mechanical are not all that great — maybe 30 to 45 credit hours. You might be able to go back to your college and get a second B.S. in mechanical engineering technology in about one year. Better yet, you and the college might also be able to convince the USCG to accept a one year M.S. in Mechanical together with your 4 year B.S. in Civil. Then you would only need 180 days of sea time over 4000 hp to sit for 3rd A/E unlimited — an excellent upper level license.

I suggest that you also contact the maritime academies to see if any of them might have a second degree, or MS degree program that would qualify you to sit for 3 A/E. I believe that SUNY has a one year MS program for college graduates that leads to a 3rd Mate’s license — an excellent upper level license.

Going back to school for a year on government grants and/or student loans while you wait for the economy to recover wouldn’t be so bad either. It would take 3 years of sea time (probably over a six year period of time) to get to the same place in your seagoing engineering career — by just going to sea. Going back to school for a year sounds like abetter deal to me.

I understand your anxiety about common industry practices. i recommend you read the good advice here 1st and then get local friends to help. I live in Cocoa, Florida and I think my old company would love to talk to u. See if G captain will let you find my email. I’m overseas right now. try drc1966md at TTYL. dont misrepresent your experience. people get hurt that way.

There’s no harm in documenting legitimate sea time. Better to have it and not use it. You can use this form: If you have 360 days, you can get a license as Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV, aka 6-pack). This is probably the license the guy you worked for has.

Your negineering degree could only be applied towards an egineering officer license if it was from an ABET accredited program mechanical or electrical engineering. See 46 CFR 11.516(a)(4) and (5).

Tugsailor, Thanks for guidance. I am hoping to find a job with a marine construction co, but I have become very skeptical of the entire engineering and construction industry. It seems like they are hiring foreign workers with cheaper salary requirements. I laugh when I hear our leaders say we need more technology and engineering grads. I personally know at least 10 engineers who are out of work. Electrical, civil, or mechanical, it does not matter. All engineering fields are hurting, and the salaries are just getting lower and lower with all the engineers out of work these days.

That said it has been a personal goal to get my professional engineering license(PE). I have the training time required, but looking up people from 6 or 8 years ago to right me a recommendation is difficult, and I just don’t have the motivation at this point. One day it will happen. Right now I am focused on setting sail any way I can. I just want to get my feet wet, and get back to work. What is the LSIT?

DRC1966 I will contact you soon!

I just want to say thanks for the great responses. I have received several PM’s with leads and contacts. I will be following up on all of them.

I would also like to have someone with experience look over my resume/cv in the near future. I am trying to adapt it to the marine industry, and I’m sure much of my land experience is not applicable, but… who knows.

A job is a job. Definitely list your engineering degree and your job as an engineer. It shows you are smart, employable, trainable, and promotable.


A couple thoughts.

In Jacksonville, try Manson Construction (a major nationwide marine contractor with a very impressive fleet).

Manson Jacksonville Office

4309 Pablo Oaks Court, Suite 1
Jacksonville, FL 32224
Phone: (904) 821-0211
Fax: (904) 992-0811

If Manson isn’t hiring and doesn’t want to interview you. Why don’t you see if someone there will at least give you an “informational interview” to evaluate your resume and point you in the right direction. You might do some internet research to see who is working there and where they went to school. You might have an alumni contact there.

LSIT is Licensed Surveyor In Training. I know things differ from school to school and state to state, but I’ve worked with Civil guys that have LSIT. Although there is a lot of variation in different areas of the country, anybody (licensed or not) that can operate a total station and a survey quality GPS, a data collector, and AutoCAD, and is willing to travel, is in demand.

Yes your seatime on the charter boat does count and it is legitamite. Your friend would need to fill out the small vessel service form to document the sea time.

So far you are taking all the correct steps. I agree and recommened you get the AB ticket. The only down side is that you will not be able to sail internationally on the AB ticket until you recieve the STCW requirement of RFPNW. If you would like assistance in understanding the ins and outs you can contact any maritime school they would be more than happy to help guide you. You can contact a school near you or here at Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy in Virginia and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Good luck!

That’s good news that I can use my charter time as sea time. I spoke with my friend and both vessels are over 50 feet and he said I should get the AB if I can. I am scheduled to take the STCW class at MPT in a few weeks. I just got my UA results, so I’m sending in my MMC app as soon as I take my oath. I am hoping to get my MMC some time during the week of the STCW class.

MPT sounds like a great school, and I am really looking forward to speaking with the staff. It sounds like they have some carrear counslors with industry knoledge. What do you folks think about the yacht side of the industry? hows the money and employment outlook?

You work 10 - 11 months out of the year on the boat and clean constantly. You are “the help”. I have heard about layoffs because of the down economy as well.

Your friend would need to fill out the small vessel service form to document the sea time.

DId the Coast Guard remove Civil Engineering from the reqs for a Marine Engineer’s license? Looking at the checklist now, it says Mechanical or Electrical ABET accredited school with 180 days sea time for 3rd Assistant Engineer. I know Civil Engineering used to be part of that. I’ll do a bit more research and see what I can find.

Edit: Looking at the CFRs, looks like just Mechanical or Electrical Engineers.

I’m not an engineer, and I don’t even play one on TV. The only reason that I happened to be aware of this nontraditional route to a 3rd A/E is that I knew a mechanical engineer who used it.

I have worked shoreside on projects with civil and mechanical engineers and surveyors. I have a couple engineers in my family.

Update: I sent my MMC application in to the NMC last week. I am scheduled to take the STCW training class in 2 weeks. I have been in contact with a good friend working in the gulf. He had me email him my resume and a cover page. He then cc’d me on a glowing recommendation he sent to their company h r rep for a roust about position in the DP section. He’s on a semi submersible rig. My question is; is this where I want to be this early in my career? Will I get sea time on a semi submersible? What kind of compensation should I look for? I can work like a dog, so conditions are not a big factor. I do have other possible options, but all I can do is wait for my MMC and see what happens. I know a fellow who is a captain on a research vessel out of Seattle, and he has called me every week to see if I got my MMC yet. We had a few beers about two weeks ago, and he was very excited about my opportunities. I’m not sure if I should jump at the first opportunity if it’s on a drill rig, because I have no idea what’s what in the industry. What do you gentlemen think?