Newbie looking to grind and travel!

Greetings, I’m new to the Maritime Industry. I work for a towboat company as a deckhand and recently applied for my Merchant Mariner Credentials. I would like to get on a vessel to make a little more money while also getting some traveling in. What certificates would I need to make this possible? Any advise is greatly appreciated.

Shouldn’t you already have an MMC with OS if you are actively working as a deckhand on a tug? Does your office not provide any career advice?

Not required on rivers or less than 100 GRT.


Sadly no. I just started with with company two months ago. The Mates and Captains I’ve talked too always talk about leaving. So it’s that kind of company.

Look into the SUP and SIU. Your best bet is to get on a ship to see the world, and most deep sea shipping is union.
Credential wise as a minimum I would think you need your twic (which i am assuming you already have) entry level MMD and basic training. Passport too. Maybe some of the deep sea guys will chime in with more specific advice.
You can end up seeing the world on tugs too. There are some companies out there that pick up some odd ball tows but you will be more comfortable on a ship, and more likely to go to some exotic places than on a tug.

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If you want to grind and travel, go with MSC. You can sail as long as you want, years even, and make solid money while you’re at it. And MSC ships visit exotic ports all over the world.
Deep sea commercial ships stop just long enough to load and discharge, while MSC ships spend multiple days in foreign ports and the crew goes on shore leave.


Yeah I have a Twic, Passport, and just got the email for my Merchant Mariners Credentials. I haven’t enrolled in any basic training classes yet. Is it best to get all my certifications on my own or sign under SUP/SIU entry level program?

Thank you, I wish I could do it now but I know I need to get my certifications in order first.

It will be cheaper and likely ultimately faster if you get into SIU’s Apprentice Program. What and where do you see yourself down the road plays into this decision.

I will pay them a visit after this hitch. In the engine room hopefully; I like electronics.

I don’t know how young you are or if you have any attachments (wife, kids, other) that you wouldn’t want to leave behind, but if you are truly unattached, I think I would advise you to join the Navy. The key is to find that sweet spot of a NEC (job in the Navy) that is: 1. marketable on the outside (in a non-maritime capacity in case you find life at sea is not for you), 2. is credited by the USCG for seatime purposes toward your license (maybe Mr. @jdcavo has that list handy and is willing to post, otherwise you’ll have to go digging online), and 3. doesn’t require an extended enlistment (more than 4 years). All that is vitally important for you go get right and get in writing BEFORE you sign on that dotted line.

Even in the worst case scenario where you hate the job you picked, you hate going to sea, and you hate being in the Navy, you’ll still have the GI Bill when you get out so you can go to pretty much any college in the US for free.

The only thing that could derail all this is getting married to the wrong woman or worse yet, having kids with that woman…then you’re just screwed.

I wish I was unattached, I have to help my family out. I’m 26 years old and I only found out about the Maritime industry since January. I was denied from joining the Coast Guard back in 2016 due to my vision. I wished I knew about this opportunity back then. Your right, I’m thankful single at this time.

To be honest with you that is a good question, I’ve been on dead end land jobs before . So I definitely don’t want that to happen out here on the water. From my research I’ve heard it’s more opportunities in the engine room whether it’s on a tow, tug, or vessel.

Most want the glory of being captain, however few make it. Best to head down to the plant, make close to the same money, wrench on stuff and become familiar with msd troubleshooting. Get your series of shots prior!

In my opinion, whether Captain or Chief Engineer, you are either literally or figuratively elbow deep in shit at some point in the hitch. Glory be damned

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It’s funny you mention that cause the last hitch I was on I literally had to help the chief brush crap. Some idiot put plastic in the toilet and clogged the system. Nothing worst than a stinky bubbling toilet.

At this point in time I don’t see myself being a captain. More power to those that want to be and actually make captain. What plant? Sorry for sounding like a newbie.

He was referring to the engine room, i.e., power plant.

Ok thanks for the clarification

I don’t see any reason why anyone would even consider a job in blue water these days. I see enough bitching and griping from people who can’t find work on this forum - just look at the number of ships sailing from the 80’s to today. On top of that, it’s been established numerous times here that if you do decide to go to blue water, your best bet it to go to an academy.

Stay inland. The licensing process is 100x easier and most importantly, there are JOBS! EVERY company is hiring at all positions - I’m not exaggerating. You can work 2 for 1 or day to day. It’s a no brainer to me - that’s my 2 cents.