Newbie question about rotations

Hey all,

I am years away from applying for positions like this. But I’m just trying to learn what these position listings mean. Saw this for a 3M position for Hornbeck:

" Hitch may be a 28/14 day rotation (projected to be 243 days worked per year) or a 28/28 rotation (projected to be 183 days worked per year) and will commence on or before 12/31/2018."

Does that literally mean you are 28 days on the job then 14 days off? Or is it 14 days PTO earned for every 28 days worked? 1 day off for every 2 days worked.


A friendly reminder, don’t take these postings literally to the ‘t’.
Depending on where you call home, take away two more days as travel days. i.e. 28/14 would really be 30/12.
Also, not every company has set and solid crew changes. Depending on the boats schedule/run crew change days may have to be flexible give or take a few days, and in a lot of cases you can’t leave till you have a turn over and a handshake with your relief.


PTO… What’s that? Seriously though, unless Todd is doing something no other OSV operator in the gulf is doing, you won’t find any that do Paid Time Off or pay vacation time at all. That pay rate listed is a day rate for your days on the boat, no checks for days not working. And it’s listing the actual rotations 28 days on, 14 off or 28 days on, 28 days off.

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Yes, the presumption (unless told otherwise) is that you work the days scheduled and are off the other…no vacay pay because you are getting a day rate that should see you through your time off. And as mentioned, those days may not be hard and fast so schedule your life events accordingly


For years I was working 28 x 28. Not sure that I ever made that exact rotation, as we were not in the oil patch, but running liquid (mostly petroleum) products. It would all depend on the timing of port calls, availability of reliefs (man, was THAT ever an issue) and all. In the four years + that I worked that rotation, I probably worked at least 9 months a year. I was young and single, so it was less of a drag than otherwise. I also lived in Fort Lauderdale at the time, and we would visit Port Everglades about once a hitch, and that worked out, too. There were times I would stay on an extra week just to make crew change at home.

When you are working a long rotation like 28/28, are sailors eligible for unemployment during the off time?

Some will say yes, but I never applied during my time off. One particular company had us on salary, so we got paid if we were on board or not. Most, however, paid per day, plus. I would think that it would be difficult to do so.

Thank you all so much for this great insight! I really do love this forum and I’m learning so much.

  1. 28/28 is a rather short rotation.

  2. You could probably argue a good case for unemployment but the company will fight it and you’ll probably find yourself actually unemployed if you push it. At companies like that you aren’t unemployed, you’re just taking an “unpaid vacation” then going back to the same company.

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As Capt Phoenix said, 28/28 is short. 70/70, 90/90 and 120/120 are all more common sailing bluewater, with 90/90 being the most common in my experience. I personally prefer 70/70, it’s enough time to settle in at work and at home and you’re not usually burned out by the end of a hitch. Plus you rotate through the seasons and can often alternate holidays with your relief, ie, one year you get Christmas, they get it the next year.