On the beach for the first time in 30 years

Hi ,

I’m new to gCaptain. The info I’ve found here over the past month has been really helpful. Now I need some advice so here goes…

I’m a Master 100T NC/Mate 500T NC with Towing endorsement. 56 years old from Washington state. I’ve worked uninterrupted for 30 years in the marine towing industry…20 years with one company, got offered better pay and conditions and worked for that company for 10 years. That company has just given me a “permanent layoff” due to the recession. All of my experience is West Coast, mostly Alaska.

Going into this I know the job market is bad (not to mention it’s winter). I’m doing tons of apps which aren’t producing much (but the “nos” are at least sympathetic), and I’m pulling in all the networking and contacts I can, not that that’s helping any (but at least its fun touching base with all those guys I haven’t talked to in years), and I want to take this time ashore to make some additions to my licensing that can help me get back on the water.

So here are my questions:

  1. Do sailors with West Coast experience ever get hired by GOM or East Coast companies? If so what’s the best strategy for pursuing those jobs?

  2. What additions to my license would be most helpful (I have OS, Oiler, Tankerman/PIC)? I never got AB, skipped straight from deckhand to Mate then Master, so I was thinking I might get my AB now and maybe I could get an ocean AB job. Advice?

  3. Any other advice that can make one more marketable in a recession?

Thanks for any input and thanks to all of you who post here. This is an outstanding community and what being a mariner is all about.

Tim

in the past I have worked crew from the West coast in both the GoM and Atlantic…would think that considerations by companies for transportation costs might be a hindrance right now…some companies want you to live in the same state…recently I was contacted for a job in florida because they had my old florida address but was rejected because I now live in Louisiana…the strategy of being in the right place at the right time still seems to work…it is pretty much “hit or miss” now!!

AB definitely…AB/RFPNW/tankerman/PIC is a good rating to have…if you work NC or oceans it is all about the STCW endorsements as well…be advised there are 1600tn masters out there working as AB!!

patience and persistence…there are jobs out there…they are few and far between…there are a few jobs out there that seem to come re-available every few months…might want to pass on those after finding what they were about!!

[B][I][U]BEST LUCK!![/U][/I][/B]

Hi Capt.

I highly recommend you (and ALL MARINERS) submit an application for 1600 Master (or 500 if you don’t have the sea service for 1600). You (and all mariners) should do this as soon as possible.

There are changes coming up in the STCW and CFRs that will require all Master candidates to take the Management level STCW courses, costing you 11 weeks and fistfuls of dollars. But, if you get your application in now, you should be grandfathered and exempt from those requirements.

I know it’s hard to imagine studying for another USCG exam, but in this economy, you need to have the highest credential possible. As seadawg said, 1600 Masters are working as ABs.

Good luck!

Thanks for the good advice Seadawg and Capt. Fran. I’ll keep at it, and go for my AB and definitely consider going for my 500T Master.

I have another question regarding unions. Both companies I’ve worked for were non-union, so I don’t have much familiarity with them, other than knowing a few guys who were in them. Would it be to my advantage work-wise in this economy to join MM&P or AMO or IBU? Does joining the union prevent me from taking a non-union job if offered? What are people’s experiences with unions - positive and negative?

Thanks for any help on this.

Tim

I probably should clarify my post.

OK, what I meant for all mariners is that it would behoove you to get the highest level master credential possible before the new STCW rules take place sometime in the next year (or so).
From what I’ve read in the posts by Mr. 100-ton, Danzante, and others, it seems highly likely that the following will occur:

  1. The 500 ton level will no longer exist. Nobody knows yet what this means to manning requirements.
  2. 200 and 1600 ton Masters will now need to take STCW Management level courses.
  3. 1600 Masters will no longer be able to get that license until they have taken the OICNW level licenses, too.
  4. So, the loophole that exists now for us old folks that got the old STCW cert / OICNW and never took the 6 months of OICNW courses is closing. Rapidly.

[QUOTE=CaptainTDK;22900]Thanks for the good advice Seadawg and Capt. Fran. I’ll keep at it, and go for my AB and definitely consider going for my 500T Master.

I have another question regarding unions. Both companies I’ve worked for were non-union, so I don’t have much familiarity with them, other than knowing a few guys who were in them. Would it be to my advantage work-wise in this economy to join MM&P or AMO or IBU? Does joining the union prevent me from taking a non-union job if offered? What are people’s experiences with unions - positive and negative?

Thanks for any help on this.

Tim[/QUOTE]

First off, let me inform you I’m a union guy. But that doesn’t sway my views. Each individual must do what works for them and their situation. But the most important thing is getting a job, union or not. Especially at the limited tonnage level, once on a boat, you might not notice that much difference between union and non-union. Except where your benefits come from. There are some great union towing companies out there. And some great non-union ones. My advice is to just find work, then go about getting something that suits you better down the road.

Captain TDK,
Good luck searching, I wish you well. That being said I have seen very few if anyone tell you how important it is to convey your expertise in computers to a possible employer. I am a perfect example, I got off my boat in fourchon last tuesday, went to a large a large offshore/towing company in the bayou and handed in my resume/application. I downloaded their application from online but instead of filling it out by hand, I scanned it and typed in all my info. Then printed the finished product, showing my skill and knowledge of modern day things. Well, they must have liked it because they have already called me to take a physical, etc. Point being, you have been a professisional mariner for years, they know what that involves, but show them about something they want extra, don’t just say you can do this or that, show them!!! anyway good luck, pm me if i can be of any help.

These 2 people might be able to help, Maritime Headhunters (Capt. Kelly Sweeny) captsweeney@hotmail.com. He charges a fee but he’s not outrageous. Then there’s Bob Walton
bobwalton@maritimerecruiters.com — he charges the company not you.

Good Luck!

Thanks TMac. I’ve already been in touch with Kelly Sweeney, who is a great guy. As you might guess, things are slow for him too - esp around the holidays. I will get in touch with Bob Walton too. Had just heard about him through another source today.

Tim

P.S. I’m grateful to all who have answered my questions, offered advice. It’s given me so many more options than I thought I had just a week ago.

[QUOTE=CaptainTDK;22848]Hi ,

I’m new to gCaptain. The info I’ve found here over the past month has been really helpful. Now I need some advice so here goes…

I’m a Master 100T NC/Mate 500T NC with Towing endorsement. 56 years old from Washington state. I’ve worked uninterrupted for 30 years in the marine towing industry…20 years with one company, got offered better pay and conditions and worked for that company for 10 years. That company has just given me a “permanent layoff” due to the recession. All of my experience is West Coast, mostly Alaska.

Going into this I know the job market is bad (not to mention it’s winter). I’m doing tons of apps which aren’t producing much (but the “nos” are at least sympathetic), and I’m pulling in all the networking and contacts I can, not that that’s helping any (but at least its fun touching base with all those guys I haven’t talked to in years), and I want to take this time ashore to make some additions to my licensing that can help me get back on the water.

So here are my questions:

  1. Do sailors with West Coast experience ever get hired by GOM or East Coast companies? If so what’s the best strategy for pursuing those jobs?

  2. What additions to my license would be most helpful (I have OS, Oiler, Tankerman/PIC)? I never got AB, skipped straight from deckhand to Mate then Master, so I was thinking I might get my AB now and maybe I could get an ocean AB job. Advice?

  3. Any other advice that can make one more marketable in a recession?

Thanks for any input and thanks to all of you who post here. This is an outstanding community and what being a mariner is all about.

Tim[/QUOTE]

Get your AB. It is easy, pretty much required (now with the new regs), and will definitely help. There are some towing positions opening in the GOM. And no, they don’t really care where you have gotten your experience. However, a larger license would definitely be helpful. The 100 Ton Towing Masters down here do not make much. Huge difference between a 100 Ton Master of Towing and 500 Ton as far as pay.

Good luck.

KJ