OSV’s or ATB’s?

Any insight on whether to pursue a career on OSV’s or ATB’s? I know ATB’s may be more of a stable career but OSV companies are paying more for entry level jobs at the time. Would the risk be worth the money for working in the gulf on OSV’s?

If you have to ask, the answer is no.

I’d be curious to know what osv are giving for AB rates that are higher than AB rate on an ATB

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Depends on the company, depends on the position. What’s important to you? The right OSV job will pay more but it’s cyclical. It’s like Hold’em. Can you handle the swings? No experience, you have a better chance at an OSV job. How motivated are you and what are you willing to bring gland the job.

ATB jobs pay more, and it doesn’t take all that long to become a tankerman earning much more than AB pay, probably more than OSV mate pay.

The company attitude toward mariners and culture will be better at most ATB companies. Probably much better and more consistently paid benefits too.


Don’t box yourself into one sector of the industry. Try whatever comes along first. You can always work a side gig to get some experience in another area. Imagine having DPO, tankerman, and MOT. You’ll never be out of work.

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I seriously doubt that. Last i heard an AB may be getting 300 a day in the osv sector. Granted, thats back up to what AB wages were about 8-10 years ago, and it may be competitive with some, not all, tug/atb companies. Doing 28/14 that pays 72k a year, and you have to pay most if not all your travel. You can get an even time job on a tug/atb w/paid travel and do even time, making the same yearly these days.


Waaaay back in the 80s, I was sailing as an engineer on some string boats in Louisiana (not hard to figure out which company). Being in my 20s, and curious about other opportunities, I did hear about a supply boat company that was hiring engineers. I drove down to Berwick and interviewed. . . when I found out about the duties of an OSV engineer and the pay, well, I thanked him for his time and didn’t pursue that career track. . . . weren’t a lot of ATBs back then, but I did end up on one of the early ones for many years.