I am 27 years old and have been hearing the call of the sea ever since I was a little kid watching the ships roll in and out of the Houston ship channel on Galveston island. I always wanted to be on those ships going to wherever they were going. I now live in Virginia and have decided to answer that call. <br><br> I noticed on my application in some fine print that a MMD is required. Ive had drug tests and physicals before but never had to pay for them on my own( they were always paid for by my former employer). What is the average cost of a DOT drug test and the physical? And how long should I expect to wait for the Coast Guard to approve my application once I complete the tests?<br><br>I recently left my job as a driver to go back to college but now the only thing I want is a job at sea. funds are tight and I dont have a very long time to wait for the CG to approve my paperwork before shipping off to class. <br><br> Just trying to figure out a time frame incase I need to pick up a part time job to sustain me for the time being. And is there anyone that has been through the program here? Just wondering what peoples thoughts on it were.<br><br> Thanks! <br> Mike
injunear to Mike<br>The trainee program looks like a good deal. I have a grandson that will attend this year. I don’t have all of the particulars but the initial fees and expenses are in excess of a grand.<br><br>I’ve been a SIU member for 22 years and contemplating retirement as I rapidly approach 55. I’ve been to Piney Point many times, mainly for company semenars, love-fests, sensitivity training and charm school. The only courses I’ve taken are PIC and 1 day prep for the EPA freon cert. From turing the classrooms, they have excellent facilities and instructors.<br><br>After you complete the training (Ithink it’s 9 months total in 3 phases), and your first trip to sea, you should have enough time to set for a QMED rating or AB special. You also get a B seniority book and will be given preference over B book members that are not grads of the “Point”. <br><br>As in all segments of the marine industry most limitations are self imposed. Good luck!
<P>im 24 and Ive been jumping through hoops with these guys for a while now and its finally over. Im scheduled to start Aug 18. But it wasnt easy, and if youre in a hurry i suggest you read further, have a lot of cash on hand, and live near the water as the offices you will have to visit are only located in select cities ie. Long Beach, Deleware, Houston etc.<br><br>Your first question, cost. Drug test ran me about $35 i believe. It was neat too cuz you get to see the paperwork your employers do. Physical, i paid around $65 - $75. I didnt have my own doctor, i just walked in and did it. As for the wait… They tell you 6 to 8 weeks. However, i flew to Baltimore to submit my application as soon as i got there. I stayed about 7 days visiting an old friend and by the time i got home my MMD was already in the mail waiting for me. No joke.<br><br>Once you mail in the single page application they send you another, much larger application which you may or may not have already received. They make you see a dentist, that can be costly. Already have a passport I hope as thats required too.<br><br>Also what they didnt tell me until a few weeks ago is that now all sailors must have a TWIC (Yet another ID). Look it up. I just applied for mine in LA last monday. That should take another 6 - 8 weeks to complete. However unlike the MMD they dont mail it, you have to go pick it up in person.<br><br>After you have your Passport, MMD, and TWIC, mail all those (literally, the ACTUAL documents) in and wait for a response. Then you get to go back to an SIU union hall for your drug test/physical, yup another drug test. Thatll run ya $350. Then you get to go back again and take an entrance exam, which was free. ( i actually did them in opposite order)<br><br>They tell you tuition is like what, $1000? Well, if you get your MMD on your own, subtract $140 from that total, and after your physical/drug screen, subtract $350. So once your all done you actually only have to pay like $500 for your tuition which is cool.<br><br>Then you have your start date usually a month or so into the future. It is certainly not a quick process and definitly not cheap. But dont get me wron, I cant wait to start classes. Good Luck.</P>
<P>The SIU isn’t too hot with me, cause 1.) you aren’t guaranteed a job all the time, and 2.) even if you do get a job, when you get off your ship you’re gonna have to wait for another and compete against the endless gaggle of other seamen with better cards than you who will inevitably beat you unless you have a blue card. And that can mean more time ashore than time at sea.<br><br>The unions would be better if they took care of the seamen and offered more in the way of permanent positions with companies.<br><br></P>
Seniority sucks when you don’t have it. If you’re going to sail union there is a process you must accept, which by the way all the senior guys had to deal with on their way up.
Many overlook the “inland book” jobs like sea-going tugs, ATBs, dredges ect. Some are not bad gigs. Many jobs are equal time w/transportation. Most are permanant. Pensions are wage related and many have 2 for 1 contributions.
The seniority to a blue book doesnt take much more than sailing with that union for 6 months or so, maybe 12. Not much more than that. The prospect of not getting another job and working “here and there” through a union is an unattractive one.<br><br>In-house Union companies work well, or 333 Companies in harbors. Or if you’re REALLY desperate, sail for MSC.
Crowley has some good SIU jobs in the Southeast
Dosnt sound like the SIU has a lot of fans around here… Im thinking about trying the woakboat academy now. Is the woakboat academy as much of a hassle to get into as the paul hall program?<br>Ill be applying for my MMD as soon as my three letters of reccommendation come in. Good thing I saw that tiny little section on the application about the letters. I would have gone up there without them.<br><br> I feel like there are so few choices when it comes to training programs offered. I find it funny that an industry that needs people so badly makes it so difficult to become eligible for a decent job. Seems like my only two choices are the Paul Hall Center or MITAGS. The paul hall center seems more like boot camp to me, I understand its free and all but thats a long time to spend away without making any real money. <br><br>Thanks for the replys all! I hope the coast guard processes my app quickly so I can get this started!
<P>I honestly won’t tell you NOT to do the SIU, you do whatever you feel is the right thing to do. I personally just got my Z-Card and went right to work on small harbor tugs and gradually built experience, worked different companies throughout college, and eventually got my STCW '95 (BST) from SUNY Maritime’s continuing education department. Now that I am graduating college I have a decent enough resume that United Ocean Services wants to put me on a bulk carrier.</P>
<P>You do whatever you feel is right for you and where you want to go in the industry, I don’t want to give the impression that you have to listen to what I say.</P>
Well its good to know that it still may be possible to work your up without going the long school route. <br>Im sure it will all work out for me one way or another. <br><br> I wasnt looking to be told what to do, I was just listening for some advice and opinions on what few options there seem to be. And I really appreciate your input! <br><br> Thanks again
I might just end up going to the Academy. <br><br>My only problem with the SIU is that I am more of a fan of permanent employment rather than short term employment which relies upon competition in union halls to achieve. I prefer in-house unions or smaller unions, such as those found with the tugs. Mobil Oil years ago had permanent crews who belonged to the OAEWU (Oil and Atomic Energy Workers Union) I believe. <br><br>If the SIU watched out for Mariners while guaranteeing them permanent work, then I might think differently. I don’t like being unemployed.
How did you get employment on those tug boats; im curious cause i got my z card, twic, and stcw and everyone tells me i wont get a job if i dont go to SIU, but the waiting list is 6 months! Do you know what i can do to get a tug boat job? Thanks
My son will be completing third phase of the SIU program in roughly 3 weeks. You can read my earlier post on the program and what I have seen him experience.
[quote=deckie2185;1941]I might just end up going to the Academy.
My only problem with the SIU is that I am more of a fan of permanent employment rather than short term employment which relies upon competition in union halls to achieve. I prefer in-house unions or smaller unions, such as those found with the tugs. Mobil Oil years ago had permanent crews who belonged to the OAEWU (Oil and Atomic Energy Workers Union) I believe.
If the SIU watched out for Mariners while guaranteeing them permanent work, then I might think differently. I don’t like being unemployed.[/quote]
What do you mean short term employment instead of permanent? Is the SIU different from other unions? All the places I’ve worked that had a union were full time jobs.
Most of the jobs on the deep sea rotary shipping board in the hall are relief or tempory jobs. You may take a job off the board and it morphs into a permanent job. The Inland Book Jobs (tugs, dredges, ATBs ect) are mostly permanent jobs with a probation period. It varies with contract and levels of benefits. Better jobs come with seniority.