Pay for all rates

All companies are crying for help. My hourly rate for the class of tanker is $43/ hr straight time for a first engineer . I have 40 + years of experience and burger flipper’s are making $20/ hr. Wipers are paid nothing dealing with noise dirt and advanced FF training and making less than Mickey D’s. I vote with my feet. Cruise ships same, MEBA SAME, Gulf same. I say make them pay what you are worth or nothing.

Make them pay what you are worth.


What’s your day rate? You can’t really say you make $43/hr straight time and not include the rest of the money you’re making. Include your OT and vacation number and then maybe you have an argument.

Unless you’re really making $350 a day as First. Then I’d leave too.


I understood it to be $43 x 24hr a day meaning $1,032 a day for 1AE which is still kind of low in this post Covid19 era. But again, if he had job & salary security at $180k for 6 months of work very few people would complain about that.


I’ve never met anybody who broke it down to 24 hours, but I suppose.

If your math is his math, no place to compare the money to the burger flipper since his day rate is like 7x theirs…

From my reading of it he was complaining his wipers weren’t making enough compared to Micky D worker’s which is true IMO. But honestly, if it were me, I’d rather hitch my wagon to the maritime trade as a wiper/oiler for less money compared to burger flippers in the fastfood industry who made more.

If maritime industry pay doesn’t stay competitive compared to shore base careers I wouldn’t recommend anyone enter the industry. Especially if there isn’t significant industry wage increases within the next year or two that exceed shore based jobs and the rate of yearly pay increases doesn’t outpace inflation. Better for a oiler/ wiper to join a trade union, get their training paid for and supplement their income by flipping burgers on the weekends/ some nights.

Just that it is not “6 months of work”. People forget to count the actual hours. Add up the hours that a 1st AE works in 6months on a ship. In the end you will have more hours then most people work in a year. Then add the stresses and inconveniences or shipboard life. Then for some extra job motivation they get to hear about newly graduated INEXPERIENCED engineers snagging shore base jobs with starting salaries for 150k.
And all these shipping companies wonder why they can’t find 1st AEs.


Sorry for ranting a bit but I say its some Captains that are sailing short that are prolonging this pay issue and not helping. It’s simple do not sail short. I can understand sailing without an AB or an oiler or whatever to hop to the next US port might be alright. But for some of these captains to not sail with a chief mate, 1AE, 2AE, multiple unlicensed, or a combination of missing positions overseas or on a busy coastwise run is total BULL. The company can’t make you sail short! First off it’s unsafe to sail short of your COI. Second your the Captain so grow a pair and tell the company you are not moving until you have a full crew. They can not fire you for it or they will be in some hell.


I guess I always assumed that the COTPs would hammer down on habitual “sailing short notifications” made by a particular ship.

Is this not the case? I mean, the one time I had to do one for sailing short a QMED, I got a response from the COTP, so I’m assuming they go in a file somewhere for reference.

Let’s just keep quiet so we can continue getting paid less than we deserve…

Having said that, using an hourly rate only tells part of the story. How many hours per day do you get paid for, daily rate would be better.

What do you have to pay for travel if any, and employee portion for health care for a family?

Do you get an employer matched 401?

Someone needs to just make a Google Sheet that we can all anonymously go to and update with current pay rates.


Glassdoor tried to do that, but it was a horrible failure in maritime companies. There’s no real comparison because even within one company you might have ten “Masters” giving their wage info, and another 20 “Captains” (that in the bayou may be the dipsh*t mates that think they’re special) skewing numbers all over the place because there’s no sub selection for license sizes.

If you do get this going, make sure to have defined job titles and license sizes in the selections.


Industry sector, location, union or non-union, and job function matters. I’m not sure that license size does.

We pay a good unlicensed tugboat engineer only slightly less than an unlimited chief. It depends on a lot of things, but the license isn’t much itself isn’t much of a factor.

Location is important, NY and PNW are going to be higher than the Carolinas or Florida. Not sure where the Gulf of Mexico oats ales are now.

Right now, some companies are paying the highest wages ever, and more than they intend to pay next year, just to crew the boats on a crisis basis.

I get the impression that some companies are getting very high day rates and making the best money ever, but a few companies are in real financial trouble.

I made one yesterday and made it public to anyone who had the link but did not post it because my full name shows under ‘details’ I don’t feel like figuring out how to make a dummy account but the sheet itself took 5 minutes to create and fill.

It was pretty basic and left one column vertical for company and the other columns horizontally for position. Where they meet you would fill in a day rate.

I don’t think license held matters much to me, moreso position worked.
If I’m applying for a job to work as Chief Mate or Master etc I could reference the sheet and see what others are starting- topping out at and what I can expect as an offer.

I don’t know about the claim Captains are sailing short. Far as I recall, at least on the Lakes, we could sail from one port to the next short to make up for the guy who misses ship, but after that it HAD to be reported to the USCG, provided that we were short on the COI. Failure to report is big trouble and a possible license violation. Being short on the union manning is a union issue and was addressed by that entity. Wages are a big issue, though. I know from my own career that when I started as 3rd Mate I made double what my wife did as a teacher. When she retired she made what the 2nd Mate made and aside from years of service her degree or training did not change. Look at what Pilots are making and compare them to Lake Captains who are Master AND Pilot and Docking Master. Good part of the reason I retired, working for half of what a pilot makes while still bearing all the responsibility as Master.


Also, unless you have sailed Master and done what you say to do I would not be so quick to blame the Master. Call the hall Chief and get the union involved. And, yes, most Master’s work at the pleasure of the Company so you probably WON’T get much backing.


It is amost impossible to compare pay rates for maritime companies. People look at salary, day rate or hourly rate but that is simplistic. You have to consider total compensation and that varies a lot. Union jobs require the company to pay into the union pension plan and that is part of your compensation. If you are a US citizen and your taxes don’t pay for health care the employer has to offer a healthcare plan and you as employee share the cost if the employer decides sharing is needed. Long term care or disability insurance is also offered by many USA employers. All these things must be considered in your total pay package. Before retirement I worked for a multinational and I know employing US citizens was a pain in the ass for them but they tried to compensate me comparably to their employees from other countries. This meant 100% paid healthcare insurance at no cost to me with a $2000 maximum deductible and only $200/month more to add my family to the plan. They paid 6% of my base pay into my 401k whether I paid anything or not into the 401k. Point is this, one has to consider all benefits paid in the compensation package.

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I saw one of those salary “reporting” sites that said the average annual salary for vessel officers and masters was $47,000 to $53,000… :roll_eyes::laughing:


:sweat_smile: Even Filipino officers would not accept that pay. My neighbor is a captain on an inter-island tanker in the Philippines. His pay is around 75,000 USD/yr.


Well, to counter that, in my company alone, we have everything from tugs to unlimited tonnage subsea construction vessels. The Captain of one of those makes more than double what the tug Captain does. If you don’t differentiate license size then you wind up with a stupidly large “spread” in pay rates for a company since they’re both “Captains” according to job title.


That why I said industry sector matters most.

Tugs and IMR vessels are not in the same sector , or perhaps I should have said the same trade.

Most tug companies are not going to pay a captain with unlimited master more than a captain with 200 tons.

And yes, the captain of an unlimited IMR vessel should make more than a tug captain.

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