Please explain AMO


Having searched through tons of info on maritime officer unions it appears finding the simple information is proving the most difficult. I am planning on doing the Graduate License Option course at SUNY Maritime having spent a year at Mass Maritime and moving on to pursue a different degree at a different school.

I am interested in learning more about AMO, but am simply trying to decipher how it works. Fast foward 2.5-3 years and I theoretically have my Masters degree and 3rd Mate license.

I am assuming that you apply to the Union, then what? Can someone briefly explain the nuts and bolts of the officer unions so myself and my wife can better understand the endstate of this educational undertaking?


AMO is pretty simple. You send in an application with your license and class certificates. Then you are supposed to call the union dispatcher to register and they offer you a job when it becomes available. Being a new “applicant” don’t expect anything glamorous. You can also register now via a secure website once you are accepted as an applicant memeber.

Once you do your first tour (typically 3-4 months), you are now in the Medical plan. You then collect your vacation check and can get another job after your “return to work date” (the expiration of your vacation time which is typically 15 to 20 days vacation for every 30 days worked but depends on the contract.)

A word of warning, the job market is pretty bad now, even more so for Mates, so you might “be on the beach” for a while. You can increase your chances at employment by using the school’s placement service which is how I got into AMO. However in 2-3 years it might be better. As a rule, it’s always harder to ship as a mate than as an engineer.

Once you do your time and pay your initiation fee, you can apply for your “book” which allows you to claim a permenant job and vote, although in AMO it isn’t too hard for applicants to return to a job if the company likes you.

There are some differences between AMO and MM&P. The big one is how they ship. With AMO it’s a telephone call to Florida and checking the internet website. With MM&P (as far as I know) you still need to make personal appearances at the union halls in the big cities every day and wait for a job. One of the MM&P guys on here can fill you in on the details about that. MM&P also pays a lot more, but thats if you can actually get on a ship more than once a year.

Your Master’s degree is basically irrelevant at sea and neither hurt nor help you getting a union job at sea. That only comes in handy when you decide to go ashore.

Hope that helps a bit.



Great explanation, thank you very much!

Can you give me a rough idea of the rhythm? By that I mean, in the downturn we have now and as a new 3/M Applicant how often will a job offer typically come up? (I know this is an impossible question, but I really have no idea how many jobs/ships these Unions actually have and therefore not even a rough idea of job offers)

Also, based on your experience in a “normal” shipping climate how often would a new 3/M work with AMO or MMP?

I’m just trying to get a grasp of the home/work ratio in the downturn and what to expect in a more normal work climate. Now that I am married I actually need to be able to explain this kind of stuff!


Your best bet for shipping regularly, i.e. more than once per year is to take one of the bottom feeding jobs that AMO has. By that I mean 3PSC. They are a government contractor. They don’t pay well and the hitches are fairly long (4 mos), but because of that, getting seatime for your book is easier.
In our current hope and change economy, jobs are few and far between. Especially for a new guy. Good luck.


Anabasis is correct. I’m a 3rd A/E with AMO. However, a number of the AMO companies are direct hire and can offer permanent positions. That doesn’t prevent you from sailing off the board either. They also have the STAR Center in Florida which has some really good classes.