Port stop duration?

:laughing:try telling this to any mate on a coastwise product or chem tanker, a 3 mate ship blasting around the Persian Gulf, folks working 6 and 6 in the US gulf or anyone that is in command. There is a reason why most of us don’t waste our time with silly statements like yours.

That being said, looking out the window drinking coffee for a week at a time is pretty good duty, so long as you are not dodging other ships, fishing boats, ect ect.


That might be because only one side is legally considered to be “officer” jobs.

Personally, I don’t see the point in getting hung up on who gets paid more for the job they do or how difficult that job can be. Deck verse Engine is a fun school time rivalry, but in actuality, deck dept. relies heavily on the engineering department and vice versa. We are all shipmates and all working toward a common goal. Why don’t you come onboard with the team for the big win?..


And, the engineers are probably working just as hard, or harder.

Again, the engineers are doing what during the same time? Down working in the engine room where it is always hot, day or night. You admit you get reprieve underway. I know what coastwise tanker mates do, they are welcome to switch places any time, but they won’t be able to enjoy their podcasts and book-on-tape, because it’s kinda loud down below.

Really? Where is this stated?

My point is to express the difference for the original poster, not to complain. The system is what the system is. However, as more and more acknowledge the observations I made, fewer and fewer will continue to accept the same pay as mates for an objectively tougher schooling and tougher job. Hopefully: 1: working conditions will change or 2:pay will go up.

Much of this would be solved if more unlicensed were billeted for the engine room.

My daughter loves to travel, and makes many international trips. I asked her a few years ago why she didn’t get a job that allows her to travel. Her response was that then she wouldn’t go to the places that she wanted to. . . and do the things she wants to do. I guess she was seeing the places I go to and the things I do when I get there. Smart kid. Of course she always has been.


I spent two weeks in Singapore in a ship yard and never made it outside before 7pm. 3 weeks in Djibouti and never made it on one of those safari’s everyone claimed was a thing. Nor did I make it outside in sunlight; maybe to the fly bar for happy hour. I managed some sushi in Japan that ruined all “sushi” I have anywhere else. I have yet to make it outside for a day time adventure, as an engineer.

You might make it ashore for some delicious dinners but you can’t count on that. Take all of the money you make and spend it on the vacations you want.

1 Like

Of course she is. Good genes!!

1 Like

To the OP, traveling for work is NOT the same thing as traveling for pleasure. Work, and the purpose for being there will always be the first priority. When time and circumstances allow, yes you can “explore”. But you are always mindful of when you have to be back, sober, rested, and be prepared to work. If you are on a steady run and hit the same ports, you can get a feel for those opportunities. If you happened to be in a shipyard while the ship is undergoing repairs, drydocking, etc. you are there to work. If not working, you would likely be sent home.

About the only exception is working on some sort of government contract ship.

1 Like

I use my port time as a free test run for places I think I want to visit. If you sail as a cadet and have a good captain/chief they typically won’t require you be onboard in port unless there’s some big operation happening (port state inspection, COI, overhauls, etc.). All of my cadet ships told me to scram in port and be back in time to do final cargo checks/pre-departure stuff, all that jazz.

I’ve done a couple shipyards where we stayed in hotels and that was nice to see town in the mornings or after midnight because my watch schedule. There are a few places I’ve been that I thought I would really like to visit off the ship and a few I realized wouldn’t be worth the airfare and was glad I had the chance to see them before I flew there as it would’ve been an expensive ticket.

Getting ashore as a junior officer/day worker is significantly easier than when you get to chief mate/1st eng. Everyone has different experiences with different ships and different runs. I’ve never been on a ship where asst engineers were so slammed with work in port that they had no time to get off. There’s another guy on this thread who insists that it’s impossible for engineers to have any time ashore because they’re so busy keeping the ship from sinking. It’s all about managing your time and not working on shitty ships or for shitty chiefs.


Yep. Though there is a lot of cargo work in port, if you’re attached to a carrier group. The USS ships in the group will not get any of their supplies while they’re at the dock. They will load them onto your ship, and take them by helo or by alongside rig while you’re at sea. This is so that the USS sailors will get the max amount of liberty time in port.

I have no problem with that. This is the reason we had a job!

1 Like

I read a few of these responses and compared to the alternative ie commuting into a 9-5 job, in the same rat race day in and out for a 2 week vacation a year I’d say sailing is not a bad option. Look at it this way:

  1. even if you don’t get ashore you will see some amazing scenery and enjoy some amazing sights in the ocean away from civilization (and the news) for a while.
  2. if you find a country or culture that strikes your fancy come back on your DECENTLY long vacation or pay off overseas and stay a while.
  3. think of the money you will save not buying food or gas while at work.
  4. anyone who tells you they never get ashore is not telling you the whole story, they might be trying to keep this thing quiet for their own selfish reasons!

Big heavy hot oily dirty things …


Perfect. As I recall my cadet days (40+ years ago), I did get ashore in most ports, with pretty good freedom. Some engineers even gave me a bit of jingle for my time ashore, too. A bit more responsibility when I was sailing as a junior engineer, so not quite as much time ashore, but some flexibility. Once I started sailing as Chief, not quite as much, but a lot of that depended on how good my junior engineers were and how much I trusted them. . . .

1 Like

And then there’s the issue of trust regarding some bad apples coming back from liberty shitfaced and ruining it for the rest of the crew.


Oh, yeah. . . the stories I could tell. . . .

1 Like