Question regarding pay cuts without warning


Recently I worked a two week hitch with a tug company up North. About 6 days into the hitch, the boat was laid off of the job and we went back to a slip the company rents. They wanted to have someone on the boat so they left me there alone to run all the generators/engines daily and keep an eye on things. Before the captain (who is a part owner of the boat) left, I asked if my pay was going to be cut for the time docked. In the past, the other Deckhands have told me that they get half pay for “boat-sitting” time. He said that everything would remain the same (full pay). So under those premises, I stayed aboard another 9 days or so.

Now, just a few days ago my paycheck deposited and it was short about 1 grand, they had paid me half rate for the days I was docked. The captain who originally told me it was full pay was out of town and I couldn’t reach him so I emailed the lady that owns the company (with her husband). She informed me that this was how they always did it, and she couldn’t be held responsible for what the captain had told me.

I have yet to hear back from him as he is still out of town.

So what I’m asking is, what are my rights here? How should I go about this? I don’t want to burn bridges, especially as these folks have been helpful to me in the past (the captain especially).

Unfortunately, I don’t have the captain’s statement in writing, it was verbal.

Any thoughts are appreciated guys.


I’m pretty sure your screwed, though keep trying to reach the captain and politely see what he can do. If nothing comes of it use this as a learning experience.

If you don’t want to burn bridges I’d just bring it up next time you see him and be polite, but make your case. Who knows, maybe they will take care of you some other way despite that not being a perfect solution.

Depending on what state you’re in, there maybe some recourse with the ATTY general’s office. Some states have a whole wage payment Dept. Should be a cut and dry case that they owe you and did not lay you off properly

I know they’re good folks, so I assume that if the skipper backs me up they will pay the remainder.

Ah well, we’ll see what happens.