Requirements prior to reporting aboard?

I have a question which I’m sure can easily be answered. When going to a new ship as a Mate or Master or any other position on cargo or tanker vessels, is there a break-in or training process you go thru prior to reporting on board? I am currently in the coast guard and when transferring from ship to ship you go thru an extensive break-in process which include pipeline schools, sign offs, tests, and an oral board no matter if your previous ship was the same class as your new one.

I guess I’m trying to figure out how it is on the outside. I hope to retire in a couple years and slide into the maritime industry.

Thanks for putting up a thread like this…good reading!

in my experience, most non-union commercial shipping companies have a “new hire orientation” that lasts a couple days. as for actual “vessel orientation” this usually happens once onboard and on the job; if your position is a senior one (master, mate, engineer) you may have a shadow for a week or so as you learn the ropes.

again, this is just my experience.

We see pretty much the same situation with new assignments on tugs. A senior officer (Master, Mate, Or Engineer) will ride with the crew until he is comfortable with the vessel and assigned duties. In many cases the Mate being relieved by the new man will stay until the Master feels the new man will be okay(the new guy stands watch with the Master for the first few days). It’s usually less than a week. It’s the best way to get comfortable with a new boat and serves everyone’s best interests.
Deckhands (with experience) will seldom ride as “extra” crew, generally they’re expected to know their duties, it’s just a matter of getting them up to speed on drills and safety equipment, and where to find everything. New deckhands get the whole enchilada from top to bottom and are trained on the job.

Thanks for the replies guys. Speaking of unions, do you find it easier to get a job as a union member or a non union member. Are most tanker or cargo jobs union or can you still find non union jobs?