Seafarer's Union, Your Insight & Advice

SIU , is it a good deal for a newbie?

Are there other school’s to consider?

Approx. cost to for schooling?

I’ve heard the Paul Hall school is very good.

If you have a choice, go engine room, unless you like being out of work.

Roger that, thanks for the good advice.

Brian

[quote=Radar;16152]SIU , is it a good deal for a newbie?

Are there other school’s to consider?

Approx. cost to for schooling?[/quote]

My son is returning for the Third Phase of training on August 20th. Here’s how the experience, and costs, have gone so far.

Contact your local hall for information and an application.

You must have a Z-Card, TWIC, and Passport before they will accept you (I know that in the past you could obtain said credentials as part of the program, not anymore). You will need a $300.00 Physical and $60.00 Drug Screen by THEIR doctors. They have a list of items you must bring with you and $400.00 for uniforms. The items from the list cost my son about $300.00 at Walmart. The last thing you will need is transportation to Piney Point (one way). You CANNOT bring a vehicle. They will provide transportation from BWI (and only BWI) to the Paul Hall Center.

During Phase I they conduct the Basic Safety Training (STCW), Lifeboat (STCW) and a generalized view of the variety of jobs. Some Marlinspike Seamanship, some Oiler duties, and some Steward training. They pay a weekly stipend of $15 or $20 (can’t remember exactly). It is a watered down version of Military boot camp.

During Phase II he shipped on the Maersk Ohio. Apprentices sail for 90 days and work 30 days each in the 3 job categories; Deck, Engine, and Steward. Apprentices sailed on a variety of vessels; Container Ships, Tankers, and even Tugs. They paid an apprentice wage of $980/month. Could be different on different vessels, I think it depends on the contract. He sailed from Norfolk to: Spain, Egypt, Oman, Dubai, Pakistan, and India. He made 2 of these voyages during his 90 days aboard.

When returning for Phase III he needed to select a department; Deck, Engine or Steward, roundtrip airfare, another physical and drug screen, and money for a new MMC. He will receive training for liquid cargo (read as petroleum products) and the school will submit his application to have the various STCW endorsements he has received put on his MMC.

He would return home and check with his home port to ship out. I guess you can only ship out of your home port, you can’t go to any other hall and ship out unless you change your home port. I’ve suggested he change his home port to Baltimore so he can ship out after Phase III. Not sure if he’s going to do that or not.

The cost of courses can vary greatly depending upon where you take them. I paid $595.00 for BST 6 years ago at Sea School. They provided a place to sleep and prepared meals to eat. It wasn’t 5-Star accomodations or meals, but it was a fantastic value for the buck. I’ve seen other courses for $600 - $1,100 but you provide transportation, meals and lodging on your own dime.

I think Lifeboat was $795.00 and AB course (Marlinspike Seamanship) was $695.00. The Lifeboat course at GMATS (Kings Point) that I took runs for $1,195.00 (not including meals & lodging).

I entered this industry not knowing Port from Starboard. When I got a job everything I initially learned (aside from BST) I learned on the boat. Things would have run much smoother if I had known my *** from a hole in the ground. That’s something that SIU provides with their training program that you’re not going to find taking selected classes here and there.

So you end up with some cash out lay to take their free training in the manner they choose to provide it. For someone with few responsibilities, like my son, I think it’s incomparable and an excellent way to get your foot in the door, and do so as safely as can be done. If you’re burdened with a family and a lot of responsibilities, it’s not too practical and therefore not possible in many situations (couldn’t make it work for me).

Hope this helps.

Cal, thanks for the insightful and descriptive message. Helps give us all an idea of the options out there.

What a fantastic response Cal! Thank you very, very much for sharing the details to the process. I have exhausted quite a bit of effort to try and “lookup” the information you took the time out to write. Truly invaluable for me to know everything you wrote. With them requiring my TWIC and MMC, and physical, the wait and costs associated with that process may be more than I can bear. At least I know now what to expect. Nothing’s going to go quickly in the process it would appear

I wish this information were more readily available in plain language, and easily found. Cal thank you again for your kind response.

Fair winds and following seas my friend!

Brian

Radar
The SIU has a separate trainee program for veterans. I don’t know the details but it is worth looking into. Piney Point has excellent training labs and instructors.

C_A is right about engine room slots in demand. Many of us have opted for early-out. There is a need for electricans. Experience on intrinsically safe control systems, radar gauging, PLCs ect is a plus. It does not hurt to have a GMDSS Maintainer cert also.

Good Luck!

quote=injunear
The SIU has a separate trainee program for veterans. I don’t know the details but it is worth looking into.

Veterans Program has been suspended. USCG stopped awarding RFPNW to the graduates. Until that gets rectified no more program. I know all too well because I was planning on going :eek:…

Well that STINKS, I am a Veteran, former Electronics Technician in the Navy(Radar). I’m going to give a call tomorrow to the school and try to get further info. I’ll post whatever I learn on this thread in hopes it helps others in the future.

Hard to believe the SIU is mandating prospective students shell out the money and acquire the MMC, TWIC, and passport prior to starting.

Anyone know what the turnaround time is right now in guestamation terms for a TWIC and MMC? I’m guessing it’ll be at least a 6 week turnaround time to get them, unless theres a way to expedite.

Thank you again for all the insight, knowledge, and guidance folks. This is by far the best site due to the members active participation. Encouraging, I hope I can return the favor someday soon for other future seafarers.

Live Well,
Brian

Radar,

time wise for NMC I’ve been waiting 4 weeks for a “routine” endorsement and to have my new MMC printed…and I believe under the circumstances that’s not bad…if I get it in the next two weeks I’ll be happy!!

suggest you call the TWIC and NMC help #S and get a time line update from them…I believe you have to get the TWIC card in hand before they will let you apply for MMC…in order to obtain your MMC you need to apply to your local REC with completed USCG application, approved physical and drug screen.

*BTW…all of this can be gleaned from the respective websites

if you don’t do the SIU program…you will need to take a BST course on you own in order to get an STCW certificate…

if I was going to do this on my own the sequence would be…TWIC…application…drug screen…physical…STCW…take it all to REC…then wait on the NMC…I’d figure on at least $1500 out of pocket and 10-12 weeks minmum…before starting all of this make sure meet all the criteria for the TWIC, USCG application, drug screen and physical…do your homework!!

GOOD LUCK!!

Radar, rzwwllm - My pleasure, I try to help out when I can.

I have exhausted quite a bit of effort to try and “lookup” the information you took the time out to write.

I went through the same efforts for myself when I was trying to get into the industry, that’s why I posted what I did.

As far as needing to have the MMC, TWIC, and Passport prior to acceptance into the program. I can understand your frustration, you want to get started and get it over with and start earning some money. But, you would have to do those things anyway just to start working in the industry (excepting the passport if you worked Near Coastal only). I’m sure they accepted a number of people and expended time and money on them only to find out later that the individual could not obtain a TWIC or MMC based on their past. That’s something beyond their control.

The process is frustrating, SIU seems to make it more so for no good reason. Don’t expect things to get better/easier if you decide to go that route with what I’ve shared. When my son got home after Phase II he was telling me some things he had to do in order to return that didn’t make any sense to me, so I called them. They wouldn’t talk to me, they don’t talk to parents. Ok, I can understand that to an extent, most parents have no clue about the CG requirements and some of the processes. But I got my son on the extension and I would ask a question. She wouldn’t answer it until he asked it. To me that was just obnoxious.

You indicate that you are a veteran. Well, you know the drill. You are a mushroom, you have to fight to get every piece of pertinent information you get. The practice of hurry up and wait also holds true. While I think SIU has a fantastic program, it’s not for everybody.

Regarding the TWIC card from Seadawg’s post, make sure you self-identify as a Merchant Mariner when you apply, this triggers a transfer of your information to the NMC when your TWIC card is issued. Keep the applicant ID # from your TWIC application. It is used to identify you in the future in all dealings with TWIC. They can locate you etc without it, but it’s easier if you use that.

If I can help out with anything else don’t hesitate to ask, feel free to email me.

I’ve been accepted to Piney Point to start in October. So far, there hasn’t been anything said about having to join the union or committing x amount of time to the union in exchange for the education. I would expect this to be so and find it odd that this subject wasn’t brought up at the start. Anyone know anything about this?

Spoke to the SIU’s Paul Hall Center this morning…Indeed the Veteran’s program has been suspended till further notice or until they get enough of us to join the active reserves to go do a little time in the sand, how convenient, and away we go.

On speaking with the rep from the SIU, I did learn the TWIC and passport must be issued and the MMC has to at least show “cleared” in the USCG database. So you don’t have to have the MMC card in hand to start, which is good news.

Due to the downturn in the economy class sizes have been reduced from 25-30, to 10-15 students. They are now booking classes for January, mind you, that’s IF you have hurdled over the TWIC, passport, and cleared MMC requirements.

It would appear it’s a big shit sandwich and we’re all gonna have to take a bite…tough times man. I can’t imagine things can stay this dismal for too much longer, but it’s mean on the streets. To all the rest sucked up in this mess, I urge you to start buying American and lobby your local reps. to start bringing the jobs back home. I recently had an incident with my HP printer. I ended up speaking with the Philipennes, India, and finally, Canada, for hours to get a resolution. There’s work out there, but I fear much of it’s been outsourced to cheaper labor.

Good luck to you all, God’s speed home!

Brian

[quote=Radar;16203]Spoke to the SIU’s Paul Hall Center this morning…Indeed the Veteran’s program has been suspended till further notice or until they get enough of us to join the active reserves to go do a little time in the sand, how convenient, and away we go.

On speaking with the rep from the SIU, I did learn the TWIC and passport must be issued and the MMC has to at least show “cleared” in the USCG database. So you don’t have to have the MMC card in hand to start, which is good news.

Due to the downturn in the economy class sizes have been reduced from 25-30, to 10-15 students. They are now booking classes for January, mind you, that’s IF you have hurdled over the TWIC, passport, and cleared MMC requirements.

It would appear it’s a big shit sandwich and we’re all gonna have to take a bite…tough times man. I can’t imagine things can stay this dismal for too much longer, but it’s mean on the streets. To all the rest sucked up in this mess, I urge you to start buying American and lobby your local reps. to start bringing the jobs back home. I recently had an incident with my HP printer. I ended up speaking with the Philipennes, India, and finally, Canada, for hours to get a resolution. There’s work out there, but I fear much of it’s been outsourced to cheaper labor.

Good luck to you all, God’s speed home!

Brian[/quote]

But if we buy American, what will that do to shipping?

If we can figure out how to export more that might help …

[QUOTE=Radar;16178]Well that STINKS, I am a Veteran, former Electronics Technician in the Navy(Radar). I’m going to give a call tomorrow to the school and try to get further info. I’ll post whatever I learn on this thread in hopes it helps others in the future.

Hard to believe the SIU is mandating prospective students shell out the money and acquire the MMC, TWIC, and passport prior to starting.

Anyone know what the turnaround time is right now in guestamation terms for a TWIC and MMC? I’m guessing it’ll be at least a 6 week turnaround time to get them, unless theres a way to expedite.

Thank you again for all the insight, knowledge, and guidance folks. This is by far the best site due to the members active participation. Encouraging, I hope I can return the favor someday soon for other future seafarers.

Live Well,
Brian[/QUOTE]
Hey Radar,

I recently recieved my MMC and was accepted to the SIU program. It took about one week for my TWIC to be ready for pickup. The day after I applied for it, I took the receipt of TWIC application to the REC with my physical form and my drug test info (request it to be faxed to the REC from the drug test clinic). Once I applied for my MMC I recieved it in the mail about 3 weeks later (I was amazed). Once I had all my info together I sent in my application packet to the SIU and was accepted, my start date was only 4 months from my acceptance ( I start in November ). So if you decide to go down that path, don’t be discouraged by the wait, you never know how fast it might go.

LOL! Point well made, I suppose I’m in a bit of a quandary on buying American from here out. Export more American may be the better side of that coin.

I can’t thank all of you enough for your good insight, knowledge, and advice. Interdependence at it’s best. I’ve got some work to do on this end. Thanks again, hope to be underway soon.
Brian

[quote=Radar;16241]LOL! Point well made, I suppose I’m in a bit of a quandary on buying American from here out. Export more American may be the better side of that coin.

I can’t thank all of you enough for your good insight, knowledge, and advice. Interdependence at it’s best. I’ve got some work to do on this end. Thanks again, hope to be underway soon.
Brian[/quote]

Good luck. I took a different tack, but I can’t say enough about my time at sea and what I learned and how much it shapes how I look at the world today.

I’ve been considering the SIU program, but I am wondering if there are any 45 years olds enrolled in it.

I’m 58 years young