Seatime Compilation


#1

My boss just asked a question you all might be able to assist with.

His complaint is having to write seatime letters. The amount of time HR spends digging up payroll records, and separating duties, and vessels, is a drag on their productivity, such as it is.

Is there anything out there that anyone knows about that might help keep track of that?

We have ADP, and pay period reports are in Excel, but that isn’t easily searchable like a database might be.

Anyone?

On a similar note, Mr. Cavo,
Other that “on company letterhead”, is there any requirement for a company to maintain and provide data for seatime letters?
Thanks.


#2

Is there any reason the mariner can’t do this themselves? I would think it would be easier for all concerned if the individual maintained all this information on their own, in a nice little bundle, adding to it as time went by before putting it into a nice package for the company to put on letterhead. The more you do on your own the more friends you are going to have in HR.


#3

The step from Excel to Access is the click of the Wizard away. A little bit of proper set up and you have a completely searchable and customizable tool.

The amount of time HR spends digging up payroll records, and separating duties, and vessels, is a drag on their productivity, such as it is.

Additionally, if they use ADP for payroll this information has to be entered into a computer somewhere, either by HR when submitting to ADP or by ADP directly. If the information were also saved in another format locally, there is no need to dig up payroll records, it’s already saved electronically and the data can be manipulated.

It’s all in the set up, Garbage In/Garbage Out.


#4

Having spent years dealing with the same problem, I started asking the captains to write each crew member a seatime letter when they departed the vessel. It alleviated a lot of research, but not always, as many times at crew changes, captains and crew are just too busy. What is easier and should be done anyway is the mariner keeping track of his/hers time. Submit that to the company manager and plugging it into a seatime letter is a breeze.


#5

Solution: it’s called a “Certificate of Discharge”, read all about it in 46 CFR part 14.307.


#6

Of course that is the obvious solution and one I always used for my sea time on deep sea ships, but my experience with small T boat operations and small tug companies, is they don’t use discharge books (not sure why). Should be industry wide, but is not.


#7

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My suspicion is they don’t use the Certificate of Discharge because the shoreside weenies don’t understand the administration of them and refuse to learn. Even if not required, it’s so easy to just use them everywhere. (Wouldn’t standarization be nice?)


#8

[QUOTE=Jeffrox;20191][I]"my experience with small T boat operations and small tug companies, is they don’t use discharge books (not sure why). Should be industry wide, but is not[/I]. "<!-- / message -->

My suspicion is they don’t use the Certificate of Discharge because the shoreside weenies don’t understand the administration of them and refuse to learn. Even if not required, it’s so easy to just use them everywhere. (Wouldn’t standarization be nice?)[/QUOTE]

I just looked one up. Being a “shoreside weenie”, I can’t see how or why I’d make it work for a long time employee who comes in every day at 0630, and goes home after 1530, when the days work is done. For the weekly boats that work 3 days, get crewed off, and come back for another day to finish out the week, it might be easier. The guy that switches from one boat to another in the middle of the week would be a challenge. In a given pay period, a sailor could have 15 of those Certs.

I can understand using them for a one-trip wonder, but for a long term employee, the implementation would be more difficult than what we are presently doing.

We have 10 different pay categories, and a given employee may work in 3-5 per pay period. That affects seatime letters, because USCG credit is different for a mate or a “deckineer”. A daily paid guy gets 12 hours, but an hourly paid guy doesn’t necessarily get 12 per day. He might only get 4.

Inland or Near Coastal/Oceans needs to be separated out as well. USCG credit differs there too.

Anyways, Thanks all for the thoughts.


#9

just checked my last two seatime letters…they appear to have been computer generated except for the signature…suspect some one out there has a software program for this.


#10

The letter should also include routes wherever possible. Many parts of the country, esp Alaska are getting very tight on pilotage requirements, and an easy way to log it is in the seatime letter. Areas that I have encountered this include Alaska, inside passage, Hudson river and New York Great Lakes and occasionally at other ports. This requirement is for “Acting as Pilot” which only applies up to 1600 tons. It is up to the mariner to log and if you move from boat to boat this is certainly the easiest.


#11

[quote=Tom_Tugboat;20173]My boss just asked a question you all might be able to assist with.

His complaint is having to write seatime letters. The amount of time HR spends digging up payroll records, and separating duties, and vessels, is a drag on their productivity, such as it is.

Is there anything out there that anyone knows about that might help keep track of that?

We have ADP, and pay period reports are in Excel, but that isn’t easily searchable like a database might be.

Anyone?

On a similar note, Mr. Cavo,
Other that “on company letterhead”, is there any requirement for a company to maintain and provide data for seatime letters?
Thanks.[/quote]

I once heard of something called a “database” that is supposed to do magical things like this… :slight_smile:

I’ve seen a lot of comapny sea time documents geberated out of databases that track exactly what vessel the mariner was on, what capacity, how long, what routes, etc. It can certainly be done and perhaps a little work to set up a database will reduce downstream efforts to try retreive the information.

As far as mariers keeping the records themselves, it may be a good idea to do so for your own benefit, but the service letter for the Coast Guard has to be from a company official, so there is a potential fraud issue if a company official signs a certification that the company has no records to support.

I’m not directly involved with this area, so can’t answer on what the Coast Guard requires to be kept. However, it does seem prudent for a company to keep these records, they would not come across as competent and professional if they had to respond “we don’t know…” in a legal or other “official” proceeding.


#12

Thank you Mr. Cavo.

As always, your post is insightful, and helpful!