Showing up in the Gulf with no experience: is it a good idea?

l’m an aspiring mariner with no experience from the west coast who’s looking for advice. I considered attending the Seattle Mariner Academy’s 1 year program to become qualified as a QMED or an able seaman. The costs would be close to 20K. I don’t want to be that far in debt so I’m considering getting the necessary coast guard documents and then just show up in the Gulf, rent a hotel, and pester companies to hire me until I get a job. I’m leaning toward an entry level wiper position but would take an OS position if necessary. How successful would this approach be percentage wise? What would my chances of getting a job be and how long might it take? What is the best state/city to travel to and camp out till I get offered a job? Is Texas or Louisiana better? Also, are most of the offshore vessels tankers? Is it possible to avoid working on a tanker that transports the actual oil? I don’t want to be around benzene at all. Don’t want a disease later on in life. Thanks for your input.

Personally I’d opt for the school. Companies these days have their pick of experienced people, why then would they take an entry rating with little to none. Still, I suppose heading down for a personal look see wouldn’t hurt. Who knows, you may will the lottery. At the very least it would be an adventure. Side note: with your present lack of credentials you won’t land a job on a transport tanker so don’t worry. Oil field is your best bet, and OSV’s are not " tankers", but you may be around any number of various chemicals so wear your PPE. ( PS: if I went in asking for a job I’d not start out telling them what you will and won’t do, ie: " I don’t want to be around benzene" … They may show you the door).

Don’t worry. Benzeneitis is non-communicable.

Don’t do Seattle Maritime, check out PMI in two years for that cost you could get a mates ticket.

the Advantage of a school like Seattle maritime is that if you go into the QMED program you graduate as a Junior engineer (QMED any) .then after you sail 120 days, you can sit for an engineers lic and you have job placement after the program . in the deck side you graduate with a AB and a tankerman PIC endorsement also with job placement . i met a few guys on the west coast that went that route it was good for them especially on the engine room side. PMI,houston marine and i think hornbeck offshore have a two year programs that you graduated with a limited tonnage mates or some sort of limted HP Engineering lic. good luck.

IMHO, I would just come down and apply in person at a small company that runs <100 ton boats. Minimal required documents, and it will let you know if this life is for you. There is plenty of turnover and churn on the small boats. I’ll bet that you’ll find a job in a hurry if you’re there with your bags packed. See so many new guys insisting on getting on with a top tier outfit right off the bat. Try out a small company and build some experience.

Do not know much about PMI, but I went to Seattle Maritime and have commented on the advantages of the school often. I went the engineering track and what you recieve at the end is a QMED, oiler, refrigeration, pumpman, Jr engineer, electrician, and Lifeboatman ratings. and if you get all the assessments signed off you also get your RFPEW Endorsements on your MMD. Unless things have changed since I last spoke to them a couple months ago, you DO NOT get a Tankerman PIC from either track(deck or engine), I had to pay for my own class for Tankerman assistant, and they do not offer specific job placement after you graduate. They have their ear to the ground and might help you if they here of something, or they may make some calls to see what is available, but don’t expect them to hand you a job.

Also, I believe the deck program is no longer available, too hard to find internships for the deck students. Like I said, I did the engineering track and it has done nothing but help me get to where I am now, which is working on a brand new drill ship. I think you would be much better off trying to get employed as a QMED than trying to find wiper work. Just my two cents.

I just heard that compass courses in Edmonds is going to be starting a licensed engineering program of some sort you may want to call them and get some info on that as well.