Starting on the path

Hello everyone. First I would like to say that the information I’ve found on this site is excellent. There are many on this site that are well informed and the knowledge they share is helpful and appreciated.

I am 37 and have chosen the marine life as a career. My early years were spent going from job to job and in and out of college. I studied mathematics and psychology but never finished a degree. During these years I learned of life on the boats through a friend who’s brother was a Captain (inland push boats) and I did two hitches. I liked life on the boats, but was too young to settle down. I also had a feeling inside me that I really wanted offshore, not going back and forth in the Intercoastal. (Seemed kinda like driving up and down in a ditch.)

To brag about myself (throw in the shameless plug) I heard one of my Captain’s tell someone on the phone that he had the best deckhand onboard that he had ever seen. He mentioned that I painted the whole boat in one, 20 day hitch. Didn’t seem like much to me; I was just keeping busy to pass the time. Another thing I did which I noticed raised his eyebrows was splice all the end of the ropes I found fraying. I just saw them and I wanted something to. He came in one day and asked if I had done that. At first I thought I did something wrong, but then understood differently. So I don’t mind working. And it just seems logical to me that clean and organized is safe and efficient.

So I would like to go back on the water-- this time offshore. I’m thinking crew boats are a good start and there is a chance that I would get my 100 gt and stay. Lifeboats are another option, but crew boats would be my first choice. If I do chose to advance, I would get my AB-OSV or special or limited (and maybe still get the 100gt), then move up to larger boats and advance toward a 500gt mate. It would be a dream if I could start with a company from day one that would let me move up without having to change companies to find a larger boat.

I know that the future isn’t something we can know for sure, but these are my general goals. With more experience on the water I know that I will learn what I enjoy and what my strengths and weaknesses are. I also know that the cost and time involved in upgrading is great but I would be willing to make those sacrifices. I’m single and without children, so I have nothing to tie me down.

Now for anyone that would be kind enough to tell me if my thinking is in any way flawed, please straighten me out. Also, I know that things are tight now and it’s tough for everyone, but if anyone has an idea of where I could go and how to go about beginning this adventure, please tell me. I live in Houston, TX and am looking at the GOM. I would be willing to work outside the GOM, but the GOM is closer.

Thanks and good luck to all.

If you go to work on crew boats (less than 100 tons) then get your license you will have to go back and jump through hoops and or be a deckhand again to get tonnage time to upgrade. If I were in your shoes I would try to get with a company like HOS as a deck hand on their large deepwater offshore workboats. It will be more work than being a deckhand on a crew boat, but in the long run I think you’ll be better off. Just my two cents. I’ve seen a lot of guys go your route and then feel kind of stuck at the 100 ton license.

Thanks jthomas. So basically, if you’re going to get sea time, mise as well get it on a bigger boat so it counts for more. Got it. And more work is no problem for me, but gees, it’s so tough right now, I’ll take almost anything.

I’ve met a few of the folks out of PMI’s Workboat Academy, and while most of them are on tugs, one of them works for Rigdon / Gulfmark. He’ll have his 1600 NC Mate / 500 Oc Mate when he graduates (and passes the exams). He won’t have a guaranteed job, but he’s now been with that company for 2 years and says they like him. Sounds like a good way to get in with a company at the beginning and then hopefully stay on with them.

Just saw an online add that Oceaneering was looking for OS. Not sure if thats on one of their 100 on boats or the bigger ones. Go knock on a door…

I hear big companies are always looking for “good people.”

Just how hungry are ya?

Handsinthesky - You can sit for a 500 T Master with all your time on boats under 100 Ton. You need 360 days on boats over 50 T as part of the total number of required days. The trick is getting the evaluations out of the way for your RFPNW on the AB, which requires time on larger boats. Some schools offer the RFPNW on their simulators in a two day class, but I’m not sure yet how the tonnage requirement fits in there.

Best thing to do is get your MMD and TWIC card, then start getting some classes out of the way, such as Basic Safety Training to start setting yourself apart from the other candidates that competing with your for the few positions that may open up. Try Young Memorial in Morgan City or L E Fletcher (LAMPI) in Houma for very reasonably priced classes. You can do a quick search on this site for contact info on those schools.

bob - I’ve also seen the ads for Oceaneering, so I stopped by their office in Morgan City last week. They advised that they don’t have any openings, and have masters filling OS positions just to stay employed.

Yes, it is tight out there! Good luck to all who are looking.

And Happy Thanksgiving!

now isnt the greatest time to be getting into the business. i met a man yesterday who holds 500 master/1600 mate with all the inherent goodies to those who, after spending weeks and weeks pounding the pavement in the gulf took a job doing shipyard repairs on the boat i just got off just to be getting a pay check. there are just too many laid up boats and laid up crew. masters sailing mate. mates sailing ab etc. an inexperienced os with nothing special in their little red book is going to have a bear of a time getting. the only reason ive been working is my company was on a job that required a medic. if i was just an ordianary i probably would have starved by now. as it stands with that job being over, that might be the direction im heading…

if its an option for you, the academies might be your best bet. at least there you graduate with 3/m unlimited and maybe a few other goodies. much better chance at getting a decent job…

You might try MSC. They have a lot of OS positions and fairly high turnover in the entry level ratings. Good luck Brother.