The offshore life

Well, I’ve spent the past year and half ever since being layed off from the oilfield trying to make it on land. It’s not working. I was hoping I could find a career allowing me to be home every night and see my family, friends and dog. Maybe i’ve worked offshore too long, I feel institutionalized, I can’t put a finger on it, but it’s been so hard to transition to a regular job, and trying to START over in a new career field, just hasn’t worked out for me. Im only 32, but i think ive finally settled the long standing debate in my head, ill probably work offshore the rest of my life. Part of me feels depressed over this outlook, because I don’t know how i’ll ever have a family and kids. Do i really want to bring a kid into the world with me working 28/14? Then part of me feels content, that i can finally settle the longstanding debate in my head, and go back to making good money.

Has anyone else gone though a time like this? Where you regretted being gone all the time for the sake of money? Kinda makes me ponder the question of life, why are we here? Just to work 10 months a year, being gone from family and essentially not having a life. I have worked with people who literally never stepped off the ship, are they happy? I don’t think so. I used to work with a captain who worked 300 days a year, i think he was borderline crazy. Why do we do this to ourselves? Is that how you want your life story to be? Kids hate you, you’ve been divorced 3 times, but HEY I got a corvette in my garage. I’ve sure met a lot of depressed mariners in my day, who seem to be trapped.

I’m not complaining. I am blessed to have the ability to make good money offshore. But I can’t help but think about these things sometimes.

Sorry, hope this isn’t too philosophical or sappy. Just wanting to talk about something that has bugged me for a long time.

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Don’t work 28/14. Work even time. I solid family life is completely 100 percent possible.

Most recent tally is 440,000 laid off from both onshore and offshore sectors since downturn.

Work even time and learn to live with less money.
Or work 28/14 and have a wife who loves your money and Jody, but hates you.

I hear you, brother. Your story is my story exactly, as a matter of fact it’s kind of eerie. I’m 33 and have spent the last year and a half ashore trying to find both the will and the way to bury my anchor. I’m actually doing quite well right now: got a girlfriend, a good job with a future, a nice place to live; I’m fat and sassy. But I’m not happy.

I miss being out on the ocean in the middle of the night, the feel of the deck underfoot, the ever-shifting world beyond the hull. I like working with my head, and I’m good at working with my hands, but I love working with my whole being, and there are very few shoreside “jobs” where you can do that. The ship is your life when you’re out there, and it’s a pretty good life if you spend your time effectively: there’s always something to learn how to do or fix, or you cultivate yourself with books and weights. Sometimes you just watch the ocean. And when you finally do get some good time ashore, you appreciate everything more. Almost like getting out of jail;)

As a matter of fact, there are a lot of parallels with being institutionalized, as you mentioned. Almost as if you’re an astronaut living in outer-space or a prisoner in his cell, life goes on without you to a certain extent. The loneliness that can accompany a life at sea is legendary. Family and friends miss you, and you miss them. Birthdays, Christmases, major life-events go by while you’re stuck on a boat somewhere. If the money is the only reason you do it, you’ve made a bad life decision; there are plenty of ways, now more than ever, to make a good living increasingly on your own terms. I think guys do it because they do get “institutionalized”, or rather, they just can’t seem to do anything else. Which is the best reason to do anything.

But as far as being settled in your own heart and head about the sizeable sacrifices a life at sea entails, well, I’m still learning how to do that… I sometimes think that if I had a wife and kids I’d be satisfied with the M-F 0900-1700, but I get the suspicion that I might start to resent everyone after a while… I recommend you read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Wind, Sand, and Stars”. He was a WWII fighter pilot who afterwards flew a mail route over the Sahara, and has a lot to say about a person’s life-work, and about those who, for one reason or another, explore the margins of the world.

So I’m right there with you, man. And I wish you the best. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something you can do “with all your might”, as the old Book says.

P.S.–There’s a ton of different ways to make a life on the water. It’s all sea-time, bro.

Yup. I quit the sea three times. All of that in my late 20s and early 30s when starting a family/kids was what I thought I should be doing. Finally I quit quitting. That’s not to say I’ve accepted it but I quit fighting it.

I was once greeted home after a nearly 6 month long hitch with MSC with this: "I love you but the next time you’re gone this long I may not be here waiting."
It was a struggle but I found a job working near coastal where I came home most nights. No more awe inspiring view of the Milky Way from the middle of the ocean where the night sky looks like a dome with stars reaching down over the horizon but the compromise saved my marriage and allowed me to continue working on the water. You don’t have to become a desk jockey.
Best of luck to you.

I got my Z-card in 1970. I was 16 years old. My old Chief asked me, “Boy are you plannin’ on doing this for a livin’”? Me, “I don’t know”…Chief…“Boy, if you do this for 6 months, you’ll be too sorry to do anything else”…He’s remembered as a prophet!

I don’t have a lot of romance or family time, either. But those things aren’t all 100% roses and cake all the time, as they are advertised to be. You have to make the choice that maximizes your joy. If you’re not happy with your sea-faring life, then what are you doing? For me, the most joy happens when I’m not commuting, not worrying about feeding myself, housing myself… all the other BS that goes along with most people’s experience of adulthood. For me, the most joy comes from being at work. I don’t grok mariners hate it: who martyr themselves for it.

It’s easy to quit going to sea. I’ve done it dozens of times.

The is hope and guidance for you out there–google MGTOW. Don’t fall for the trap of wife, kids, etc. Remain a free spirit and forever be allowed to do what you want, when you want.

The m-f job 9-5 are death for certain personalities. My limit for going to the same place to work is about 6months. After that, I want to off myself.

Good place to post part of the beginning of Moby Dick:

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

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If I could find a job on land that would pay my bills I would be gone in a flash. I hate being stuck on a boat away from life half the year. I hate missing the summertime. I hate not being able to meet people. I’ve been working on boats since I was 17 and on tugs since I was 20. I’m 33 now and I have no other skills than being a deckhand and driving a tugboat. And it’s hard to learn a be skill when you have to up and leave every 2 weeks. The only thing I do enjoy is my 2 weeks at a time off.

I would jump at running a day boat but those sort of jobs are hard to land around here.

You could try cruise ships. From what I hear, a couple of stripes and you’ll have to be trying hard if you don’t want romance. Money’s not that good… but you can’t buy back an unhappy day, anyway, so screw it.

5 years. I’m only going to sail for 5 years…lol

Is that the asshole kings pointer that’s really just taking up a good position for a true mariner who actually wants to be out there line?

If I could find a job that payed me the $$ I make out here & work half the year on land, sign me up. Being a businessman who travels Monday-Friday or close to that & only being home on weekends would suck. I like to hunt & fish on weekdays when there’s no crowd & do odds & inns on the weekends.

I just need one more boom and I’ll be able to walk away…

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;195349]I just need one more boom and I’ll be able to walk away…[/QUOTE]

You and me both, brother !!!

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;195349]I just need one more boom and I’ll be able to walk away…[/QUOTE]

And you promise not to piss it all away the next time??