Tug or OSV?

I’m planning on going to MITAGS to go through their workboat mate program and I have the option of either going tug or osv. I would like to have some opinions of both industries from people that work on OSV’s or tugs. Does anyone have experience in both? What do you think is the better field to get into? I’m just curious to see what some of you experienced people have to say, any and all help is appreciated.

They are both excellent industries with lots of potential for career growth. In deciding which to start out in, consider this: If you go to the tugs, you’ll be able to complete your TOARs, or very nearly complete themn, during your two years as a cadet.Doing this will get you set up for a towing license in addition to the Mate license. Plus, you’ll learn about towing, which is a very specialized skill set. Plus, if you want to work on Anchor Boats someday, you have to have a towing license. So I’d recommend you start on tugs. You can always cross over easily from tugs to OSVs. It is much more difficult to cross over to tugs from other industry segments.

If it were me I would go for the tug side…Like Capt. A. said you get that towing endorsment or atleast most of it, and the license. With the license you can always sail as an AB to learn the ropes of an OSV in a few hitches then move up to mate, but atleast you have the towing endorsment. Just my two cents…

I have to agree tugs are where it is at. I have worked both tugs & OSV’s, I like the tugs for the constant moving around & the money. The OSV’s are OK, but when you get to the rig you DP and thats it. I ain’t knocking to each his own it’s just not for me.

I’ve worked tugs and OSVs. I loved working OSVs when it was me, two EMD mains, and a bow thruster. A boat handler’s wet dream. Now, with DP I imagine it is kinda like being an airline pilot. Sit back and watch the boat drive itself. Yawn. I work harbor tugs now and I get all the boat handling I want. Someone told me the future of tugboats is in DP. I laughed my ass off at her and asked, when did you ever see a tug that wasn’t moving unless it was de-crewed? After a time she went back to the GOM where her DP cert impressed people. I’m not knocking DP, I just don’t want to do it. I am knocking her though. She was awful and we don’t miss her.

Go tugs and learn some boat handeling. All you’ll learn going OSV is how to punch buttons and make coffee. You don’t want to be one of those guys bringing the boat into port on DP do you? If you ever decide to go OSV the cross over will be nothing for you, and at most you’ll just have to spend a week in class and some time on board traning. Now so if you go OSV, and want to go tug you’re looking at at least a year as a traning mate and several months getting your TOAR compleated.

Both and then some… AHTS

Thanks for the input everyone. I had a feeling the majority would be leaning towards tugs, being towing takes a lot of skill. Now here is another question. When I ship out with a company to do my sea time, is it more wise to go coastal towing like say oil barges, or should I go harbor tugs and maybe get some experience on z-drive tugs?

Camthrop, I’m glad you are asking these questions .It solidifies the conclusions that I have come to…

NO INLAND or harbor tugs!! Why? You’ll limit yourself to an inland license. Unless that’s all you want. You need oceans and coastwise time. Have you been in touch with Vic Tufts at MITAGS? Last I knew he was running the two year program there. How far into the process are you? Have you begun interviewing with companies? Have you been to workboatacademy.com?
It is great to have some dreams about where you want to be in your career, but don’t put the cart before the horse. The last thing you should be worried about at this point is learning to run zdrive. That will come down the road. No one is going to put you on a zdrive boat, unless it is to cook.

Stay away from ATB’s early in your career. Learn boathandling and ship/barge work on a harbor tug from the deck for the experience. It’ll take you far.
Real tugboating is a contact sport!

I have been to workboatacademy.com and I’m getting in touch with the school soon. I’m not 19 yet so I can’t attend the school, but I really want to get in touch with them and see what it’s all about. I have just started getting in touch with local tug companies and the ones that take cadets from the school (just east coast companies at the moment, I live in Massachusetts).

I kind of thought you were more in the thinking about it phase instead of the “planning on going” phase because the questions you asked would have been addressed during your admissions process at MITAGS. Keep asking! Anything you can think of.
The more you know, the better off you will be, and the informed mariner is likely to be much more successful than the uninformed. The school is an excellent way to get into this industry, and at your age the sky is the limit. There is lots of opportunity for young people getting in. To help get up to speed on the administrative side of licensing and documentation, uou will want to pick up a copy of Leonard Lambert’s book “The New Hawsepipe”. You will refer to it often for many years. It takes a lot of the mystery out of the licensing process.

Thanks for the help Capt_A. I’ll get myself a copy of that book for sure, I’ve heard good things about it. I sent an email to the school to set up a meeting with them, and I’m still talking to local tug companies but also waiting to hear back from a lot of them.

I just received my copy of it…Wow…I see what the big deal is now…It is a must have…

Plus, you can go to the website and email questions to Leonard, and he’ll get back to you!

Now that’s fantastic. My copy should be here soon!