Tugboat company background checks

I have a few misdemeanor thefts a dui, and other some stuff on my record. (No felonies) The latest was 3 years ago. I was drinking a lot and made a lot of stupid choices. I decided to leave commercial fishing to work somewhere more stable. I just got finished with training where I got my AB unlimited, 100 ton master, etc. My question is will these past mistakes stop me from getting a good west coast tug job?

They’ll likely never know. If you passed background checks for your TWIC and MMC you should be good to go.

The biggest and best companies may screen you out, but you’ll fit right in at the smaller and shitter companies. Most companies reject people for violent felonies, but some drug crazed violent felons still slip by.


Damn thieves ,

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You’ll fit right in at most smaller outfits.


Fit right in is an understatement. The manager of a tug outfit I worked for didn’t give a damn about my credentials. He went on and on about my valid passport and how “we don’t get many people who can go into Canada.”


Ok thanks for the replies, it wasn’t like I stole from a person, it was a couple 2 am drunkin walmart shopping gone wrong. But I guess that doesn’t matter. All that matters is what pops up on a background check and whether or not I can enter canada. My dui was settled 3 years ago, is there anything I can do about not being able to enter canada?

There are ways to work around it, but I’m not sure how likely you are to succeed. We had three crew deported for various offenses when the ship went into Victoria BC. They had the process down pretty smooth for getting them off the ship and back to the US. I don’t know if there is an issue if the boat is just passing through their waters, but if you pull into port you’ll probably be screwed. Here’s some reading on the legal work around http://www.ezbordercrossing.com/the-inspection-experience/prior-criminal-offenses/crossing-canadian-border-with-a-dui/

FWIW I have a DUI and battery conviction (both misdemeanors) from 5 years ago, and was allowed to enter Canada last September. Canadian border patrol took my passport and did a background check, but they didn’t ask me any questions. Another deckhand had a serious record with felonies, and he was allowed to stay in Canada but wasn’t allowed off the boat. This happened at the Port of Montreal.

I don’t think we’re supposed to enter Canada, but maybe their border patrol can make exceptions. Most US companies that enter Canada will not hire us, even if several years have passed or we have proof of being allowed in. I got lucky because that company didn’t do a background check, as well as catching a break with being allowed to leave the boat.

Maybe not being in a car when we enter Canada helps our chances. Maybe the Canadians take into account how many years have passed, if you’ve stayed out of trouble or have any other serious crimes.

I’ve seen guys taken off tugboats in Canada and deported, but usually they just tell the guy don’t ever come back to Canada again.

Entering Canada into British Columbia from the US, Customs Canada and the agent usually don’t even come to the boat, unless there is some problem. I’ve heard a couple of horror stories, but I’ve had good luck.

Coming back to the US, ICE and the agent always come to the boat. They are usually fast and easy, but there are some jerks that try to cause problems.

I had a co-worker who was about to get laid off & he put in applications with some smaller West Coast tug companies. He told me a couple of companies replied that his license was too big & record too clean, the companies figured as soon as he found something better he would quit so he was a no hire. You should find something that pays steadier than fishing if you are persistent.

Don’t tell your new shipmates about the theft convictions. No one likes a thief & whenever someone misplaces something they will openingly or secretly blame you for stealing it.


Anyone have a list or can mention a few of the mid to small west coast tug operations?

What was the license that he was told it’s too big?

It’s was 9-10 years ago so I don’t remember exactly but he was a AB/Tankerman with a 3rd Mate at least. The company laid off according to a seniority list & his name was dropping toward the bottom during a slow period.

Okay, thanks for sharing

I work for a tug company on the Illinois river. Most of the people I worked with have a way worse past than you! Haha. That is starting to change in the past few years. Now they won’t hire felons and you have to have a GED or high school diploma. This Is just because the bigger company that owns us started that policy so we have to follow it. I think it is kind of ridiculous. If enough time has past after a felony I think anybody deserves a second chance. Worked with plenty of ex con’s / people that had felonies in the Gulf to. Most of them were great workers and good people. At least on the boat. I know many companies are cracking down on felonies though.

Do a search on the gcaptain forum for “Big 'Ol List of Maritime Companies”. Its a 3 part post. It will take you a while to sort out which ones are still in business & on the West Coast but it’s a start if no one from the West Coast replies to you to let you know which companies are laxed in their hiring standards.

Sounds like a good way to keep the for-profit prison system going for another generation.

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Felonies and violent or drug related misdemeanors are on the HR girl’s checklist at the big companies.

The small companies only worry about recent crimes of violence.

Thanks, I found it and he will check it out.