Tugboat Wages 2022

They did not pay for any training while I was there, I had to take the class for Tankerman on my own dime (not to expensive) as well as bridge courses for ARPA, GMDSS and ECDIS.
Maybe that has changed, seriously doubt it though.
You can always ask. Take the initiative and get your loads/discharges and letter, then see if they will invest in your career with them, if not get it yourself and explore other options.

Is this a thing? Do academy grads with unlimited licenses actually go work as a deckhand or AB on a tug?

Every day

That sucks. I’ve never heard of an engineer grad going and working as a QMED and doubt any would ever consider working as a wiper.

Yea especially at larger companies…easy way to pad the deck department with people in exchange for the promise of wheelhouse training

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Absolutely…maybe not so much these days because there seems to be plenty of vacancies all over.

I worked with a guy who graduated SUNY during the down turn and took a qmed job because that’s all he could find. Different times now obviously and engineers are in hot demand, more so than normal.

It’s probably less prevalent on the engineering side though to have to settle for a lesser position. I know some will argue with me on this, but it’s a little easier sticking a warm body with not so much experience in an assistants spot to answer an alarm and call the chief or senior officer as opposed to a warm body responsible for a navigation watch…especially if the mate is actually expected to maneuver…

All this talk about the deck to wheelhouse pipeline and hiring from outside, hiring academy kids, etc… has got me thinking, I sometimes see companies advertising for captains and AB’s, but not mates. In fact, Tradewinds has just such an advertisement up right now. Does that mean that they have a good training program so they’ve always got a a bevy of mate licenses on standby for promotion? It just confuses me because right now it seems like almost everyone is hiring for every position, and even Tradewinds is looking for people in 2 out of 3 levels of the deck department, so why not mates? What are they doing differently?

Unmanned engine rooms and the elimination of watch standing has definitely taken away some of the “officer obligations” and allows many to posses a wrench turner mechanic mentality and still be successful, sadly. 3ae and 2ae often don’t develop the leadership skills that historically came from leader others while on watch.

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It is hard to understand how inland mariners are still not getting benefits that were industry standard in the 70’s such as door-to-door transportation, and better schedules. At least “day for day” is making a comeback. The late 80’s rout of the unions on the east coast and the subsequent high-handed treatment of their mariners by the companies lingers on.


More and more (but not most) tugboat companies are paying full travel expenses, and full day rate door to door. Even some of the Gulf companies.

Too may tug companies are still stealing half a day on crew change days. Even union companies.

Too many companies do not pay holidays. Just about everyone else in America gets paid holidays.

At the end of the day, it’s the total compensation package that matters. Money isn’t everything. I’d rather work at company with a good attitude and atmosphere for a little less.


Engineers don’t need time on a towing vessel and a TOAR to serve as an officer on a towing vessel.

If you really want to light it on fire, start talking about paid sick days.


Received tbis in my email

Vinik Marine located in Port Reading New Jersey is hiring for all positions including but not limited to, deckhands, mates, captains, and engineers. Benefits include industry competitive wages, flexible work schedule (make your own hitch), full coverage health eye and dental insurance, and free school to upgrade merchant mariner credentials and licenses.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $19.00 - $25.00 per hour


  • Dental insurance
  • Flexible schedule
  • Health insurance
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Vision insurance


  • 12 hour shift

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • Port Reading, NJ 07064: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)

Work Location: One location

They are union and pay the present MMP rates.

And new mates often need tankerman PIC to work on tankers, but they usually get it from cadet shipping. Is this arrangement not possible to get towing endorsement as a cadet? Working below one’s credential level hurts everybody, not just the one getting underpaid.

Is this serious? I’ve seen McDonalds starting pay signs for $18 an hour…and the person gets to sleep at home each night.

CMA is the only school I know of that freshly minted mates come out with a mate of tow also. I’ve heard they have an old tug and a barge to play around with. Not sure if other schools, if the cadet spends their time at a towing company they are able to get a completed toar, that would apply to their license once it’s issued.

In regards to working a lesser position, at a lot of companies, the mates are expected to do everything the captains do. For example, can’t expect to throw a new mate on a tug in New York harbor and they be turn-key ready. It’s a high level skill set in my opinion.

Offshore company where the mates are sea buoy to sea buoy? Sure, got the paper and the pulse, should be good.


I believe, but could be wrong, that Maine was putting out freshly minted mates with their mate of tow way before Cal was.


I graduated with Mate of Tow because I had time on a tug and completed the TOAR program at Mass. Mass offers a TOAR program but you have to get the sea time on your own to get Mate of Tow.


Yeah, I hear Jody works at McDonald’s. He gets my kids and wife a good discount while I’m gone.


How can they plausibly complete a TOAR if they are not getting time on a towing vessel? It only takes 30 days on a towing vessel to meet the service requirement for mate of towing vessels.