Un-Limited Verses Limited License Holders Choice

Ok, here is a question for everyone and I would hope that all will respond honestly.

If the Deep Sea U.S. Flag Fleet was still going strong and there were jobs to be had (without having to wait in the halls for one to open up) how many of those with an Un-Limited License would still want to make a career out of sailing on Tugs or working out in the Oil Field in the Gulf? I ask because I made the decision to work on Tugs as I liked the idea of having a permanent job (if there is such a thing now a days) and also having a better schedule and not having to be gone for months on end.

Let’s not make this a pissing match on who or what License should be required.

I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

While at the academy I worked as a deckineer on tugs for the experience and to help pay for school. When I graduated I applied to every company that had US Flag unlimited tonnage hopper dredges. I intended to move my license up but had no real desire to sail deep sea and be on a ship for months on end. Been there done that. I thought the 28/28 schedule was about as good as it gets. When I was completed with my license upgrades it was time for a change of benefits. Tired of getting the short end of the stick from my “labor agency”. I moved over to a GOM boat company. So basically I have been on workboats most of my career and intend to keep it that way. Nothing against deep sea. Some deep sea runs seem great, particularly the Jones Act runs. Just not my thing.

Honestly I’d rather be out for months then home for months. I wish the US had more vessels engaged in international trade.

If there was a stronger fleet beyond MSC sailing internationally I would have considered going that way far more than I did. I like my tugboat thing but it seems the good truly commercial runs are so few and far between, taking you to shitholes where you can party and see the world. They’re out there but not a dime a dozen.

good thread

I went to a state academy in the 80’s. Cadet shipped in the GOM on OSV’s, never on a “ship”. Left academy with unlimited thirds and worked in the GOM and OSV’s overseas. I always worked or was involved in the OSV industry basically because I liked it.

I could be a poster boy for doing it wrong. My advice is stay on the unlimited track as long as you can and then make your move. I"d rather be working on the river now instead of calling into bumfuck egypt.

I had a hankerin’ to go work on boats since I was a little nipper. I started on spvs breaking every law known to man when I was 10. I skipped the academy route (not because I didn’t apply, but because apparently you have to have good grades in HS to get it!) I started working along side a freshly minted Maine guy. He always groused that he and I were the exact issue of why a Maritime education wasn’t required in the tug fleet. While I had been earning for 4 years he had been paying tuition for 4 years. I had a license, and he had a license. We both were mates. Making the exact same money. (still do as a matter of fact!) But, in partial answer to your post, You can have as good, or as brief as you want (as usual depending on your ambition and ability) either way you go.

The political issues aside, you will always hear. The deep sea guys crow about how they are the ‘true mariners’. And they and they alone are (or should be) grovelled to, and glad handed for their contribution to the industry. And you will hear the small boat licenses crow about how only they know how to ‘shiphandle’ because they do it every day.

There is both merit and BS to both sides of the argument. In my (not so) humble opinion there are good and bad in both sides of the argument. I have met some fine examples from each side of the argument and some outstanding examples of fucking assholes from both sides. It’s not so much what ‘we all’ think as much as what YOU want to (and have the ability) to do that will determine your career direction.

For me, it was all about options with a limited ticket you are pretty much stuck in green/brown water fleet (Nothing wrong with that). An unlimited license allows you to sail any sector of the industry, from a regulatory stand point. I went unlimited in order to have more options open to me. If we had a stronger deep sea fleet and plenty of jobs not sure I would prefer to sail deep draft, but it feels good to know I could.

Take work that interests you the most and works the best for you & your family. I struggle with this all the time.

The advice to get the highest license possible is good for all situations.

There is no definition of a mariner that starts at the 100 fathom line.

One of the best mariners I ever met was driving a skiff in Costa Rica. Man that guy could read the sea, the swells, the wind to make trips I would hardly contemplate … He was a mariner.

I’ve sailed both deep sea and brown water. An old Captain I worked for years ago said to get the biggest license you can get…you never know what you’ll want to do. I’m glad I listened to him. I have an unlimited license but work in the tug/barge sector. I have options. Options are cool.

One of the best mariners I ever met was driving a skiff in Costa Rica. Man that guy could read the sea, the swells, the wind to make trips I would hardly contemplate … He was a mariner.[/QUOTE]

Yeah yeah, you should see the way I burn through my MS Outlook inbox. I mean every day!

Yeah, yeah. And guess who is sending all that crap.

I can hardly wait to go to Deadquarters to get the latest directives, you know, the ones that will filter into your Inbox and work life…

If I could do it again I would have gone to an academy and done deep sea for a while and then done the brown water thing.

Started in GOM working on mud boats and tugs. Once I had an AB ticket, I ventured out west to obtain union employment deep sea, I never looked back. I had to start from the beginning obtaining sea time on larger vessels, in order to get the unlimited license. Well worth the effort. I prefer the big wad of cash after months of work and then the time off for projects. Now a days, I go to sea to rest from the work at home. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The smart money would have been to go work on unlimited tonnage vessels, get every license you can obtain and then should you decide on working in the Gulf or in the Northeast on tugs, you won’t have to worry about whatever license change the puddle pirates decide on this week for limited guys.

I don’t know how things are handled in-port with the big ships but I sure miss traveling on someone else’s dime, Got to see a lot of places in the USN (54 country’s). I do like the steady schedule though that I am on now and elect to stay there. I have had my fill of 6,8 and 9 month deployments away from home. Heck I think 28 days is to many now but need to put money in the bank.

So, even with an unlimited lic. I’ll stay in the GOM or east coast when it opens up.

I worked an erratic schedule for the first 15 years I sailed. The first couple of years I struggled with which department I’d sail. I finally set my goal for Chief Motor. When I finally accomplished it, the oilfield had slumped, the big seismic vessels were foreign flagged so I weighed my options between SIU contracted tugs and AMO ships. I opted for the SIU notch tug and barges with 28/28 rotation as I got married. (again) With the day rate, overtime and vacation pay, it was more than the ships. The double retirement contributions with a wage related pension worked out well too. Retirement is NOT over-rated…