Unlicensed Apprentice Program at Paul Hall School

Good one @dano - stop by gCaptain Forum more often if you can.

@cphdck98 Life is too short for procrastination. Get out there and make it happen. Thank’s again.


As a hawsepiper, I would strongly urge anyone starting out – in particular anyone who has already completed a 4-year degree, to find an alternative route, whether it is the Workboat Academy or one of the state Maritime academy graduate degree license programs.

Hawsepiping became much more expensive (+$20k) and time-consuming (+4 mos) as of Jan. 1 this year, and with demand for mariners sharply down in the oil patch (and many of the experienced folks there having moved on to other segments) … well, it’s a long road.

There are still jobs and there will still be opportunities in the future – even in the Gulf – but you will have to be exceedingly well prepared, persistent, and at least a little bit lucky.

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Of course the irony of his comments is stunning. . . .

Don’t think that cleaning heads is an experience only enjoyed by hawsepipers. . . as an Academy grad, I can assure you that at least I have spent some time doing much the same. THAT said, I agree that I have never asked anyone that sailed under me to do anything that I have not personally done. If anything, when I was sailing, I would often to the nastiest work myself. I particularly recall one incident where I had one of my assistants pass tools to me while I was chest deep in bilge water dropping the plug on a failed gearbox, wearing only gym shorts with no shoes due to the heat and access. When we had finished, he told me that he could never have done anything like I just did. . . I then asked him why he was at sea and in my engine room. . . he left when we got to the next port of his own accord and was not missed. . . .there were those that said I was hard on them, and they did not last. To me, going to the (an) academy was a tool to compress the time of getting a license. I can assure you that even my cadet time was not spent laying about in the air conditioning, but with my head stuffed into condenser heads, boilers, bilges, etc., earning and learning. And as I have stated numerous times in this forum throughout the years, HOW you get a license is less important than the person themselves. I have sailed with some absolutely useless academy grads (the one mentioned at the start of this comment being one) AND useless hawsepipers, but by the same token, I have sailed with brilliant academy grads and hawsepipers, too. Personally, I don’t care. Attitude, ability and a willingness to do what it takes are everything.


cmakin’s post is very true and the above quote is the take away. The money is towards the top so don’t waste time getting there.

True, scrubbing heads has rapidly diminishing returns, as do standing helm and lookout for that matter. Best to be just outside your comfort level as much as you can handle it.

I’ve never seen the point of the SIU school. Too long for too little. too much mess hall slave labor and horseshit for no pay. Only a B book with the right to spend most of your time ashore hanging out at a union hall for no pay. Normally, one can just get some sort of boat job and get paid to learn, and study on their own while at sea.

If one is going to invest time and money in a formal maritime education, just go to a real maritime academy in the first place for a real education with a college degree and a license.

If someone already has a 4 year degree, the grad programs at the maritime academies make the most sense.

I can see where the Workboat Academy program at PMI would make good sense for some people.

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When union shipping is good the only way to get device jobs are in the union and the B book helps. That hasn’t been the case for a while.

I think the school is essentially free so far more affordable than an academy.



Hmm at least we do agree with this. Let me give you some props, you are pretty good with telling maritime stories @cmakin

Well, because I got off my ass and lived life. I don’t have to Google to get advice for people. . .

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Nice pictures from last weekend. I have been taking pictures for years also.

I figured it was because most deep-sea ships no longer have OS. So it’s more difficult to get started deep-sea.

The burden of training has shifted from the company to the mariner.

"I’ve never seen the point of the SIU school. "

I’ve got mixed feelings about it. It is a means to an end for many people but underlying that is the thought that it is not much more than a “diploma mill” for SIU, on about the same level as the “recertified” BRs and such.

I see it as a means for the SIU leadership to suck up the maximum amount of government training funds while holding out a carrot for a lot of people who they have to know will never make it in the industry. The debacle of NCL’s Hawaii cruise ship crewing is a classic example of how badly the system can be abused.



I was curious to know whether or not you moved forward with attending the SIU unlicensed apprentice program?

I was looking for an age limit but couldn’t find one. I went to Paul Hall for some training but it wasn’t the apprenticeship program. Did you happen to see if there was one?