Having sailed for many years (on year 44 in the industry- about 13 Years ashore) The US Deep sea industry has changed quite a bit with regards to retention, time off, great companies, horrible companies…- hell even port time is much different.
Staring out in the late 70’s was no party- with American Export, Pacific far East, States Line and a few others trimming their fleets and later going bankrupt- jobs, especially for 3 A/E and 2 A/E were sparse- we generally shipped on 4 month jobs… Later when the bottom fell out- a lot of us went to MSC, where conditions were quite bad and the hitches were generally not less than 7-9 months- with a month or two off between jobs- sometimes we were thankful- to be employed- but always looked to go back commercial. I stacked up roughly10.5 months sea time a year for nearly ten years… Made it to C/E by age 30.
The older US Flag ships had spartan quarters- on the older steamships- we made out with lots of OT until the mid 80’s when USL went under- I was lucky; went back commercial in 88 and never looked back- the MSP European built ships were a joy- nice quarters, decent runs- but very little time in port and LOTS of repair and overhaul work.
Today, MSC runs their vessels (IMHO) like near prison ships- I have been hearing stories about 10+ months without getting relieved, Gangway Up orders- some really draconian crap- My sources are also stating that there is a mass exodus- even within the unlicensed ranks- something pretty much unheard of previously…
Retaining people ? pretty hard to do in this day and age unless someone has it in their mind to stay for the long haul … Yachts ? No Thank You . Tugs & Tows - not really either … I ’ ll still take my 80 on 80 off commercial liner run any day .