What does an engineer do in this field? Also, what's the starting pay per month during and after the UA, program? Is having asthma a disqualifier for the program?

I’m looking into doing the UA progam at Piney Point, and I’m looking into each job position. If anyone could help me answer these questions I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

On a modern ship a QMED will do maintenance. This will could be anything from chipping and painting to assisting with replacing a main engine piston and liner. I have not sailed on a commercial ship with a watch standing QMED. You’ll have to ask the union if asthma is a disqualifier for their program. I think you will be able to get a waiver for your MMC. You should also familiarize yourself with the check lists on the USCG’s website for the credentials you’re getting.


Chief Makoi has many videos on shipboard engineering.

Northwest Sailor has videos on the SIU apprenticeship program and what life is like working with SIU.
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Take the required physical, then move on from there. Have had a few engineers with asthma, didn’t affect their thought process or abilities… The pay is all over the place, but generally a lot more than what Quick Lube pays. You will have to give up some home life.

Asthma, like many of the check boxes on the USCG physical, is not a disqualification in and of itself. The question is whether or not it is controlled/controllable, and does the prognosis present a risk of you not being able to safely carry out your duties. And that question needs to be answered by a physician on the physical form.

There is a ton of good info here, which is worth a look since they make the ultimate determination:

For asthma, if your case will render you unable to breath after hauling a fire hose up a set of stairs, that likely presents a problem. Or if you rely on a rescue inhaler every day just to keep breathing. But if it’s triggered by seasonal allergies or a cold for instance, and you can bring enough of an inhaler supply for over a full shipboard rotation, then in my personal experience it has been a non-issue.


Thank you for your help! I greatly appreciate it! I’ll watch those videos as well.

I’m prepared to give up some home life if it means my family can live a better life. Right now we’re doing okay, being able to pay most of the bills. Glad to know asthma isn’t a huge deal.

Thank you so much for the link. I’m reading it as we speak. I think I should be okay. Only have a huge issue when I’m around marijuana smoke or when spring hits.

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