What happened to your industry?

I’ve been working hard labor in the tree industry since I was a teenager. I’m 29 years old and ready for a career change. Like so many others, I’ve dreamed of having an offshore career and working at sea (blah blah blah, right?). I’m not at all allergic to hard work, and I’ve done my due diligence - I know what certs I need and what I have to do to get the ball rolling.

…and then I come here. I see nothing but sailors whining about their dying industry. I read all about how underpaid yall are and how impossible it is to find work in your industry. I see post after pitiful post telling aspiring sailors to pursue other career paths. All this talk about the maritime industry going to hell had me upset at first. But after stewing over it for a bit, I started getting angry.

My question to you is WHY? What the hell happened? I want to work at sea, G******it! Will the industry come back? Or is this incessant whining only coming from a small handful of negative people who aren’t cut out for the work?

I understand this post is inflammatory but I mean it to be. I want to know why the industry I’ve romanticized my entire adult life is in such turmoil. Hopefully I can glean some insight before I take the plunge and begin investing money in an endangered career.

Break out your pokey sticks or what not and tell me wtf is going on with maritime work!


The people who own the politicians (the ones you probably voted for) think that American workers make too much money and want to replace us with 3rd world villagers.

“Tree industry”? If you mean timber industry as in harvesting forests for logs rather than an arborist in some froofroo suburb then just imagine if Weyerhaeuser or Georgia-Pacific replaced you with a worker from South Bumfukistan who would be happy to live in a tent in the woods and work for $50 a day - which is a fortune where he comes from.

Tell us more about your “tree industry” and we can probably tell you much about the people who are trying to do to us what Big Timber did to the mill workers in the Pacific Northwest.


I had always thought of you as amongst (besides tenengineer and tugsailor) the most learned, educated, erudite & traveled of all the posters on this site.

Since when did you start using derogatory words like “3rd world villagers”?

Back to regular programming and learning something about the “tree industry”.


Primarily line clearance. My career is split about 50/50 with urban line clearance and transmission clearance in the Rocky mountains.

So all of the maritime jobs have been given to a bunch of flea-ridden third world peasants? Really it’s no different than every other industry in America. They outsource what they can and import illegals when they can’t.

So whatcha think? Is it a career worth pursuing anymore or are all the naysayers on target?

Well he’s certainly educated enough to understand the indisputable FACT that there are indeed 3rd world countries populated with villagers who can and DO take jobs from Americans for pennies on the dollar. What reality do you live in?

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Well someone sounds angry.

Dying yes.

If you are not at least an Able Seafear-Deck…or the nephew to someone important in the industry, then dead yes.

Yessir, very disappointed but thank you very much for your reply.

If a sailor ain’t bitchin, he ain’t talkin

In all seriousness I can’t complain. I have been steadily employed for the last 15 years. I have received raises every year and I have moved up on my license and sailing Chief. I wish I had more but see my first sentence…lol


All I ever wanted was an honest weeks pay for a honest days work.


Since the largest source of FoC seafarers are the villages of the Philippine Islands it is hardly a derogatory term. It is an accurate description of a labor source much favored by those who object to paying living wages to their fellow citizens.

The Philippines is described politically as a 3rd World nation and there are very few municipalities in the 7,000 islands that make up the homelands of those mariners that could be described as other than a village.

The second most common source is China, whether it is 3rd world these days may be debatable but the villages that supply those mariners are very much 3rd world by anyone’s measure.

The third most common source is Indonesia, and like the Philippines is made up mostly of small isolated villages where seafaring offers a relatively lucrative escape from poverty.


Some of the industry like oil related stuff is boom and bust and the US deep sea fleet is on the ropes but don’t be discouraged because there is a lot more going on in this industry than supply boats and box ships. The greedy politicians and 3rd world villagers aren’t going to let up on either shipping or land based occupations.
Do your research so you know what the best fit is for you. At 29, the sooner you make the change, the better. People on this forum will answer your questions if you’re serious. Best of luck to you.

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Thank you sir for the encouragement. I did have my eyes set on the Gulf of Mexico but I will do more research

There are lots of Spanish speaking power line tree trimming crews in the US that are mostly, with the exception of the foreman, from Guatemala. Also, Spanish speaking logging crews, tree planting crews, etc., etc.

regardless of your blatant attempt and at this point a meager success at stirring up a shitstorm, let me try to connect the dots for you…since although you claim you have done your research your lighter fluid-esque post suggests differently…

in my opinion, the biggest problems right now are that 1) the offshore oil industry is hurting and 2) the prerequisites that one needs to get an entry level position are time consuming and expensive.

to further elaborate from what I have learned from working on boats for 20 odd years…
when work is steady and strong in the gulf of mexico on OSVs, that creates A LOT of opportunities which IN TURN creates more opportunities in other sectors. Offshore oil is cyclical just like fishing, however. Boom or bust.

over the last decade ( at least ) OSV jobs and tugboat jobs have become much more desirable to academy graduates, putting more pressure on job vacancies, which leads me to reason #2. someone coming out of the academy already has all the bells and whistles above and beyond for an entry level job on a workboat.

it will come back around. people will retire and such, but you have to put a lot in to get your foot in the door and have some patience


More encouraging words. I thank you for taking the time to share that detailed post. The opinions of a man with 20+ years of experience in the industry mean far more to me than the msm opinion pieces I find on Google when trying to research the future of the industry.

…but you have to put a lot in to get your foot in the door and have some patience

Amen. Took me two years of trying. But during that time it was a little discouraging watching those with connections slip through. And I did, and rightly so, lose out twice to Academy Grads looking for entry-level “foot in the door” positions.

But one can get through…eventually.

Water Transportation Workers

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If you’re serious it’s best to have all your classes taken and certifications issued before the industry turns around so as soon as they start hiring again you are there ready to be hired. If you’re persistent and show up in person at enough port offices you may get a lucky break by being there when they need someone.

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knowing people is huge. There are only two jobs in my career that I got blind, meaning without knowing someone there already. making contacts, building a rapport with co-workers and keeping in touch helps A LOT. this happens naturally too. most of us spend more time at sea than with our families and friends back home so we all have our personal ‘networks.’

I have only been laid off once in the last 20 odd years luckily, and have always been able to find work. sure sometimes I have had to take jobs that didn’t pay too hot but, my point is for me at least its been pretty stable.

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Well after I knock out my TWIC, MMC, and STCW training, I’m prepared to pack my bags and knock on a lot of doors! It seems that if I can land that first job, I’m in. I was certainly upset when I made that original post but your opinions along with the others have gone a long way in building my confidence. And I reckon I can always fall back on trees if I have to.

Can’t thank you enough for the feedback sir. Much appreciated!