What kind of jobs are out there with short rotations and good work/life balances?

Hey folks!

Newly licensed 3rd mate from an academy, wanted to know what options are out there for people looking a 28/28 rotation or less (21/21,14/14, etc…). Have heard about people doing ferries, rigs, tugs, etc. and would like to hear about people’s experiences with those as well as anything else that fits the rotation criteria.

Looking forward to hearing from people!

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The shorter the rotation the more cowboy shit you do


Oceanographic vessels are great jobs. Give Woodshole in Mass a go. Great company

Now’s the time for you to travel the world and do 120 day hitches. Experience the industry before you’re married with children, then worry about a job with short rotations.


They work 4 months on, 2 months off so that’s not what he’s looking for. Also, the pay is really low.


yee haw brother

Interesting ideas, what makes you say that they’re a great company? Have you worked for them? If so tell me about your experience with them please!

honestly might be a consideration for me, not really sure what I want from life yet so just figured short rotation might be good for dipping a toe into the industry.

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Appreciate all of you who have taken the time so far to write me a response! Everything is helpful at this point!

The problem is that then you’ll get used to it and get married, etc, then you really won’t want to ever be away longer and you’ll never get to experience certain parts of the industry. Do it now for a bit, collect your experiences and stories, then settle down at a 28/28 or 14/14 place.


Well my favorite thing is there is in most cases beautiful women scientist on board but thats me :no_mouth: On a serious note there nice living conditions, communications availability, good feeders, good pay and some interesting travel. Its interesting, That’s what I call a permanent job ! There’s also NOAA same thing but federal among others Like Scripps also.

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for entry level its not great but rated its competitive Sometimes a little less pay is worth the stay

Not really.

The only ones who make decent money are the Captain and the Chief Engineer. The Chief Mate (unlimited) with maximum at sea overtime makes about the same per day as a tug boat second mate. It’s a lifestyle and people do it because they like the work and the company, not for the money.

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Yeah that’s fair, I guess part of it is not being sure I even want to be away from home that long in the first place but I’m still thinking about things. What parts of the industry are you referring to when you say that? Not trying to be rude just curious what I’m missing


Well, research vessels for one. Woods Hole and Scripps have unlimited tonnage vessels, interesting work, you get to frequently go places, but the pay isn’t great and the hitches are long. If there aren’t any 3rd mate spots you might have to start as an AB or even an OS to get in but if you work hard and impress them then they’ll use you for the first 3rd mate opening that comes up.

Join MMP and sit in the hall. Usually the lowest paying union contracts (this the ones a 3M applicant can get) are the most “interesting” vessels to be on and you’ll get good experiences and stories. It’s already best to have stuff break and fail a lot when you’re a junior officer, then when you’re CM or Master on a good vessel when something goes wrong you have experience to fall back on. If you come up on a state of the art vessel and have never had stuff happen then you’ll have no idea how to respond if it does when you’re in charge.

Teco Ocean Shipping → United Ocean Shipping doesn’t exist anymore as of just a few years ago but they were a great first job. US flag vessels moving break bulk cargo (interesting work and long port stays) in bumfuck ports (my favorite kind).

Or, good old standby, MSC. They go all over the world and spend like 60% of their time in port. I had a friend that worked there and he spent a good deal of time docked in Romania partying with hot Romanian girls.


Dredging has short rotation schedules and the pay ain’t bad. I wish I’d of had time to travel the world but I had young ones at home when i started sailing.

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At this point in your career, you need experience and seatime more than you need money, a preferred schedule, or anything else.

If you can get hired at MSC, it will provide a good salary and benefits, experience, and long hitches with unlimited tonnage seatime. You’ll be able to upgrade to 2nd Mate fairly quickly. Getting hired at MSC is probably a six month process. Find some other job while you wait. When you get tired of MSC, move on.

The Gulf of Mexico oil patch companies are now hiring again. Short rotations, limited and unlimited tonnage vessels. Smaller money.

Some tugboat jobs available of varying quality, experience, and money. Mostly short schedules.


Harbor Pilot. You Qualify.

Shortest rotations you’ll find are probably on ATBs. Reinauer in NYC does 2 weeks on/off, and I know Moran’s ATBs do 3 weeks on/off, the rest of Moran’s harbor boats are 2 weeks on/off in NYC. Only downside to ATBs is your gonna be on deck for a while until you can prove your capable of being trusted to steer on your own.

And as a recent fellow academy grad myself believe me when I say you don’t want to start as a mate on one of these right away, it’s a completely different ballgame on these than it is training on whatever little tugs your academy might have had or being on the helm of a training ship out at sea. If you can swallow your pride for a while this is a great way to go, and as someone who works at one of those two companies I’m making more a day as an AB then some of my class mates working as 3rds down on an OSV in the Gulf somewhere ($425 vs $275 a day) was one comparison.

I’ve also heard most OSVs are a 3 week or 28 day on/off schedule and rigs and drill ships about a month on/off. Besides that the only other short rotation you may find could be some ship assist tug somewhere doing a week on and off.