When will OSV companies get with the times?

I can’t speak for all of the companies but I’m sure they are similar to ECO.

Yes ECO does have some “nicer” equipment but as a whole they’re lacking.

1/2 day pay on signing on and off

“Travel pay” that is taxed and covers only a fraction of the cost to get to and from work.

No shore leave.

No internet (its 2024, starlink is relatively inexpensive)

No company provided weather reporting programs…

Many boats without electronic charts or ECDIS (radar and paper charts only)

No cooks unless 3rd party on board.

Under par food budgets (lucky if you even get food when the boat is off charter)

A lot of shotty, broken equipment that is hidden from the customer on a regular basis.

What do we do to see improvement?


Here I was strongly considering applying for Chouest looking for the 28/28


ECO will not change as long as the client is happy and they can man their boats. Unions will never be allowed in the GOM supply boat sector so you just got to live with the situation or leave.


Like everything else, i see reactive changes only if they can’t crew their boats. Thats why wages go up when they do…and to a lot of people, that day rate is the bottom line. They’ll sacrifice some comforts and/or benefits for the top dollar day rate.

I would think more rather than less that work in south louisiana are within driving distance. If it got to the point that they were hurting for people, and were more so relying on people that fly in, that could change the travel allowance.

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It’s interesting to me the way the industry ebbs and flows in regards to where the quality of life/better working conditions are. When I first got to college, it was all about GOM supply boat companies, Chouest/Otto Candies being the two biggest names, and how the quality of life was great. Food, accommodations, schedules. Then when the patch dried up it was on to tankers, namely Crowley, because of quality of life and the money you were making and it was only a 90 day hitch. Now neither of those are the best places to be, and I’m not sure what is the best? The rigs maybe?

My guess is change won’t come to any of those companies until they’re forced to. If they’ve got enough people working to pay the bills and make an income, why add expenses?

I’ve never sailed outside of AMO so I can’t really speak to how those negotiations work, but when a particular class of ship, say TAGOS (which were the lowest paying contracts a couple years ago) have trouble finding people or retaining people, the fix is a major contract change that would include wifi for the crew, LARGE pay bump, shorter hitches etc.

How do you negotiate that type of stuff with the company as a one man show?

Nah. The rigs are generally better quality of life but they’re not hurting for people so there really isn’t the money there. The only upside to rigs over deep sea is short hitches and almost guaranteed on time crew changes and at some companies the training budget (school, flights, rental cars, etc all covered).

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What are yall gonna do come January? Or June 5th for that matter? All the harbor charts in the gulf will be gone by then, I’m sure the coastal GOM charts will be canceled after the West Coast harbor charts go in the mid summer. Are charts not actually a carriage requirement under 1,600 since they don’t fall under Nav Regs?

I worked for them 30 years ago and it was the same story back then.
My biggest gripe was certain mutant captains that were juiced in and ruled like tyrants.

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You must have H___ as your manager… if so, both those issues are believable. He’s the one manager that I utterly refuse to work under.

Long time without a post on my side. As a former shoreside employee for a few OSV companies I can relate to your gripes about quality of life, budgets, etc… The reality of things is most mariners applying for jobs were only worried about their day rate…nothing else. You could pitch health insurance costs, schedules and everything else under the sun but that didn’t mean a hill of beans to most applicants. Not all but most.

It’s hard to sell a good culture/environment, that can make up for a lesser day rate, unless the applicant has a really good connection to someone working in the company already and can vouch for things being as advertised. To be fair this isn’t just an OSV problem either, it happens in plenty of other industries or at least the one’s that I’ve been in.

And customers always have a rib eye appetite with a bologna budget. They want everything to be top notch but don’t like to pay what it takes to make things top notch. Just the way the world seems to work these days.


In the post-Covid economy with demographics of smaller generations, more people working from home in their yoga pants, and fewer people willing to make any lifestyle sacrifices for the sake of employment, the old way of doing things has to change.

Most boat companies are busy and making good money.

It’s time to invest in new high spec boats.

Very nice accommodations with internet, and plenty of good healthy food need to become standard.

Boat companies need to provide all the things that most shoreside employees receive: fully paid travel, wages paid while traveling, paid holidays, paid annual vacation, overtime, training, wages paid while in training, etc. These things need to become standard.

If companies want to treat their employees like “boat trash,” that are accustomed to prison living conditions and food, they will get the type of “boat trash” that they deserve.


These things would make a helluva difference to being able to attract people from outside the swamps

If you’re not already getting paid holidays though, your company needs to catch up.


Let’s face it once they were able to defeat the unions, they could operate as poorly as they wanted to with impunity. The only positive is that ECO is a good place to get sea time until you find a better job.

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The OSV companies may have scrape the bottom of the barrel for “boat trash,” and at times be a bit shorthanded, if they don’t improve working conditions.

I just had a flashback to my 6 years in the GOM. This thread could have been written in 1997 when I started with Seabulk. Did 3 years there and three more with ENSCO. Neither company has OSV’s anymore,

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Heck, this thread could have been written before the internet was invented. The GOM companies have always known they were temporary contract operators. They just neglected to tell their employees that they too were temp workers. Nothing has changed but the names of the companies in over 50 years.


Admiralty Charts are permitted on US flag ships to meet the carriage requirement, even in US waters

Admiralty charts are reproductions of US Raster charts, I’m not sure the UKHO will be maintaining them as they are canceled by NOAA, I doubt the brits are going to be be surveying Southwest Pass.

A post was split to a new topic: British admiralty charts in U.S. waters

So the OP is speaking to ECO but I would be curious to know how the other OSV companies stack up: Quality of life/ travel/ Starlink/ ECDIS etc.?