Willing To Work & Learn: Questions from a 2nd Career Cadet

Greetings all,

As the title says, I’m a former Navy “Nuke” and Maintenance Manager who has gone back to study Marine Navigation (3rd Mate Ticket). This summer, and for the coming 3 years, I look to secure an internship and am very much interested in the Tug industry.

From a deck officer perspective, I’d appreciate your experienced thoughts on what separates the Tug work-lifestyle from the Tanker, Self-Unloader, etc… maritime industries.

Should there be a more immediate and appropriate place to look, please let me know.

Your thoughts and recommendations are most appreciated.



There is no such thing as an ‘internship’ for people wanting to try out the industry. You must have the required documents, apply for a job and work at it. Then you must test out. I am not quite sure how you are in a 3rds class with Navy Nuke time. I thought one would need SOME time on deck, not down in the ‘Neutron Hall’ down below.

Regarding the difference between tug, ship and OSV, Tugs: There are a LOT more to find jobs on than all the others. Ships, Very few jobs. hard to get one. If you do, hold onto it! OSV, Good industry right now, but cyclical depending upon the oil patch. Given the nature and demand for oil right now, It appears stable. Tugs run small ( 4 to 7 man crews). Ships have large crews ( 15 to 20 man crew). OSV s have 10 to 12. It will take an exceptionally fast learner at least 4 years from entry to wheelhouse. You may be able to shave some off that with accepted Navy time. But, this is a completely different world that what you have been used to. From my observations, you should stay on Osvs or ships with a Navy background. Tugs may be too small for you. IT can.be a cramped boat with no where to escape. Sorta like being in a sub. but smaller and smaller.

If all your time was in the engine room, then you may have time for an engineer lic, or if you were a qualified OOD, you can use that time for a deck officer license. Look in car 46 part 11 ( i believe) for the time required. Good luck