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Travel and make serious money: How to become a Merchant Mariner
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Jnx Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Travel and make serious money: How to become a Merchant Mariner
(11-10-2018 08:10 AM)mr-ed209 Wrote:  
(11-09-2018 09:12 PM)Jnx Wrote:  Will be around to answer questions, don't want to say too much at risk of uncovering identity - small world out here.

Jnx, you have any info on foreign qualified officers working on US flagged boats? From what I've found you need a green card, but not sure if the tickets are transferable?

To sail licensed, you need to be a full US citizen. To sail unlicensed, you can have a green card - but only up to 25% of the crew can be green card holders. In my experience, I've only ever seen one person without full citizenship. Parts (a) and (b) https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/46/8103

Are your qualifications transferable? I've known people with a unlimited Master's license on foreign flag ships be dropped down to AB after they get their citizenship. Being from the UK, you may me in a better position. Only people I've known who have done this are Filipino. Exact verbage can be found under part (f) here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/46/10.232

If you already have a license in the UK, you could look into the Gulf of Mexico. Once knew an Irishman who worked as as a dynamic positioning officer (DPO). Although once again, I believe most the rigs and drill ships are foreign flag, so US laws and CFRs don't apply.
(This post was last modified: 11-10-2018 01:16 PM by Jnx.)
11-10-2018 01:14 PM
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ChicagoFire Offline
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RE: Travel and make serious money: How to become a Merchant Mariner
Thanks,

I come from the food industry which generally isn't unionized and I'd give it 10 years tops for that industry to cut back on labor costs drastically given how AI and automation is creeping slowly. Do you think AI and automation will render these jobs irrelevant? Obvious plus is unions will stomp down on that theoretically.

I'm considering going the apprenticeship route since I've been working dead end jobs for all of my adult life.

(11-09-2018 09:12 PM)Jnx Wrote:  My advice is if you're going to do this, go to a maritime academy. If you already have a degree, you can get your masters from SUNY Maritime in 2 years and come out with that plus a license to sail as an officer.

If you go the SIU apprentice program route, it'll take you about a 1.5-2 years all said and done. It's shitty, bottom of the totem pole work until you have the sea time to get your license. For deck or engine department, that's 3 years of sea time - which usually at best is 6 years of real time if you sail 6 months a year. Add classes and other unexpected events, and you're looking at about 8+ years actual time before you become an officer.

The last thing you want to do is pay for classes out of pocket, such as the STCW courses or the AB (Able Seafarer) courses. First, virtually all the companies operating the large, sea going ships are unionized whether that's SIU or SUP. Both these unions are seniority based. Good luck getting a job with SIU if you didn't go through their program. Second, let's say you want to sail deck department. To become an AB-Special (minimum required limitation to sail on the ships as an AB) you need 360 sea days as an Ordinary Seaman (OS) in addition to courses and passing a test. Where are you going to get an OS job that's not already unionized? Brings us back to point 1, you're not.

That is unless you want to work offshore Gulf of Mexico supply boats or non-union harbor tugs. By all means, get your MMC, TWIC, take your STCW/Basic Safety Training, and start applying to companies such as Edison Chouest, Harvey Gulf, or Moran Towing. First two rely on the oil industry, as they mostly supply the rigs and do that sort of work. You're at the mercy of oil prices whether or not you have a job. Be aware, these are limited tonnage boats - so your sea time won't count if you're looking to go deep sea one day.

tldr; go to one of the 6 maritime academies. Get a degree while also getting your license to sail deck or engine officer. Part of the program is going on 'cruises.' Many of the university training ships go to cool, exotic places anyways. It's not 4 years stuck in a classroom. You'll make the money back you spent on school in no time.

Will be around to answer questions, don't want to say too much at risk of uncovering identity - small world out here.

(09-21-2018 09:31 AM)kosko Wrote:  For the folks who stay ignorant and hating and not improving their situation during these Trump years, it will be bleak and cold once the good times stop.
11-11-2018 09:22 PM
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Jnx Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Travel and make serious money: How to become a Merchant Mariner
Go for it, man. It's a solid career that can pay the bills and then some. Or, you can sell everything, do this, and travel worry free the months you're off. No matter which route you take, there's a path for you to get to the top. Might take more time, but you can get to Captain one day starting as an Ordinary Seaman wirebrushing grease off the decks. If you don't mind chipping steel decks in Middle Eastern or Gulf of Mexico heat, standing gangway watch outside during negative temperatures in Alaska without the ability to go inside to warm up, dangling in a bosun's chair 100+ ft in the air greasing crane cables, or being in a deafening 120 degree engine room - go for it. It's how I started. For me, the hardest part was dealing with the officer's seniority complex. When most people get their license, they think their god of the world - there was a funny meme I saw once, it was a food triangle but with different academic qualifications. A maritime license was at the top, and below that was a PhD. It really does exemplify how a lot of people feel when they hold a 3rd Mate or 3rd Assistant Engineer ticket, and they treat the unlicensed as so.

As for automation, we're just as worried about it as every other industry. Rolls-Royce is working on autonomous ships, as are many other people. Surely, it's inevitable at some point in the future. In our lifetime? Doubtful. CEO of Maersk (largest shipping company in the world) said he doesn't see it happening in his lifetime. We're also an industry bogged down with tons of regulations. Our tech is quite a few years behind for this reason alone.

Get your Merchant Mariner's Credential (MMC) and TWIC first and then apply here. I went through the apprentice program, so feel free to contact me if you need anything in relation to it.

edit: see that you said you have a culinary background, wasn't exactly sure what you meant by food industry. I'd highly recommend you call the SIU's academic department to see if they still have the steward department fast track program. For awhile last year, they were cutting the apprentice program time in like half if you were choosing to go the steward department route AND you had provable experience working in a restaurant or something similar. If you choose to go steward department (steward assistant cleans and makes officers beds, cook cooks of course, steward is in charge, bakes, and does deserts) you'll be out of the elements and have a pretty kush job. Downside is the pay caps out once you get to being the department head (Steward). They make about the same amount as 3rd Mate and 3rd Assistant Engineer.

My 2 cents: you do not want to work for NCL in the Steward's department. You're treated like a slave, you don't get paid very well, and you have to share rooms.

(11-11-2018 09:22 PM)ChicagoFire Wrote:  Thanks,

I come from the food industry which generally isn't unionized and I'd give it 10 years tops for that industry to cut back on labor costs drastically given how AI and automation is creeping slowly. Do you think AI and automation will render these jobs irrelevant? Obvious plus is unions will stomp down on that theoretically.

I'm considering going the apprenticeship route since I've been working dead end jobs for all of my adult life.

(11-09-2018 09:12 PM)Jnx Wrote:  My advice is if you're going to do this, go to a maritime academy. If you already have a degree, you can get your masters from SUNY Maritime in 2 years and come out with that plus a license to sail as an officer.

If you go the SIU apprentice program route, it'll take you about a 1.5-2 years all said and done. It's shitty, bottom of the totem pole work until you have the sea time to get your license. For deck or engine department, that's 3 years of sea time - which usually at best is 6 years of real time if you sail 6 months a year. Add classes and other unexpected events, and you're looking at about 8+ years actual time before you become an officer.

The last thing you want to do is pay for classes out of pocket, such as the STCW courses or the AB (Able Seafarer) courses. First, virtually all the companies operating the large, sea going ships are unionized whether that's SIU or SUP. Both these unions are seniority based. Good luck getting a job with SIU if you didn't go through their program. Second, let's say you want to sail deck department. To become an AB-Special (minimum required limitation to sail on the ships as an AB) you need 360 sea days as an Ordinary Seaman (OS) in addition to courses and passing a test. Where are you going to get an OS job that's not already unionized? Brings us back to point 1, you're not.

That is unless you want to work offshore Gulf of Mexico supply boats or non-union harbor tugs. By all means, get your MMC, TWIC, take your STCW/Basic Safety Training, and start applying to companies such as Edison Chouest, Harvey Gulf, or Moran Towing. First two rely on the oil industry, as they mostly supply the rigs and do that sort of work. You're at the mercy of oil prices whether or not you have a job. Be aware, these are limited tonnage boats - so your sea time won't count if you're looking to go deep sea one day.

tldr; go to one of the 6 maritime academies. Get a degree while also getting your license to sail deck or engine officer. Part of the program is going on 'cruises.' Many of the university training ships go to cool, exotic places anyways. It's not 4 years stuck in a classroom. You'll make the money back you spent on school in no time.

Will be around to answer questions, don't want to say too much at risk of uncovering identity - small world out here.
(This post was last modified: 11-12-2018 04:56 AM by Jnx.)
11-12-2018 04:30 AM
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BlackFriar Offline
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RE: Travel and make serious money: How to become a Merchant Mariner
Will they hire some one starting out at 40ish years of age?
11-12-2018 04:17 PM
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Jnx Offline
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RE: Travel and make serious money: How to become a Merchant Mariner
(11-12-2018 04:17 PM)BlackFriar Wrote:  Will they hire some one starting out at 40ish years of age?

Never too old.

A lot of people choose this as a second career. You'll find a lot of older guys at Great Lakes Maritime. Known people out here who who have spent 20 years in the military, had businesses that failed at 20 years, got bored of their first career after awhile and were looking for an adventure, etc

Oldest guy in my class when I went through the SIU program was 64.
(This post was last modified: 11-12-2018 05:07 PM by Jnx.)
11-12-2018 05:06 PM
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