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Posted: 1/19/2015 8:51:49 AM EST
Looking into the Merchant Marines as a career option, anyone have any first hand experience or advice.

Pluckmaster
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 8:54:19 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/19/2015 9:32:01 AM EST by ost]
I have a friend who transitioned from USCG to MM. Get you TWIC stuff done as early as possible as it takes a while and will hold you up from starting.

Edit: TWIC not TIP. Apologies.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 8:57:13 AM EST
When you leave home to go to work, you may not be home again for six months. Doesn't promote much of a family life. My dad was in and retired from the merchant marines in 1980.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:01:56 AM EST
The threat of being sunk by a U-boat has diminished somewhat.



Other than that, an admiral profession.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:08:08 AM EST
No firsthand experience but I ran across this video a while back and found it interesting.

Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:15:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/19/2015 9:17:15 AM EST by KennyW1983]
What are you looking to do? Deep sea, tugboats, or oil rig supply boats in the Gulf?

For deep sea you would have to join one of the maritime unions, SIU, SUP, MEBA, MMP or you could go with Military Sealift Command which is the Navy's own supply ship service. Rotations on the deep sea ships are anywhere from 4-9 months or more for MSC at times.

Tugboats are a little different and might be a little easier to get into. Most companies will hire a green guy, but you will be the lowest man on the totem pole and your job will basically be boat bitch. Cleaning the toilets, cooking dinner, chipping rust and painting, outside deck work. Rotations are either equal time meaning for everyday you work you get 1 off or some companies still do the 1 off for every 2 worked deal.

Oil rig supply boats do the same sort of rotations as the tugs do and the deckhand has about the same duties. However, to get a job on one of those (once gas prices go up) is to go down to south LA and go door to door looking for a job. They get so many applicants that apply in person they dont even bother to look at mailing resumes.

Do you have a TWIC card? You will need one before anyone will even talk to you. The small inland tugs dont require a rating but for anything else you would need to get your Merchant Mariner Credential from the USCG. To apply for OS (Ordinary Seaman) you dont need any experience but you will need the credential.


I have been doing it for 15 years almost and I normally dont encourage anyone to do it because you are always gone from home, miss all of the important things, and when you are home you tend to go stir-crazy. Im single so I dont have kids to deal with, that might be another thing to take into account. But the money is very good once you get a few years in and some experience. You also get 6 months off a year but get a full years wages.

Pluck what part of VA are you in? Once you get your TWIC and MMC there are dozens of companies sin the Norfolk area you can apply to including MSC, their east coast HQ is at NOB.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:26:10 AM EST
I've got a buddy who is an engineer on the Great Lakes (ore boats etc).

He fucking DREADS getting back on that boat.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:26:17 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By KennyW1983:
What are you looking to do? Deep sea, tugboats, or oil rig supply boats in the Gulf?

For deep sea you would have to join one of the maritime unions, SIU, SUP, MEBA, MMP or you could go with Military Sealift Command which is the Navy's own supply ship service. Rotations on the deep sea ships are anywhere from 4-9 months or more for MSC at times.

Tugboats are a little different and might be a little easier to get into. Most companies will hire a green guy, but you will be the lowest man on the totem pole and your job will basically be boat bitch. Cleaning the toilets, cooking dinner, chipping rust and painting, outside deck work. Rotations are either equal time meaning for everyday you work you get 1 off or some companies still do the 1 off for every 2 worked deal.

Oil rig supply boats do the same sort of rotations as the tugs do and the deckhand has about the same duties. However, to get a job on one of those (once gas prices go up) is to go down to south LA and go door to door looking for a job. They get so many applicants that apply in person they dont even bother to look at mailing resumes.

Do you have a TWIC card? You will need one before anyone will even talk to you. The small inland tugs dont require a rating but for anything else you would need to get your Merchant Mariner Credential from the USCG. To apply for OS (Ordinary Seaman) you dont need any experience but you will need the credential.


I have been doing it for 15 years almost and I normally dont encourage anyone to do it because you are always gone from home, miss all of the important things, and when you are home you tend to go stir-crazy. Im single so I dont have kids to deal with, that might be another thing to take into account. But the money is very good once you get a few years in and some experience. You also get 6 months off a year but get a full years wages.

Pluck what part of VA are you in? Once you get your TWIC and MMC there are dozens of companies sin the Norfolk area you can apply to including MSC, their east coast HQ is at NOB.
View Quote


Maersk Line Ltd is based out of Norfolk, VA. You sure will sail a lot if you go MSC

<- Engineer on an OSV here, the post above is pretty good advice. It all boils down to what you want to do. As for scheduling: The blue water stuff normally is 3mo on/ 3mo off (or 4 months). I've had some friends on ATBs who were on a 6week on/6 week off schedule. Down here in the gulf places are (in weeks) 2/2, 3/3, 4/2

But you'd need a TWIC & a MMC for anything beyond inland stuff.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:29:23 AM EST
After being rejected by the Navy for a medical condition, my Grandfather went to the merchant marines for WW2.

That's all I know about them.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:32:00 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Superluckycat:
I've got a buddy who is an engineer on the Great Lakes (ore boats etc).

He fucking DREADS getting back on that boat.
View Quote


Probably because most of his shipmates are from Dearbornistan.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:40:34 AM EST
How old are you? If you are young look into one of the merchant marine academies.
The number of jobs on the Gulf of Mexico is going to consistently grow over the next 5-10 years. Lots of one month on one month off jobs. If you can't go to one of the maritime schools look into working your way up to a deck officer or engineer. It is really not that difficult if you are young.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:44:01 AM EST
I did a couple of cruises on a NOAA research vessel and worked on a commercial fishing boat (scallop dragger)... it was enough for me... but all my buds from Mass Maritime Academy make really big money. Those who retired after 20 get some great benefits as well... not for everyone though... a pretty demanding job mentally and physically - some of the toughest old bastards i have ever met were MM sailors...
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:47:55 AM EST
Attend a state operated merchant marine academy. You can become an officer that way. Even if you don't, if you study engineering, you can become a stationary engineer and they make good bucks (and never go out of style as every building with a boiler needs to have a boiler operator).

Keep in mind that the world economy has slowed down and that jobs in the shipping industry will decline. You might find yourself serving under a foreign flagged ship.
Link Posted: 1/19/2015 9:57:50 PM EST
Do a book search at your library for John McPhee's "Looking For A Ship"
Non-fiction account of the MM and a particular cruise by a writer who should be considered a national treasure.

Stay safe
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