Merchant Mariner jobs

Berg

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Apr 26, 2012
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S Hempstead, NY
Seems like quite a few guys on here work as merchant mariners. Am considering a tug boat engineer job in ny harbor to allow for more time at the canyons and georges in the fall. Anyone have anything to say about working for the big companies in ny? Hard to get a read on what people like/dislike from threads on gCaptain. Thanks.
 

Bpd92

Commander
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Oct 18, 2011
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Location
New Bedford, Ma. USA
First Name
Brian
Boat Make
35 Duffy

Towboat

Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 17, 2012
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Location
Penobscot, ME
Berg,

I have run several different tugs both coastwise and in the harbor for the past 10 years starting with McAllister right out of Maine Maritime and now running a tractor tug for Moran. I live in Orland, ME and commute to NY on a 2 week rotation. While I'm a wheelhouse guy, I got my start on deck and also have extensive engine room experience. Anything you want to know, I'm more than happy to give you my opinions, experiences, etc

Do you have a license or at least a MMD? Any tug experience at all? The most common schedule for harbor boats is 2 weeks equal time while some coastwise boats are 3 or 4.

Some companies are union and some aren't, the union companies tend to pay a little more but that's not always the case.

Many harbor boats don't require a licensed engineer and that position may also stand a deckhand's watch. These positions pay well and are a good way to get sea time for a license.

Many companies can be tough to get into without previous experience, but some just require a pulse and an MMD, yet sometimes it can just be timing. I'm not going to bash any specific companies here, so PM me for more details on that.

The NY harbor tug scene tends to be old fashioned, behind the times, full of nepotism, lots of attitude and on the slow days its like listening to a bunch of old women bitching about each other. That being said, there are lots of good guys down here, the pay is great and depending on the company the equipment is well maintained. There are days where I could just walk off the boat and never see this place again, but for the most part it's a good job.

If you have papers and are ready to go to work, best advice I can give you is to start making phone calls - forget the online applications, emails, etc

Hope this helps a little
 

sailor of fortune

Rear Admiral
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St Augustine, Florida
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Jack
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2 Home made skiffs
This business is like many other industries, a good attitude and work ethic goes a long way. The job is what you make of it. Plenty of opportunity for advancement either in the Gulf or NY. I have also been guilty of "grass is greener over there", mentality. we all become whores to the time off. I did the 2 weeks on/off for years and enjoyed it. Now I do 4 weeks on/off and like it even more.
 

Towboat

Lieutenant
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Jul 17, 2012
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Location
Penobscot, ME
This business is like many other industries, a good attitude and work ethic goes a long way. The job is what you make of it. Plenty of opportunity for advancement either in the Gulf or NY. I have also been guilty of "grass is greener over there", mentality. we all become whores to the time off. I did the 2 weeks on/off for years and enjoyed it. Now I do 4 weeks on/off and like it even more.

Certainly can't argue with that...no matter where you work a good attitude and a little hard work go along way.

Another huge factor in your overall experience out here is the crew you are with. In tight quarters for long periods of time all it takes is one to challenge the even the most positive of attitudes. I happen to have a great crew right now and it makes for an enjoyable hitch
 

paddyboy

Lieutenant Commander
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
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Location
Newport R. I.
Boat Make
30'young bros.(sold)38'young bros.
Tug boat work

I spent a couple of seasons at Buchanan, as a stone boat deckhand. 7 days on, 7 off, with a 3 month layoff in the winter. The money was decent, spent a lot of time in garden spots like Flushing, eastchester creek and the goewanus canal. Those boats seldom stopped moving, with a lot of bumping and grinding, and noise. We worked 6 hours on, followed by 6 standby, which usually ment you were up, and 6 hours off. You went home tired at the end of your stint. The captains were mainly crotchety old men, but superb boat handlers. Like most boatjobs the two best days were the day you got hired and the day you drove out of the yard for the last time.
 

viperv

Ensign
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May 30, 2012
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I did 15 years on tugs started at Turecamo / Moran and switched to McAllister. For McAllister I worked out of Charleston South Carolina on a tramp towing tug. No schedule no idea where you were going. I was single and it was great. We went to Caribbean and central America and even through the canal to Guatemala. Seemed like we always headed south in the winter which was a bonus. With a good crew it was like stealing money, put a few a-holes on the boat and it was torture. The longest hitch I did was 78 days, then I need 3 weeks to feel normal again. The work dried up in 2008 and that was it. Did the New York thing working 3 and 3 but it was brutal after towing in the Caribbean. I would rather work 60 days standing 4 and 8 watches than 21 at 6 and 6. Imagine 21 days without sleeping more than 5 hours at a time, now I think the 4 and 8 jobs are pretty rare.
The key to making money is getting your a/b, license etc. as soon as you are eligible. It is all based on days and I would be at the coast guard as soon as I got enough days. Your on the boat any ways, mine as well get paid the most you can. One day I was at the Coast Guard and they were giving out master towing vessel licenses with a 50 question test. Now you got to do a two year apprenticeship. Make friends at the Coast Guard and keep on top of your credentials and you can move up quick. Other than that pray you get on a good crew with a decent company. Nothing worse that living on a air tight tugboat with a crew that chain smokes all day. The diesel fumes, constant noise, asbestos wrapped exhausts and lack of sleep are unhealthy enough. Good luck!
 

Berg

Lieutenant
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Apr 26, 2012
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Location
S Hempstead, NY
I really appreciate all the info. Waiting for MMD in the mail, TWIC already in my truck for when I need to get onto CG bases for work. Am currently working at a diesel shop in New Bedford, mostly working on the scallop/groundfish boats but also do a lot of work for the CG up and down the East Coast. Have contacts at Moran and on some of the Sea Boat(Fall River) built tugs that are now owned by Kirby. Would be looking to get into the engine room more than the wheelhouse.

Interesting to see how far people travel for the jobs. I am originally from LI, now live in Plymouth, but looking to move back to the island. Hoping I can find a 2 week rotation so I can travel where the fish are when not on the tug.

Again, thanks for the info and if anyone could let me know if their companies have assistant engineer positions or not I would appreciate it. Have been low man on the totem pole plenty of times but would be nice to put my skills to work right off the bat.
 

Berg

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Location
S Hempstead, NY
Thanks for all the replies and help. Took some time but I have secured a spot with Vane Brothers and will be starting next week.
 

CEShawn

Vice Admiral
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Sep 21, 2011
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Cape Cod, MA
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Downeastless
Let us know how it goes...

I did time with Bouchard, actually enjoyed some of it but didnt like short rotations. I decided to do 4 months at sea at a time and come back for 4 months... Not sure 12 years later it was right but man I hate travelling...

Sadly, my problem is now I have a life oversea's too...
 

WoundUpMarine

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Boothbay, Me
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John
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26' Duffy, 23' Seaway, 14' Holland

Berg

Lieutenant
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Apr 26, 2012
Posts
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Location
S Hempstead, NY
Thanks WoundUp, I appreciate the offer. You are out of Boothbay right? I recognized Bradley's barn in some of your pictures of the work you've been doing on the Crowley. I fished with him for a month or so a few years ago on the Julia. I take it you are a merchant mariner? Who do you work for?
 

jwalka51

Captain
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Nov 28, 2012
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Location
Newport R.I.
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26' Webber Cove lobster boat.
I worked as a subcontracted deckhand on a harbor tug doing a bridge demolition job when I was about 19. I loved every bit of it. Wish that I could find a way back into it.
 

WoundUpMarine

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