From Worldwide — 02/13/2007
The Merchant Marine is a great career choice... so much so that it started with me as a job while I was off in the summer from college, and I decided to keep doing it after I graduated. PAY: For most companies, entry level is very good... on tugs it can be $190 to $300 per day for a one or two week hitch, or $4000 a month for overseas trips on larger ships... the pay increases a lot with rapid promotions (earned through time at sea and testing), and the enormous amounts of overtime possible. Respect I put at 3, since it varies from ship to ship and company to company.... if you have college under your belt, people usually leave you alone. Benefits is a 3, since they vary from company to company. Security is a 3, since on large ocean vessels you are technically unemployed when the voyage is over, until you go to the Union Hiring Hall and find a new ship to work on for another few months or so... Work/Life balance is awesome.... deep sea is 3 months on, 3 off, or as much as 6 on 6 off. For tugs and barges it's usually around 1 week on, 1 off, or 3 on 3 off (depends on the company, some even do 2 on 1 off, or 4 on 2 off). Career development is a 5 cause if you do enough time at sea, you can test for a promotion RAPIDLY. 365 days at sea total is needed for the first promotion, then 3 years beyond that for officer positions. Location is good, cause they often fly you wherever the ship is, then you do the voyage, get off after your time is up, and fly home on them as well. Co-worker competence varies.... some should know what they are doing but dont, some are just idiots, others are outstanding shipmates. Work environment varies too..... engine room is hot, noisy, and dangerous at times, and the deck department personnel have to deal with all forms of weather, and sometimes stressful tasks.
By far the coolest and most interesting job I ever did in my life.... plus you can quit whenever you want, since you're a civilian!