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Employee Review of U.S. Merchant Marine - Check out more reviews of working at U.S. Merchant Marine

3.8Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security4
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From Worldwide — 09/07/2008

I will start off by saying that the USMM isn't for everyone. For starters, I graduated from a maritime academy. My first job "out of school" was onboard an oil tanker on the west coast of the US transporting crude from AK to the lower contiguous 48. Merchant Marine is not for the faint of heart! Many of the officers-and crew-can be very gruff and rough around the edges. They will say what's on their mind that would probably get them fired in a regular office environment.

It's hard not to take things personally. I sailed as a 3/M (that means Third Mate or Third Officer for you land lubbers!) and I was yelled at continuously by many different captains throughout the fleet. I was a complete nervous wreck every time I was up on the bridge. One time I called a captain late at night because I encountered a traffic situation. The captain questioned me about some stuff which made me feel belittled, insulted and lose confidence in myself. If I need your help then get your a#! up on the bridge.

Also, it seems as though that you are more respected as an officer if you attended the US Merchant Marine Academy (King's Point). If you went to a state maritime academy, I felt as though that you're "looked down upon". I guess the "mindset" of the industry, is that, if you attended the USMMA, then you went the "official route/textbook way" as opposed to a state maritime academy grad or a "hawsepiper".

As mentioned before, when I attended a state maritime academy, I enjoyed it. It was fun, had a good time with friends, but then when I started working as an officer onboard tankers, it was definitely a culture shock.

For any young people that are reading this and thinking about a career in the US Merchant Marine, I would take some more time to think about it. It's for everyone. As I said, you deal with very gruff personalities, including when you go to an oil terminal. It seems like many oil terminal workers are just like the people that work on the ships. Gruff personalities! ! ! ! I was constantly intimidated and felt afraid everybody. Especially, when you have to greet a pilot boarding at 2am in the morning. They try to be somewhat friendly, but they're not usually.

It is a VERY VERY SERIOUS profession. Drug and alcohol tests all the time, which is fine by me. Never had a problem with it. The mentality is similar to airline pilots. One mistake and it cost you! Whether it be other lives or the environment. People that operate ships can do jail time negligence. It is SERIOUS stuff. That is why the USMMA and other maritime academies have a regimented lifestyle (the government requires this as per Code of Federal Regs) that prepares you for this very demanding profession.

Personally, I should have transferred to another college, but I didn't want to disappoint my parents either. Just wanted to get through college and get out.
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