Thursday, January 23, 2014

Visiting Hours

Port Fourchon is the center of the workboat universe. If you work on a boat in the oil patch, chances are you'll come through here at some point.

And since even the mental health ward has visiting hours, I have had the opportunity to catch-up with old friends and new friends at length the past couple of weeks.

It helps that our customer is operating a weather-constrained semi-submersible drilling rig, and the weather has been pretty lousy. We've mostly been propping  up the dock ... and visiting.

The ghosts of boats past are frequent visitors, including the best engineers and deckhands I've had the pleasure of working with. I've been able to catch-up with captain friends from Texas; working different hitches on different boats for this company, usually we see each other only in passing -- literally.

A fellow I met through this blog (when he was working on an OSV in Alaska) and with whom I've corresponded at length drove down to say hello after getting hired-on at Edison Chouest Offshore.

I even got to talk over the rail with the New England Waterman.

About halfway through this hitch, I decided it would be my last one with this company. Hopefully my last one on crewboats.

Bigger boats, and bigger boat companies, more often offer even time schedules and the pay scale that still makes a 180-day year financially rewarding.

New STCW rules (actually not all that new, but finally trickling down to U.S. mariners) will be implemented March 24 this year. Reportedly, that will make the leap to a 500-ton license a much lengthier, more expensive process.

So ... the next couple of months will be devoted to knocking-out endorsements and studying for the exam. I'll also take some time to reflect on what I've learned over the past couple of years. Stay tuned!


  1. I quickly browsed the USCG NVIC dated Jan 23 regarding grandfathering. It looks like you will have until Dec 31, 2016 under the rules. Look in the tables starting around pg 12 or 13.


    1. Yep. I just saw the NVIC. Still not crystal clea to me, but it looks like I'll have options. The CFR does not define "sea service or training starting before March 24, 2014," though the NVIC does.