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Old 12-06-2008, 09:56 PM
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,171,195 times
Reputation: 1230


Originally Posted by Laura707 View Post
Would you be interested in working on a tow boat as a deckhand? 6 hours on/6 off, only on the inland waterways (rivers), 28 days on/28 days off? Great benifits. I am the cook on a tow boat on the Lower Mississippi River (cook works different hours than deckhands). The boat I work on travels from below New Orleans to sometimes St. Louis. I love it out there and love my job (especially the $$$ I make!!!!)

Ingram Marine Group

Ingram Marine Group

Note, there is no contract to sign but if you get out there and decided you do not like it and quit, you do have to make your own way home, otherwise they get you where you need to be and pay for everything, including the food you eat traveling to and from the boats. You can advance all the way to the wheel house of that is what you want to do. We have a guy right now that has made 2 or 3 trips with us and he is already looking at being a Captain one day and the company is offering to pay for the schooling he will need to get there.
Hmm I hadn't given that one much thought. What is the hiring process like? Qualifications needed? Being on the river does sound appealing, but what are the downsides? (besides the obvious ones that accompany any travel job).
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:28 AM
Location: In the real world!
2,178 posts, read 8,485,677 times
Reputation: 2790
I think you can apply online now. Hiring process is you go to Paducha Kentucky, they put you through a pretty intense physical and drug test and if you pass you go to deck hands training school about a week at their expense, they provide you with living quarters and feed you while you are there. Orientation goes somewhere in there. They fully explaine what a deckhands duties are on their web sight.

Downside? Hummm... When you are assigned a boat, you are there for 28 days. We do not dock, the boats are constantly moving except for when there is tow work. It is hard work and not everybody can do it and it is in all kinds of weather, summer and winter. You miss a lot of things that go on at home, birthdays, weddings, graduations ect. We work every other Christmas, every other Thanksgiving and if there is tow work to be done on those days, you will have to work. The company is very family oriented and if an real important occasion comes up, you can get off but family learns to plan important events around your schedule. I recently had to be about 10 days late returning to work because of Hurricane Gustav and Ike and they fully understood and had no problem with that. In such situations as that was, they constantly asked what they could do to help.

Now and then, as it is in any workplace, you get a butt hole sent out to your boat that nobody can get along with and in close living quarters like we are in, there is no place to go to get away from them. However, there are a LOT of GOOD people out there. The crew I have (10) of us, are all easy going and we have a lot of fun. They become like family and you really care about one another. LOL! I have a great Captain that I have worked with for 8 years now.

If you don't have a problem cleaning toilets, mopping floors, getting really dirty (as in doing tow work) and sweaty and are a good hard worker you can do it. It does take a certian breed of people to handle tow boating, it is not something everybody can do. It is hard, dirty, dangerous work but the benifits are exceptional! The best one is you only work 6 months and are off 6 months working that 28 day/on/off schedule. After working your regular rotation, you can work extra and you get trip pay for that, meaning more $$$$ per day pay or you can go home and do whatever on your 28 days off. With this company, you get day for day.. meaning a day off for every day worked (28 on/28 off), a lot of companies only give you a 1/2 a day off for every day worked so you work 30 on/15 off.

I have been all over the inland water ways on these boats to places I would have never been. I have been flown to St. Paul to get on a boat to bring off the upper Mississippi on to the Illinois River and I have been almost up to Chicago on a boat. I have been on the Ohio River all the way to Monongahela River -Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Have been almost to the Gulf of Mexico on the Mississippi River... adding that to the trip from St. Paul, I have covered the whole Mississippi almost from beginning to end, just not all in one trip. I have been on the intercoastal waterways from Baton Rouge to Corpus Christy and on the beautiful Cumberland River up to Nashville. There are a LOT of beautiful sights to see out there and I always get a thrill when I look out my galley window. To me, it is like being on a paid vacation and I just cook while I am there to have something to do!

Right now we have a guy that has only been out there for 2 or 3 trips with us that we all just love. He has his sights on getting in the wheelhouse and we all believe he will one day be a Captain. He is a retired Navy medic and very smart, even the company is interested in him and has offered to pay for his schooling to be in the wheelhouse when the time comes. The point of telling you this is that you can be whatever you want to be out there, you do not have to stay a deckhand forever. We had one guy who is wanting to be a engineer and working his way into the engine room. Life can be what you want it to be out there if you have the motivation in you. Everyone in the wheelhouse, started on the deck.

On the boats, you are provided everything you will need while there.. soap, TP, washing detergent, bedding, food... all you bring is your personal stuff, clothes, tooth paste, deoderant, medications.. stuff like that. They have lounges with TV and DVD players, most have a computer that is online, cell phone boosters. We have just about everything on the boats that you have at home.. just nobody to tuck you in at night.

A video I put together of some of the pictures I took out there.

YouTube - On the MIghty Mississippi
and another one

YouTube - Come on Along
Any more questions?

(Again, this life is not for everybody. Just being away from home is more than a lot of them can take and so is the work. I am not trying to sell you on his job, just make people aware that these jobs are out there and going strong in todays world. I WISHED a thousand times I had known about them sooner and that anybody could apply for one of them)

OH, one more thing, we are all assigned Home Ports along the river and it is on us to get to the Home Port at our own expense, the company pays for everything else once we are at our home port. I would imagine if you live someplace off the river they will bus you to where ever you will need to go, that is what I have seen them do in the past.
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:01 AM
3,088 posts, read 7,786,682 times
Reputation: 2029
You can also look at taking up a summer job on the ferries in either or Alaska or Seattle. For a permanent job there is the Merchant Marines too.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:26 PM
Location: dfw
277 posts, read 401,068 times
Reputation: 303
i would love to work on a cruise ship...esp. in this economy..too bad they do not hire americans
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