Maritime Apprentice (Deckhand/Tankerman)
Transitioning from military service is challenging to say the least. Many veterans are looking to start a new career that offers some of the conditions similar to serving in the Armed Forces.
Adaptive Construction Solutions (ACS) is a veteran owned an operated organization focused on enhancing the lives of veterans through meaningful employment. ACS sponsor’s a DOL Registered Apprenticeship programs for occupations in multiple industries. ACS is partnered with the premier tank barge operator in the United States, transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, along all three U.S. Coasts, and in Alaska and Hawaii.
ACS places apprentices into positions as Deckhands and assists in progressing these individuals into a Tankermen positions. Additionally, ACS works with workforce agencies and community organizations to provide supportive services to individuals starting a new career.
The Maritime Industry
The commercial maritime industry isn’t for everyone. Hours are long, rotations keep you away from home, conditions are challenging, but there are significant opportunities to grow into a rewarding career.
A Maritime apprenticeship provides an individual (with little or no maritime experience) a full-time job while offering relevant training and experience needed to progress to higher skilled positions
By participating in an apprenticeship, eligible veterans can utilize GI Bill benefits to receive a monthly housing allowance on top of earning competitive wages and benefits. All training and credentials are sponsored by employers and workforce system.
What is a Deckhand?
A Deckhand is an entry level position on a maritime vessel that does not require work experience.
However, a good work ethic and willingness to learn is a must. Deckhands attach and remove lines and cables to and from the vessel, barges, docks and locks. They maintain vessel by performing scheduled maintenance and housekeeping such as sweeping, washing the vessel, chipping rusted metal, priming and painting. Some time is spent making minor repairs using tools such as hammers, fire axes and ratchets, hand winches, stripping pumps, needle guns and grinders. Crew members perform other duties as assigned by the vessel officer (examples: cooking, cleaning and washing clothes).
Starting Salary: $31,876 plus benefits (medical/dental/vision/401k, etc.)
Deckhands are typically promoted to Tankerman Trainee within 6 to 9 months. While this is initiallya relatively small increase in compensation it provides an apprentice the opportunity to receive continued pay increases and puts them on a path to become a Senior Tankerman in 18 to 30 months.
What is a Tankerman?
The Primary function of the Tankerman is to prepare the barges that are assigned to his boat for safe and complete loading and discharging of oil, refined and petrochemical cargoes. The Tankerman is responsible for making certain that any and all federal and state required documents that must accompany the barges is on board and in proper order. The Tankerman must communicate with dock personnel and ensure that each person participating in the transfer of product understands what the product is and how it should be transferred and protected. The Tankerman must also participate in the maintenance of the boat and barges while assisting with the training of newly hired employees aspiring to become Tankerman. The Tankerman must handle lines and rigging during tow building, locking and docking activities. The Tankerman normally works a rotating six-hour on and six-hour off watch schedule but is occasionally required to work additional hours not to exceed fifteen consecutive hours without rest.
As tankerman trainees meets the requirementsfor promotion, theycan become a Tankerman in 6 to 9 months
Tankerman Salary: $34,797 - $41,123 plus benefits (medical/dental/vision/401k, etc.)
As a Tankerman meets the requirements for promotion, they can become a SeniorTankerman in 12 to 24 months
Senior Tankerman Salary: $66,430 - $81,030 plus benefits (medical/dental/vision/401k, etc.)
The industry provides significant opportunities for growth after becoming a senior Tankerman. Individuals who meet expectations can go on to become a Steersman, Pilot, or a Captain.
Life on a Maritime Vessel
It is important to understand typical work rotation is a 2 to 1 schedule up to 30 days on and 15 days off. A work day consists of 12-hour shift (often broken into 2 x 6-hour shifts) of performing work and watch duties in all weather conditions. Crew must be able live and work in close quarters and able to spend a length of time away from family. Apprentices must be willing and able to attend required training on and off scheduled work time.
Roles and Responsibilities
Qualifications, Competencies and Certification Requirements