in mind this good fortune does not happen to everyone. Some
new hires end up on a rust bucket six months from the
scrap yard. So what? If you get 6 months on a rust bucket
you will be considered as having that all important
Even with this current recession, especially for all who live in Canada and the US, if
you are not working in the oilfield - it is not because
there are no jobs.
are not restricted to men only. Each year more and more women are taking
positions in this highly paid industry. Here is a recent ABC news
clip about the large number of women who are giving the men a run for their
pages were written to give the green hand a realistic look
as how to go about getting an offshore, oilfield, oil rig
or maritime job. They come from many years of personal
experience, working in both US and international waters.
Beginning as a worm (green hand) and working my way up to
rig welder, welding inspector, crane operator, maintenance
foreman and ending as a crane superintendent in charge of
other crane operators.
one time I was just as green as you, had NOT A CLUE as to
what this was all about but knew it was something I wanted
to do. I'm living testimony my recommendations work.
The basic requirements are simple but getting the job will require a very
determined effort on your part. Having the following will be
work ethics - slackers don't last long
ability to get along with others of different cultures
while working in isolated and hostile environments
good sense of humor is most helpful
bit of luck is always welcome
back over the years I see I was very fortunate to have
have traveled as much as I did and to work at all the
different places I've worked at in such a variety of
interesting and rewarding jobs. Most of the time the
people I crewed with were easy to get along with. On
occasion I had to work with some real jerks as I imagine
you will too.
were many challenges to meet and overcome. New skills to
learn, difficult people to deal with, not to mention
numerous near tragedies - crane accidents, horrific North sea storms, Gulf of Mexico hurricanes and even
rig blowout - a rig hand's worst nightmare.
was fortunate enough to not only have experienced it but
to have lived through it and can pass my experiences on to others who want to give it a try. I've
seen and done a lot of things in my time. Yes, it is more exciting than your
normal land job, but it is not all fun and games.
Sometimes is is downright frightening.
in my golden years of retirement, I use my experience and
knowledge of the industry to provide you and others like
you with the necessary information to get hired offshore. Here are a few things that made working
the oil patch
the career of choice for me:
Having a decent job I
a nice wage
part of something that is important
Having some decent opportunities to move up the ladder
Best of All - Working only 6 months out of the year!
is one thing I can tell you that is 100% true and can be
verified by anyone who has ever worked out there. Working
offshore is like NOTHING you will experience in any other
type of job.
Minimum - 18 in
the US and Canada.
- I get this a lot. How old is too old? Some of you are
up in your years and are wondering if you might be a bit
over the hill. I can share some light on this from my
The last time I
went out I was 52. Even though I was the next to oldest guy on my
crew, I could still hook it up with the young
bucks. It was a land based job but offered the same pay and
benefits as offshore. I
took it because I wanted to get the feel of the industry one
last time before I retired and this was exactly the
opportunity I needed:
7 and 7 out of Port Fourchon, in South Louisiana
- Classified as a crane
operator / mechanic-welder / roustabout supervisor
Most of the men were
between the ages of 25 and 45
came 25 and younger
Last were the old timers
like me, 45 to 63
got teased a lot about what an old guy I was to still be
working and that I needed to be in a home for the aged, etc. On my first
yearly evaluation I was told "I was old, slow and tired out
easy." How about that for positive input from management?
I was doing a great job, but that just goes to show
the mentality of those in "management". Some
things never change.
was fortunate to get the job, having had major back and
knee surgery from an accident I sustained while working on a jack up
rig offshore Nigeria. As safe as everyone tries to be,
offshore is a very dangerous place to work.
you choose this as your career you will run into some very
backward thinking individuals. Hunker down, do your job to
the best of your ability and don't let anyone push you
is work. Pull your share of the load and everything else
will be OK.
you are too old depends on you. Any offshore entry
level job is going to be physically demanding. You will be
working a minimum of 12 hours a day, rain or shine for at
least 7 days straight. You
know your capabilities and limitations better than anyone.
are times of inactivity, sometimes even days of it. Mostly
there is day after grueling day of 12 hour plus shifts,
doing hard ass manual labor. Depending on your location and
the time of year, it will be:
too hot, not too cold with a nice breeze and good
cloud cover - perfect conditions
than hell's kitchen and not a breeze for days
rain, freezing temperatures and 50 MPH plus winds
that's just the weather!
you think you can do it, give it a try!
Documentation / Schools
If you work
anywhere in the US near offshore oil rigs, boats that
service the rigs or docks / helipads where people and
supplies leave to go offshore you will have to have a
Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC card)
issued by the US government. This is a mandatory credential
and you will not be allowed near any of these facilities
applying for your US Coast Guard Merchant Mariners Document
(MMD) as soon as possible. More and more companies are
requiring you to have one of these before they will talk to
you about offshore employment. It's best to have one or at
least be in the process of getting one.
There are lots
of schools that give classes for offshore workers. While
completing any of these courses is not a guarantee of
employment, it will demonstrate initiative on your part will
put you ahead of the thousands of others trying to break
into this industry at this time. Also, these schools are in
day to day contact with employers. Information on where to
go for these documents and shools is found in chapter 13.
Here is a brief outline of courses offered to oil riggers:
colleges in Louisiana and Mississippi that allow you to
pursue your chosen degree while working a 7/7 oilfield
22 - And this will be THE
for a lot of you
you are like the average person working in the typical land
locked job you are probably chomping at the bits to get out
there. The trouble is,
no matter where you apply and how much you plead your case
about what a great hand you will make if given the chance,
the answer you keep hearing over and over is "Sorry, but since
you have no PREVIOUS offshore / maritime experience we will
not be able to hire you at this time." How do you plan to
What do you do?
How do you break in? These were questions I asked myself
when I started my offshore career many years ago. Once I
found the answers, I kept accurate notes about my
experiences. Eventually I put all this together and created "The Complete
Offshore Employment Handbook."
How about that? I wrote my very
own book. AND what I did even inspired a few others to write
books of their own about particular circumstances in their
life. If you are interested on how I went from oil rigger to author,
read chapter 5.
There are a lot of sites
claiming to have the "in" for offshore oil rig jobs. Me? I've been there. During
my offshore career I've sailed the oceans of the world
(moving rigs) and watched many a sunrise and sunset standing
on an offshore platform with nothing visible except sky and
In my time I weathered out out least
3 dozen hurricanes. If you want to see mad chaos in
offshore when hurricane evacuation starts. Official
hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico is from June 1 to
November 30. Quite a few months in there, quite a lot of
hurricanes and quite a lot of evacuating.
The most I ever evacuated
in one year was 3 times. You don't just shut one of
these rigs down and go home. Once the alert is given, it takes
days to prepare a rig for evacuation. All the pipe has to be
pulled out of the hole and racked back, anything lose on
deck has to be secured and all engines and power generating
equipment has to be shut down.
Having worked as a rig welder
for many years, I did quite a bit of "securing the deck". The most common way to do this
is welding whatever needs securing to the deck. This involves quite a bit of
rod burning. Sometimes others with welding experience pitch in
and help. If you are the welder you have to keep
your eye on these guys because some will weld it way too
much. Whatever gets welded has to eventually be cut loose.
Enthusiastic helpers can make a lot of extra and unnecessary
work for you if you don't keep your eye on them.
THEN, once the rig is secured,
you have to wait on transportation. If you are lucky you
will get a chopper. But more than likely you will not be
lucky as the rest of the Gulf is doing the same thing,
hunkering down and preparing to evacuate. You might get a
bird. If not, that 2 hour chopper ride will be a 12-14 hour
boat ride in some pretty rough seas.
The fun part is
if you evacuate the company will put you up in a a motel or
hotel until the all clear is given. You will be paid for
this time, usually. There are some companies that will try
and cheat you out of your pay, but most will not.
funny things, you never know what they are going to do until
they do it. They will stop and not move for days, make
drastic and unexpected turns and even go backwards. During hurricane season one might blow through,
the all clear is given, and about the time you get back to
normal operations here
comes another one.
uncommon to evacuate the rig, go to a shelter till the storm
blows over, go back to the rig and then have to turn around
and evacuate again. All the while the pay goes one (with
most companies). Working offshore is fun and exiting for
sure, but is also one of the most dangerous occupations in
existence. Keep this in mind if this is your first go.
I hope I have
provided insight and answered some questions about what
working offshore is all about. It is a job like none other,
a much different world than most people are familiar with.
The way to go about getting one of these jobs is to contact
companies engaged in offshore operations, let them know what
your skills and background are and that you are available
for work. Complete details are found in chapters 14, 15, 16
If you are
interested in obtaining your personal copy
of "The Complete
Offshore Employment Handbook" I've got some
great news for you. This one of a
kind publication is given as a FREE BONUS when
you subscribe to our Direct Access subscription services.
additional free information from Offshore Guides on entry
level positions, who's hiring, who to contact, etc., make sure you are
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again and have a blessed day!