Keep 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? Your first goal, after getting hired, is
to get six months of actual offshore experience. Six months of offshore oil rig job experience on a rust bucket counts
just as much as six months on a brand new jackup, semi or drillship.
Remember, the FIRST QUESTION an offshore
oil job recruiter will ask you will be "How much prior offshore experience do you have"? Six months worth goes a long
These adventuresome and rewarding jobs
are not restricted to men only. Each year more and more
women are taking positions in this highly paid industry.
The pages of this site were written to give the
green hand a realistic look as what it's liking working in the oilfield 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
AND from the input of thousands who have walked this path before you and shared their experiences.
I began my offshore oil job career as a rig welder working 28/28 off the coast
of Brazil. Later I was promoted to a crane operator then a maintenance foreman and finally ending as a crane superintendent
in charge of other crane operators.
At 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 (mainly
because you have no prior offshore job experinece). Having the following will be helpful:
- A positive attitude
- Good work ethics - slackers don't last
- The ability to get along with others of
different cultures while working in isolated,
hostile, high stress and dangerous environments
- A good sense of humor is most helpful
- A bit of luck is always welcome
Looking back over the years I see I was very fortunate to
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 offshore oil rig jobs. Most of the time the people I crewed with were easy to get along with. On
occasion I had to put up with some real jerks, but hey, that's just part of working in the oilfield.
There 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 a catastrophic rig blowout - a rig hand's worst nightmare.
I 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 it is downright frightening.
Now, 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 help you get
an entry level offshore oil rig job. Here are a few things that made working the oil patch the career of choice
- Having a job I absolutely LOVED
- Earning a sizeable check every month
- Getting some GREAT training
- Having some great opportunities to move up the ladder
- Working in some very exotic and remote locations
- Getting some great benefits: Excellent health, dental & life insurance, retirement
plans, stock ownership, etc
- Meeting and becoming lifetime friends with some AWESOME PEOPLE
- Being part of something important
And Best of All: HAVING TO WORK ONLY SIX MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR!
There is one thing I can tell you that is 100% true
and can be verified by anyone who has ever worked at an offshore oil rig job. Working offshore is like NOTHING you
will experience in any other type of job.
Minimum - 18 in the US and Canada.
Maximum - 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 personal experiences.
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 oilfield job opportunity I needed:
- Worked 7 and 7 out of Port Fourchon, in South Louisiana
- Classified as a crane operator / maintenance man - welder / roustabout supervisor
- Most of the men were between the ages of 25 and 45
- Next came 25 and younger
- Last were the old timers like me, 45 to 63
I 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 some of those in so called "management" positions. Some things never change.
I 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.
If you choose entry level offshore oil rig jobs as your career it's quite
possible 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 around. Work is work. Pull your share of the load and everything will be OK.
Whether you are too old depends on you. Any offshore entry level oil rig
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.
There 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:
Not too hot, not too cold with a nice breeze and good cloud cover - perfect conditions
Hotter than hell's kitchen and not a breeze for days
Nonstop rain, freezing temperatures and 50 MPH plus winds
And that's just the weather!
If 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 without one.
Also, consider applying for your US Coast Guard Merchant Mariners Document
(MMD). 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 and could
very well put you ahead of the thousands of others trying to break into this industry (like you) for the first time.
Also, these schools are in day to day contact with employers. Many times offshore oil rig job recruiters come to these
schools looking for new recruits.
Back in the day, these schools and certifications were not required for the initial
hire on. Companies would hire you AND THEN SEND YOU for the additional training. Unfortunately, that was "back in the
day". Now, because of all the people trying to get on, things are a bit different. More and more people are paying
for these schools / certifications out of their own pocket to get ahead of the competition. And it works. Companies
are more inclined to hire someone who has shown this type if initiative.
HOWEVER, and I hope I am very clear about this: Getting the necessary
certifications before you get hired DOES NOT GUARANTEE you will get hired!
If you decided to spend your own money and get loaded up on required schools and
certifications, it is POSSIBLE that, once you get hired, the company will reimburse you for your expenses. It never
hurts to ask.
There are colleges in Louisiana and Mississippi that
will allow you to pursue certain degrees while working a 7/7 oilfield schedule. More information
on this can be found in chapter 19 of The Book (Shcools &
Training Programs). Here is a brief outline of courses / certifications offered to onshore and offshore oil rig job
Catch 22 -
And this will be THE KICKER for a lot of you
If 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 just "given the chance", the answer you keep hearing
over and over is "Sorry, but since you have no PREVIOUS offshore oil rig or maritime job experience we will not
be able to consider you at this time." How do you plan to overcome this?
What do you do? How do you break in? These are questions many
before you have asked, and are asking right now. When I first went offshore as a rig welder, I was fortunate enough
to find a company that was in a tight for my particular skills and hired me over the phone, site unseen.
I got the connection through a friend, called the number he gave me, talked to
someone in personnel about the job requirements and my experience and abilities and if I thought I could handle the
job, I guess I said all the right things because I was hired sight unseen right over the phone.
I got my shots and an "accelerated passport" and within 3 weeks of making that
initial call was on my way to a platform rig offshore Brazil working 28/28. I worked there for almost 18 months and
then got laid off. This was back in the mid 70's and the pay was a little more than 7K for each month worked.
I made enough money on that gig to lay me over for a while. Then one day the friend
that got me the Brazil connection called and said this other company (Zapata Offshore) was looking for personnel to
crew 2 new rigs that were just coming out of the shipyard and were going to be working 14/14 in the Gulf of Mexico.
I gave them a ring and told them of my previous experience. They said they were
full up with welders but had an urgent need for crane operators and asked me if I thought I could operate an offshore
crane if someone trained me? "But of course" I answered.
This started me on my first 6 year stint working in the Gulf of Mexico on a semi
AND off the coast of California on a drillship as an offshore crane operator. When the need arose, I used my welding
skills to help out with rig projects / repairs.
While I was home (referred to as "at the house") and doing normal socializing
activities with friends, family, etc., the conversation would eventually get around to what each of us did. When I
told people about the cool job I had, where I worked, how I got there, what I did, how much I got paid and how much
TIME OFF I GOT, folks got very interested in how they could get an offshore oil rig job.
Eventually I got tired of explaining the same thing over and over, so I wrote
all this information down and published a small book about employment opportunities in the offshore drilling industry,
The Book, is available FREE from this site once you have submitted a
It was written from my own personal experience and is informative, easy to read
and offers a wealth of information about how to get an offshore oil rig or maritime job, whether you are a brand new
start or have years of industry experience. The Book will also answer
many of your questions about what it's like to work offshore.
Get Your FREE Copy Today!
For additional free information from Offshore Guides
on entry level positions, who's hiring, who to contact, etc., make sure you are a
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FREE. A completed registration will allow offshore oil rig and maritime job employers
and recruiters to find you in our data base when they are searching for crew and personnel.
Thanks again and have a blessed day!
Offshore Guides, LLC