Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
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I have a 100-ton aux sail, and haven't worked supply boats, so take this with a grain of salt, but:
If your goal is crew/supply in the Gulf, then what you need is a license, not an AB ticket (most boats' COI doesn't require an AB anyway, just a warm body-deckhand with a Z-card). Get onto the oilfield boats as a deckhand, make friends with the capt and put in some wheelhouse time under supervision, and finish out your 720 days that way. Then once you get your license, you'll have some workboat/crewboat/supply boat experience, and maybe a reference, to get a spot as mate or second captain, then it won't be long before you're first captain.
If you get the rest of your time on schooners, you'll be a great sailor, but you won't have the experience in the Gulf with double or triple-screw crew or workboats, the companies won't know quite what to make of you when you apply for a job. So leave the sailing vessels (though it hurts me to say this) and go down to the Gulf. If they require a Z-Card, then go get one, they're easy to get. Then get your captain's license, and go from there.
Once you get to 200 tons or more, you'll need all that STCW training, but if you've already caught on with a company, they may pay for your training.
Hope this of help.