On Offshore Oil Rigs
This article first appeared
in issue 19 of Escape From America Magazine -
The Magazine about International
Relocation Including Articles
On Jobs Overseas
successful in seeking offshore employment,
you must be willing to do what average and ordinary people are not willing
to do. First of all, there’s likely to be travel involved with your
job. Ron Edwards, for example, has been at it since 1972 and has worked
alongside Americans, Spaniards, Brazilians, Norwegians, Dutchmen, Mexicans,
Englishmen, Philippines and Australians. He says he’s seen the good, the
bad, and the ugly, but he’s made a lot of friends, as well as a few acquaintances
that were not quite so friendly. His only regret is he didn’t get started
sooner. Do not be misled by any rumors you might hear about the kind of
people who work offshore.
The oil field is composed of people
like yourself, people who are looking for the same things in life you are:
job security, an interesting career, an opportunity to better themselves.
They come from all walks of life:
farmers, lawyers, preachers, musicians, bankers, businessmen, laborers,
college graduates, high school dropouts, medical personnel, retired military
personnel, male and female alike. You will find one of every kind in the
Also, do not be discouraged by any
stories you might have heard about how hard working offshore is, or that
they will work you to death. To be sure, the work is hard, but if you are
in good physical shape and are willing to work, you shouldn't have any
trouble adjusting to the increased work load.
Finally, remember offshore work is
not for everyone. It requires that you be away from home, sometimes for
weeks at a time. More often than not, the drilling vessel you are on will
not even be in sight of land. It involves long and hard hours, working
in all kinds of weather and conditions as well as in some dangerous situations.
Being 100 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of a hurricane
is a frightening experience for sure!
On the plus side it is very rewarding
and exciting. The food is good, the quarters are clean and well kept, and
the benefits and opportunities for advancement are excellent. It is not
uncommon for a person starting at the bottom with no previous oil field
experience to be making $40,000 to $60,000 a year, and that is for working
only six months out of the year!
Entry-level positions start at $700
to $1,000 per week. Dishwashers and BR hands (who wash dishes, sweep and
mop floors, put up inventory and do general house-cleaning in the living
quarters) earn $700 per week.
Roustabouts (general laborers) earn
$900 to $1100 per week. Other entry level positions are deckhands, oilers,
welder helpers, cleaner painters and so on; and there are currently plenty
Here’s some helpful information you
might like to know to help you decide if working offshore is for you.
The first and foremost requirement
for working offshore is that you be in sound physical condition. You will
be required to pass a thorough physical examination, including a spinal
X- ray, before you can be employed. Answer all questions truthfully. You
will also be given a drug screening.
In most cases, you must be at least
18 to work offshore for a drilling contractor. You need only be 16 to sit
for Coast Guard endorsements. The average age for offshore workers is 27.
The better your experience in your
particular field or profession, the closer prospective employers will look
you at. If you do not currently have any skill or experience that relates
to the offshore industry, it does not mean you will not be hired.
There are many entry level positions
available which require no previous offshore experience, these can be quickly
learned. The most important thing is honesty. Do not misrepresent yourself,
your experience, or your skills. For example, do not claim to be a pipe
welder if you've only had experience on plate. Or, do not claim to be a
diesel mechanic if the only experience you have is doing minor tune-ups
in a garage.
The majority of entry level rig jobs
do not require a formal education as the employer is more interested in
your ability to do your job well and learn quickly than in how many years
you went to school. Some jobs, such as a ballast controlman, mud engineer,
etc., require at least a high school education. Other positions, as they
get more complex, will naturally require higher levels of education.
One of the
foremost concerns of offshore employers is dependability. Regardless of
how good a hand is, he isn't much good if he isn't there! One of
the quickest ways to lose your job is not to show up for crew change. When
you hire on with a company, you become part of a team, and it is difficult
to operate when any member of the team is not present.
Your interest and ambition will play
a very important part in your getting and keeping a job, whether it be
offshore or anywhere else.
On Offshore Oil Rigs
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Complete Offshore Employment Handbook -
is also a website If you are interested in working in the offshore oil
and gas or maritime industry, you are at the right place at the right time.
Ron Edwards' The Complete Offshore Employment Handbook was written to provide
you with information and guidance you need to help you find an job in this
adventurous industry. It is an excellent guide and it's free -
||Offshore work is an
immensely interesting field, and interest in learning your job and others,
as well, sparks ambition. Once you get in and get some basic experience
you can move into many different areas involved in all phases of the industry.
Benefits of companies involved in
the oil and gas industry range from virtually nonexistent to excellent.
The better companies will provide major medical insurance, dental insurance,
life insurance, 401 K, programs, and profit sharing.
Advancement offshore will depend
primarily on the company you work for and your particular abilities. All
companies want you to advance. They want you to become better trained so
you can take a more responsible position. Some companies have excellent
training programs to help you move up the ladder with trainee slots for
most positions. Other companies have only marginally efficient training
programs, or none whatsoever.
More and more offshore positions
now require certification by a Coast Guard approved certification agency.
In order to get these certifications, you will have to go to a specialty
The length of time it takes to complete
one of these schools ranges anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
If you attend any of these schools in your off-time, you will usually be
paid your normal wages (eight hours a day if you are an hourly employee).
Salaried people normally don't receive compensation for special schools
as their attendance is part of their job requirement. Room and board are
provided for both salaried and hourly workers, and compensation is often
given for mileage traveled.
Outside schools include Able Seaman,
Life Boatman, Master, Offshore Drilling Units, Marine Firefighting, EMD
Maintenance and Operation (representing the Electric Motor Division of
General Motors), BOP schools, and the list goes on and on. The more schools
you complete, the more credentials you have when you shop for another job.
What this means is the company you're working for is financing your future.
There are many good positions available
in offshore drilling. The list very long, and many positions are
available at entry level as well as for professionals seeking a new career
orientation. Because the list is long, we suggest you go directly to Ron
Edwards’ book located at his website and check out each position personally.
- The Complete Offshore Employment
Handbook - Click Here -
So, how does one apply for employment?
There are four ways to secure offshore employment. The personal physical
search is the least effective, and any success is usually attributed to
near luck. Nonetheless, taking this route can be an adventure in
itself as you pack up your bags for a couple of weeks touring the coast
and checking leads from such places as Houston, Texas, or Lafayette or
Morgan City, Louisiana.
A more affective way to search is
through newspaper want ads. Key words will usually include the word offshore
and usually 7&7, 14&14, etc. The ad will give a phone number
and/or an address. These newspaper ads will be seeking entry level personnel
as well as experienced hands. Sometimes you can call or write, and
sometimes you have to appear in person just to apply. If you apply by phone,
ask them what openings they have and request the one you feel most qualified
to fill. If they want to send you an application, fill it out and mail
it back with your resume as soon as you get it. There are always ads in
the New Orleans' The Times Picayune, The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette,
LA, the Houston Post and the Houston Chronicle.
The most effective way to job search
is through a professional placement agency. Companies that offer offshore,
maritime, or overseas jobs fall into one of two categories. The first is
the kind of agency that places you in a job and charges you a fee for doing
so. The other is the kind that sells you a list of potential employers
and you are responsible for placing yourself.
For more information, go to Ron Edwards’
website and click on Offshore Guides. There’s absolutley no doubt
that an offshore job will bring you the kind of adventure and income you’ve
been looking for. Have fun.
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