QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HIRING PROCESS
I want to know if someone has seen my application. I called, but no one answered. What should I do?
Due to the large number of phone calls we receive and our small staff, we don't answer phone inquiries about jobs. We do send a postcard or email to everyone that applies, to let them know we’ve received their application. Rest assured that we carefully review every application. If we want to contact you for employment we will call or email you.
What will slow down the hiring process?
If you don’t list any job references or phone numbers for references, we won’t process your application. If you do not return a Criminal History Procurement Authorization, we won’t be able to process your application either.
What is the Criminal History Procurement Authorization for?
We conduct criminal history checks on prospective employees. While a single transgression in the past will not necessarily bar you from employment, we do not hire people with a history of violent crime.
I have applied ten times to Coastal Transportation, and I never heard back. Why is that?
While you might have a wealth of experience in your particular trade, our operation is specialized. We are looking for people with particular skills and mental proficiencies. If you haven’t been contacted, it may be that you didn’t fill our criteria or that someone with more experience than you was available at the time.
How does this job compare to working on a tugboat in Alaska?
The great thing about Coastal Transportation is that we schedule for periods of about 24 days, alternating with periods of time off. Most tugboat companies don't have firm schedules, making it difficult to know when you're going to be working. Also, some tug jobs in Alaska are four months long with only a short break in the middle. With Coastal Transportation, many crew members work only one or two 24-day voyages before taking 28-days off, and even between those two voyages have a few days of leave in Seattle.
How much time will I have off between voyages?
A.B.s and deckhands usually sail two or three 24-day trips in a row, with 4-5 days off in between, followed by 28 days off. Officers usually do two trips in a row, followed by 28 days off or sail on a 24-days-on, 28-days-off schedule.
Why is your application process so involved? I can get a job in the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow.
Our crew has high standards. We want a particular blend of intelligence and muscle. If you are looking to make the maximum amount of money for the least amount of work, please go elsewhere.
The application process is purposely set up to test if you really want the job and if you are smart enough for it. Shortcutting the process by not filling out the forms or by calling us shows us you can’t follow instructions and likely would not be a good for for our crew.
I received a phone call or email asking me to contact you. What can I expect?
An interview is likely the next step. If you live within driving distance of Seattle, we will invite you to come do an in-person interview. If you live farther away we can do the interview by phone. In the initial interview, we go over the job in detail. If it's in person, we will give you a tour of a boat and our Seattle facility. After going over the particulars of the job and answering your questions, we will ask you to call back in a couple of days if you still want the job. Only then will the ball start rolling on hiring you. If you don't want the job, there is no need to call back.
What tests do I need to pass?
You will need to pass a drug test, reference check, and criminal history check. We are not looking for saints. We are trying to ensure a sober, professional workplace. Only after passing these checks will we formally offer you the job.
Do you pay for transportation?
Yes. How much and when depends on your work schedule.
If I am a Mate, what kind of license do I need?
Most of our mates have a 1600 ton NC uninspected/3000 ton uninspected Fishing Vessel endorsement.
If you have a 500 ton uninspected mate's license, you can work on the Coastal Trader.
Do I need an STCW endorsed license to sail on your ships? Can I have just a "national" license?
STCW-endorsed licenses/certificates are not required on our runs. A National license or certificate is just fine.
Can I smoke marijuana on my time off from the ship?
No. Mariners, like airline pilots, truck drivers, and train engineers, fall under Federal regulations requiring drug testing for a variety of illegal drugs.
Can I park my vehicle at CTI when I am sailing aboard ship?
QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAINING
What kind of initial training can I expect?
If you are an experienced A.B. seaman, you may get one day of safety training and three days of working as a dock worker in Seattle before sailing, to familiarize you with the cargo operation. If you’ve never been to sea before, the training may be more intensive. A “greenhorn” can expect a couple weeks of training before they sail.
We run training camps in January and May for new hires, utilizing our crew members as trainers. There are hands-on sessions lasting two to three weeks, covering cargo operations, basic seamanship, and safety. Trainees stay on a ship at our Seattle facility, with food provided. At other times of the year, training might consist of one or two weeks working alongside our dock workers performing cargo operations.
QUESTIONS ABOUT WORK SCHEDULING
If I am hired, what will my work look like as a new deckhand or wiper?
New crew can expect to move from ship to ship for the first year of employment, working as deckhand or wiper as needed. New people act as relief crew until they have enough merit to move up the ranks. By switching between work as deckhand or wiper, you will gain valuable knowledge about the entire operation.
How many months a year will I have to work?
That’s something worked out between you and the Port Captain. Most A.B.s, deckhands, wipers, and cooks sail six to nine trips a year (144-216 days), with time off between trips that may last 28 days or up to three months. It largely depends on the person and their needs.
Will I have to work Christmas or in August?
If you are one of our newer crew members, count on working Christmas and August. We’ve all had to do it, and it’s part of working your way up.
QUESTIONS ABOUT LIVING CONDITIONS ABOARD THE BOAT
What’s the Wi-Fi situation on board?
We have Wi-Fi aboard all our vessels, even while at sea. We have stronger connections at our terminals in Seattle and Dutch Harbor. Streaming services will be slow, but other internet services are readily available.
What kind of a room will I get? Do I get my own bathroom?
Each person gets their own cabin. These small rooms have a bunk and a locker, and most cabins have desks. Many (but not all) have TVs that you can plug your device into, but there is no TV reception at sea. The “head” (restroom) is shared.
How is the food?
The food is generally very good. Seamen can be surprisingly picky about what they eat and very health conscious. That said, don’t count on a vegan option. Honestly, your biggest danger with the food on board is putting on weight because people like it so much!
QUESTIONS ABOUT WORKING CONDITIONS
Is the work hard?
Yes, the work is very hard. If you don’t like hard work, please apply somewhere else. Our mariners are at the top of their game. They get the job done using brains, skill, muscle, and a fierce work ethic. No whining, no excuses. If that doesn’t sound like you, you would not be a good fit for this job.
What is “handstacking”?
Handstacking is stacking cases of frozen fish in the hold by hand, a practice which we stopped in 2012. Since then, loading operations have been 100% palletized with forklifts. Our crew members do stack cases of fish on occasion to change pallet-load heights, but the work is nothing like “handstacking.”
How do I keep my job?
You will be observed for four voyages before we decide whether you have what it takes to stay with the fleet. Reasons for dismissal could include things like drug use, alcohol, laziness, bad attitude, and simply not being fast enough for the job.
How does the company treat its crew?
We look upon our mariners as the best of the best. Once you prove yourself to the fleet, we try to keep you happy, as best we can. We value a good work ethic and the tremendous skills our experienced people bring to the job, and we do our best to acknowledge that in both word and action.
What type of person excels at this job?
Our most successful mariners are high-energy professionals with a need for constant physical movement, who work well as a crew.
How do I increase my pay?
We pay our mariners based on merit. We obviously reserve the highest pay for our most experienced longtime employees. We will not disrespect our skilled employees by paying unexperienced people the same amount as what our experienced people earn. To expect top pay, you need to become highly skilled in driving a forklift in a ship’s hold, operating yard-and-stay cargo gear, lashing down deck cargo, building “chain walls” quickly, etc.