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Navigate Your Way to Higher Pay

How to earn more for offshore AB
How to earn more for offshore AB

A Seafarer’s Guide to Upskilling in the Offshore Industry

The offshore industry offers a multitude of exciting career paths for seafarers, with the potential for substantial salaries. But how can you, as an Able Seaman (AB), unlock your earning potential and navigate your way to higher-paying roles? The key lies in upskilling – investing in additional qualifications and certifications that demonstrate your expertise and versatility. This article acts as your roadmap, outlining valuable steps to take and resources to leverage as you progress from AB to positions with greater responsibility and remuneration.

Level Up Your Skills, Level Up Your Earnings:

An AB forms the backbone of any offshore crew. By taking the initiative to upskill, you open doors to a wider range of opportunities. Here’s a breakdown of some lucrative paths you can pursue, along with estimated salary ranges:

Rigger: Riggers are highly skilled personnel who safely set up and operate lifting equipment used for moving heavy objects on offshore rigs and vessels.

Upskilling Steps:

  1. OPITO Basic Lifting Operations: This course provides a foundation in lifting equipment and safe working practices.
  2. Advanced Rigging and Lifting Operations (optional): Mastering advanced rigging techniques like slinging, hitching, and load calculations can enhance your profile and marketability.

Salary Increase:* An AB typically earns between $30,000 and $50,000 annually depending on experience and location. Riggers, with their specialized skills, can command salaries in the range of $50,000 to $70,000 per year.

Crane Operator: Crane operators are responsible for the safe and efficient operation of cranes used for loading, lifting, and transporting equipment offshore. This in-demand skill set translates into a significant increase in earning potential compared to an AB position.

Upskilling Steps:

  1. National Certification: Obtain a relevant crane operator certification recognized in your region.
    • EU: European certifications can be found through national maritime authorities or organizations like the International Institute for Marine Surveying (IIMS) which offers crane operation programs.
    • US: The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) offers certification programs for various crane types.
  2. OPITO Mobile Crane Operations (optional): While not mandatory everywhere, this OPITO course provides industry-recognized training specifically for operating mobile cranes on offshore installations.

Salary Increase:* Crane operators can expect to earn significantly more than ABs. The salary range typically falls between $60,000 and $90,000 annually, with experienced operators commanding even higher salaries.

Rope Access Technician: Rope access technicians perform various tasks at height using specialized rope access techniques. This niche skill is in high demand for inspection, maintenance, and repair work on offshore structures.

Upskilling Steps:

  1. IRATA International Rope Access Training: IRATA is a globally recognized organization offering various levels of rope access technician training.

Salary Increase:* Rope access technicians typically earn between $50,000 and $75,000 per year, depending on their experience and the specific projects they undertake.

Gangway Operator: Gangway operators ensure the safe deployment, operation, and maintenance of gangways – the vital bridges connecting vessels to offshore platforms. This role requires specific training and certification.

Upskilling Steps:

  1. OPITO Basic Emergency Response Training (BERT): This mandatory course equips personnel with essential emergency response skills.
  2. Kongsberg Gangway Familiarization Course: While not mandatory, this course offered by Kongsberg, a leading manufacturer of gangway systems, provides valuable knowledge specific to Kongsberg gangway operation.
  3. Site-Specific Gangway Operator Training: Many companies will provide additional training specific to the gangway system used on their installations.

Salary Increase:* Gangway operators typically earn in the range of $45,000 to $65,000 per year. Those with additional experience or certifications, particularly for specific gangway systems, can command higher salaries.

Invest in Your Future: The Power of OPITO

The Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO) offers a comprehensive range of internationally recognized training courses designed to enhance safety and technical skills in the offshore oil and gas industry. While some OPITO courses are mandatory for specific roles (like Basic Emergency Response Training for Gangway Operators), others like the Advanced Rigging and Lifting Operations course, are highly recommended and can significantly improve your employability and marketability.

Remember: The specific salary increase you can expect will depend on various factors like your experience, location, and the specific skills you acquire. However, by taking the initiative to upskill and gain valuable certifications, you can significantly increase your earning potential within the exciting world of the offshore industry.

Additional Tips:

Network with other offshore professionals: Connect with people working in the industry to learn about career paths and high-paying roles.Stay up-to-date with industry trends: Keeping your knowledge current through industry publications and conferences can make you a more valuable asset.Negotiate your salary: Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary when applying for a higher-paying position. With your newfound qualifications and experience, you’ll be in a stronger position to command a competitive salary.

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