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Thread: Am I too fat and old

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    Smith71 is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Question Am I too fat and old

    Hey there guys! I've been looking, but can't find it. Are there age and weight limitations to be in the SIU? I'm in phase 2 of my application and I don't want to be paying out all the money for TWIC and MMC cards if I'm jsut going to be told that I'm too fat or old. I weight 350lbs and I'm 41. I'm an ex powerlifter so a lot of my weight comes from that. Of course I have no problems lifting 50+ pounds or climbing ladders, but I know how everyone still goes by the BMI charts *rolleyes*
    I.m making a career chance and this is something I've always wanted to do!
    Thanks fellas!
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    brjones's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    Too old? No. I have seen SIU guys come out in thier 60's as a second career lately. As far overweight? I cant speak for SIU, but I believe if your BMI is over a certain percentage you have to do a few more "tricks" during your CG physical. Meaning you have to crawl under a limbo stick and jump over it or something. They want to make sure meet the physical requirements needed at sea.
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  3. #3
    JohnSmithUSMM Guest

    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    Two years ago at my physical the Doc told me if a man has a BMI over 40, the mariner is then required to PROVE he doesn't have Sleep Apnea to the USCG. i.e.; the candidate pays for a sleep-study ($1000?) and passes on the results to the USCG.
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    MariaW is offline Old Salt
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    It's illegal to discriminate against anyone under age 70 based on age in the United States. This point was borne out when SIU was sued some years ago for age discrimination. They lost, and I'm sure they're probably over-compensating these days.
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    Quote Originally Posted by Smith71 View Post
    Hey there guys! I've been looking, but can't find it. Are there age and weight limitations to be in the SIU? I'm in phase 2 of my application and I don't want to be paying out all the money for TWIC and MMC cards if I'm jsut going to be told that I'm too fat or old. I weight 350lbs and I'm 41. I'm an ex powerlifter so a lot of my weight comes from that. Of course I have no problems lifting 50+ pounds or climbing ladders, but I know how everyone still goes by the BMI charts *rolleyes*
    I.m making a career chance and this is something I've always wanted to do!
    Thanks fellas!
    A high BMI is not disqualifying, but if its over 40, your doctor will need to give an opinion that you are able to perform certain physical tasks ( they are described on the Coast Guard merchant mariner physical exam form). In the recent past the NMC also wanted a sleep study to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea, but they have stopped that and now will only ask for it if your doctor diagnoses sleep apnea.
    James D. Cavo
    U.S. Coast Guard
    Mariner Credentialing Program
    Policy Division (CG-5434)
    James.D.Cavo@uscg.mil
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    Smith71 is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    I made a post 2 days ago, in response to jdcavo's post and it's still not posted! Why is this taking so long!?
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    Smith71 is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    Quote Originally Posted by jdcavo View Post
    A high BMI is not disqualifying, but if its over 40, your doctor will need to give an opinion that you are able to perform certain physical tasks ( they are described on the Coast Guard merchant mariner physical exam form). In the recent past the NMC also wanted a sleep study to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea, but they have stopped that and now will only ask for it if your doctor diagnoses sleep apnea.
    Well I'm not sure what happened to my follow up post to you, but anyhow...

    I do have Sleep Apnea. What's going to happen now? Do I get kicked from the program now and just kiss all this money that I just shelled out for dentist and doctor visits, physicals and tests, and TWIC/MMD cards!?
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    btm
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    There are plenty of merchant seaman from OS to Captain that have sleep apnea, just make sure you properly document it on your physical. I would guess the USCG will probably just want to make sure you are successfully treating it through CPAP type machine or surgery.
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    Smith71 is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    Quote Originally Posted by btm View Post
    There are plenty of merchant seaman from OS to Captain that have sleep apnea, just make sure you properly document it on your physical. I would guess the USCG will probably just want to make sure you are successfully treating it through CPAP type machine or surgery.
    I'm doing neither. I can't stand the restrictiveness of the CPAP and I can't afford the surgery. Maybe after a few tours with the MM, where I can build some bank, then I'll be able to afford the surgery.

    I just don't want to be spinning my wheels here, but more importantly, I don't want to spend $1000"s for cards and evaluations that I don't really need. Heck! I just had $1000 in dental bills this week alone because of the B.S. cavity disqualifier! Believe me, money I don't have right now! I feel as if I'm paying to work for them.

    I don't mean to rant, but this is something that I've always thought about doing, and now I'm making the move so the last thing I want to hear is NO... especially after shelling out all that cheese!
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  11. #10
    JohnSmithUSMM Guest

    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    First... Slow down and take a deep breathe. I've been doing this over 20 years. It's the best job I could ever imagine having for me. Never laid off, never fired, no spills, and there's always been work out there for this AB/Tankship-PIC. You will get what you want but you may have to jump through a hoop or two. Never, Never, Never, Give Up.
    You don't have any issues that can't be work with. Guys on the ships and tugs have CPAP machines. If it doesn't work for you, see your dentist. I know two men that had a thing called a "Snore-guard". It was a mouth piece they placed in their mouth when they slept that pushed the lower jaw forward enough to clear the airway enough to get good sleep. They both said it worked but was expensive. As I recall, I think they said $500 to $700.00.
    Another option is Inland. Tugs pushing barges up and down the Mississippi. (i.e.; ACBL, Ingraham, ADP, etc.) You do not need to have any USCG documents at all, it's an unlicensed, un-credentialed position for deckhands, engineers and cooks. The nicest part about inland is that you gain experience toward an domestic AB even when your not credentialed. So after acquiring the sea-time, perhaps you've lost weight or saved the money to get done what you need. On a sidebar, this is a great place for people with no experience to get started. It's tough, back-breaking work compared to other positions in our industry, but YOU CAN GET STARTED THERE. Since about 2008, I've noticed companies and Union's shying away from Ordinary Seamen and going with AB's and if you want to work, get sea time, and work toward your goals, this might be for you.
    This is a fantastic industry and job. I wouldn't want to do anything else. Good Luck!
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  13. #11
    Smith71 is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    The SIU is bleeding my bank account dry with this application process. I just paid $1000 for deep cleaning at the dentist and now another $900 for 3 damn cavities. On top of that, the cost of a physical ($600) and communicable diseases lab ($400) and drug test($80). I still need to pay out for the TWIC and MMC cards. Then when I get to Piney Point Ma, I shell out another $500 for uniforms and $300 for some bank account I "NEED" to have. Oh and lets not forget the cost for the flight to MA, $300-/+. That's a lot of hoops to jump through. Now... if I fail this BMI or Apnea evaluation, what then!?

    Then on top of all that, I have my bills and I take care of my mother's medical bills as well. Since training is a year, by the time I'm done with all this, my bank account will be zero, my credit will be destroyed. It's a lot to contend with.

    EDIT: I did find a brand new CPAP machine on Craigslist. I wonder if I just tell them I have Sleep Apnea and that I have my own machine, if I have to deal with the B.S.!?
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    Default Re: Am I too fat and old

    Quote Originally Posted by Smith71 View Post
    Well I'm not sure what happened to my follow up post to you, but anyhow...

    I do have Sleep Apnea. What's going to happen now? Do I get kicked from the program now and just kiss all this money that I just shelled out for dentist and doctor visits, physicals and tests, and TWIC/MMD cards!?
    Is it OBSTRUCTIVE sleep apnea? If so, be prepared to show some evidence from a doctor of controlling it by regular use of a CPAP. Buying one on craigslist probably won't be sufficient.
    James D. Cavo
    U.S. Coast Guard
    Mariner Credentialing Program
    Policy Division (CG-5434)
    James.D.Cavo@uscg.mil
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