Do you have any experience as a cook? If yes, you should think about finding offshore catering jobs. Jobs on oil rigs are famous for paying double what you would normally earn in another industry. And if you have never worked as a cook in the past? Then why not try for an entry level position like a steward? In the rest of this article, we will cover:
- Working conditions
- How to improve your chance of getting hired
- Where to look for jobs
Offshore Salaries vs Onshore Salaries
Starting from the bottom with zero experience, a steward can make $45,000 while the camp boss at the top makes $65,000. If you are the cook on an offshore oil rig, you can easily earn $59,000 a year.
Compare this against the industry average of $32,650 for a head chef (reported by the US Department of Labor).
- Fast food – a line cook working in Washington is paid $22,000.
- Hotels and restaurants – food preparers get an average of $12,000, assistant cooks get $20,000 while the executive (chief) chef of a 5-star restaurant gets $100,000.
- Catering/retail – the executive chef makes $45,000 while his assistants earn $20,000 to $25,000.
Offshore catering jobs certainly pay well, don’t they? Even a steward with no experience makes more money than many chefs.
Working Conditions Offshore
You’ll work the same hours as the rest of the oil rig crew – 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Normally, once you set foot on the oil rig, you won’t leave for another two weeks. After that, you get two weeks break, and then the cycle repeats itself. However, be careful to confirm this with your employer – there are cases of 4 weeks on/4 weeks off and even 6 weeks on/6 weeks off.
As a steward, you will housekeep the living areas of the oil rig and help the cook in the kitchen.
As the cook, you might find yourself feeding anywhere from 200 men to 1,000 men, depending on the size of the rig. Note that you will not have as many assistants as in a restaurant – you’ll be doing a lot more of the food preparation than usual.
Improving Your Chances Of Getting Hired
Besides the usual working experience, some of the following certifications will be useful:
- First Aid
- Offshore Survival Training
- Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET)
Not every employer needs you to have all of these certificates, and those who require them may offer you training when you are hired. On the other hand, having these 3 certifications certainly gives you a leg up when HR looks at your resume.
Even if your company doesn’t force you to take these courses, you may want to pay your own way, especially the Offshore Survival and Helicopter Escape courses. Consider what happened recently (Feb 18, 2009) – the helicopter sending 18 Scottish oil rig workers to their oil platform crashed into the sea. Fortunately, no one was killed. Their survival training certainly saved them.
How To Find Offshore Catering Jobs
First, you have the usual suspects – Monster, Yahoo Jobs, etc. But for offshore catering, you can also check out UK’s Don Pedro Agency, which specializes in maritime jobs. And don’t forget to check the local newspapers if you live in the Gulf states – the offshore rigs there will advertise their openings. The employment agencies can also offer a few leads.
But always remember to look up the offshore drilling companies who operate these oil platforms. Find out how to contact them, then ask if they have any openings for offshore catering jobs. Take the initiative to do what 80% of your competitors never do, and you will greatly increase your chance of employment. With hundreds of oil services contractors operating drilling rigs, you should have no trouble finding a job.
As you can see, offshore catering jobs pay very well. Even a moderately experienced cook earns double or triple the salary of a restaurant chef on land. And if you directly contact the offshore drilling companies who operate the oil rigs, you have a pretty good chance of getting hired.
RigWorker.com has been helping people get offshore catering jobs since 1998.
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