Chief Mate Ocean Towing

Foss Maritime

Seattle, WA

Position: Chief Mate 

Location: Seattle Marine

Department: Ocean Fleet Deck Officer (MT Deck officers)

Schedule: 30-60 day hitch; average 180 days per year

Reports to: Captain / Port Captain

Pay Range: $90k - 120k (est for 180 sea days annually) (EXCLUDES COVERED TRAVEL COSTS)


*If you experience issues when applying, please send your resume & credentials to [email protected]*


What We Offer our Hardworking Mariners:

At Foss, we recognize that our employees are the foundation of our company and of our success.

We value and respect the individuals that make up the Foss family and are proud to have one of the industry's highest records for employee longevity.

We work with the Inlandboatmans' Union of the Pacific to provide eligible employees in this position with benefits and paid time off in accordance with regional collective bargaining agreement requirements.

  • Medical, Dental & Vision Options
    • Employer Funded HSA Account option
  • 401(k) with employer match
  • Paid Time Off
  • Paid holidays
  • Tuition & training reimbursement
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Employee Assistance Program and Family support services
  • Employee wellness reimbursements
  • Equity & inclusion
  • Paid travel expenses

Summary of Position: The primary responsibility of this position is assisting the captain with towing, docking, and unloading of barge and other vessels, from port to port. Other duties include steering, operating, pushing, and pulling of barges as directed by the captain to its perspective destinations and/or berths. Mate is responsible for the safety of the vessel and crew while docked, as well as for the safe movement and navigation of the vessel and their tows while underway. While towing, the Mates attention is focused on water depth, weather, surging and other traffic, keeping the tow wire, which at times is at great length, clear of the bottom, navigational aids, and other vessels. The Second Mate also assists with supervision of the crew. The Mate assists the Captain and maintains the crew in matters of safety, seamanship, maintenance, navigation, and other duties as directed by the Captain. Mate directly operates winches, engines, generators and electrical systems along with wheel house navigational electronics and devices. The Mate is supervised by the Captain and reports to the Shoreside Port Captain.

  • Minimum of two years vessel experience as a Deckhand, Deckhand/Engineer or licensed deck officer experience.
  • Must have a valid USCG Merchant Mariner Document or Merchant Mariner Credential.
  • Must have a minimum USCG 1600 GT Mate upon Oceans License with Mate of Towing Vessels upon Oceans and STCW 2010.
  • Must possess a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).
  • Must have a valid U.S. Passport.
  • Must possess and maintain valid state driver's license.
  • Able to work weekends, holidays, and at night.
Essential Functions:
  • Develop the necessary techniques to work towards common objectives using effective directing, motivating and development skills for maximum employee performance.
  • Using coaching and delegation to empower employees and take corrective action when needed.
  • Encourage career development and job skills training.
  • Plans, organizes information, defines, and prioritizes tasks and develops resources to meet organizational goals.
  • Develop excellent communication skills to communicate effectively with contractors and customers.
  • This includes the ability to translate information received from contractors and customers into Marine Operations using sound decisions.
  • Knowledge of equipment - what is the job at hand and what equipment is best suited to handle the job.
  • Assist with inspection of Tugs; ensure compliances and learning the Foss SMS/ ISM/VMS.
  • Understand and comply with Foss policies and procedures.
  • Pay attention to the schedule and learn how to make decisions that will ultimately complete jobs, as per customers request and on time.
  • Being aware of crewing issues and dealing with continuous change.
  • Proper procedures for dealing with emergency situations, the decisions that need to be made based on what needs to be done, including the notifications that are essential and must be completed.
  • Responsible for taking appropriate action to correct any unusual or unsafe conditions
  • Report Near Miss Hazard Observations
  • Conduct and log Job Safety Analysis (JSA's)
  • Administer and adhere to Foss Drug and Alcohol program and policy
  • Report vessel and employee incidents including injury and illness
  • Participate in incident investigation
  • Carry out all required drills.
  • Complete a vessel orientation Foss form 009
  • Must complete and be signed off on the appropriate sections of Foss form 23
  • Be a leader for "SpeakUp", including encouraging peers and staff to exhibit a safe and ethical culture
  • Understands and complies with Company policies and procedures, including EEO, Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Saltchuk Code of Ethical Business Conduct
Knowledge and Skills:
  • Must have ability to deviate from established routines on short notice and be able to recognize the level of importance of new assignments.
  • Ability to work a varied work schedule.
  • Market conditions change continually and without warning; as a result, demands on the vessel and crew can range from intermittently high requiring around the clock operations to relatively passive.
  • Must be able to prioritize tasks accordingly to meet deadlines without sacrificing operational quality.
  • Must be a team player but at the same time be willing to exercise authority when required.
  • Must have the ability to motivate employees and to earn and obtain their committed effort.
  • Strong decision making and problem-solving abilities are a must.
  • Should have good negotiating skills to deal with regulators, customers, vendors and labor union personnel.
  • Must possess strong written and oral communicative skills.
  • Knowledge of computers, office equipment, navigation instruments and vessel machinery.
  • Ability to use navigational methods and techniques.
  • Ability to communicate, in English, across all written, spoken and listening levels
Working Conditions:

Crew members live-aboard and work for 45 - 60 days at a sea, in close quarters, with contact with Captain and other crewmembers. Ocean voyages encounter exposure to all weather conditions (rain, ice, snow, heat, wind, etc.) including rough seas.

Physical/Mental Demands:
  • Sitting: Sits to complete engineer logs and reports
  • Balancing: Balances continuously on vessel in various sea and weather conditions
  • Kneeling/Crouching/Crawling: Kneels, crouches, and crawls to pick up tools and perform checks, repairs, and general maintenance of machinery
  • Twisting/Reaching: Twists and reaches around equipment to perform deck work and repairs
  • Standing/Walking: Stands/walks while performing deck work and repairs
  • Handling/Fingering: Handles/fingers hand tools, hand-held power tools, and parts
  • Eye-Hand-Foot Coordination: Coordinates movements to perform engineer and general maintenance duties
  • Vision: 20/40 correctable vision in each eye to work with equipment and machinery. Color vision is required to distinguish color-coded systems and liquid chemicals
  • Pushing/Pulling/Lifting/Carrying (up to 50 pounds): Pushes, pulls, lifts, and carries machinery up to 50 pounds

Position Content: This job description is not intended to be and should not be construed as an all-inclusive list of all the responsibilities, skills, working conditions associated with the positions. While it is intended to accurately reflect the position activities and requirements, these requirements may change over time. Management reserves the right to modify, add or remove duties and assign other duties as necessary.

Get to Know Us: Foss Maritime is a pioneer in ocean towing, providing marine transportation services for more than 130 years. Foss can transport virtually any cargo by barge in environmentally sensitive areas as well as in regions with severe weather hazards. The Foss Maritime Ocean fleet offers point-to-point towing anywhere in the world, with some of the most advanced and powerful tugs in the industry.

When Thea Foss started her company by purchasing a single rowboat in Tacoma, Washington in 1889, she hardly could have imagined that the humble enterprise would grow into one of the world's leading tug and barge operations. Thea had a talent for marketing, and she painted a sign on the roof of the Tacoma boathouse advertising that the enterprise was "Always Ready" to rent rowboats. That sign is the root of Foss Maritime's mottos, which remains an important component of the company's brand today. "Always Safe. Always Ready."

As we look to the future, we are excited for what lies ahead and believe our experience will serve us well, particularly regarding resource development in the offshore wind market and other regions of the world.

-A Saltchuk Company


To be a family of the best towage companies in North America.


To provide maritime services without equal and unsurpassed customer service. We achieve this through:

  • A steadfast focus on our customers' needs and preferences in everything we do
  • Relentless continuous improvement - Safety, Operations, Compliance
  • Continuing to extend and expand our operations - with the goal to be competitive globally
  • Developing our world class workforce by fostering an environment of mutual trust and respect.

Foss Maritime is committed to providing our customers with world-class marine services. To achieve this stance of Operational Excellence, we are dedicated to the Foss core values that emphasize safety and quality:

  • Safety of people
  • Integrity
  • Continual Improvement
  • Quality Workplace
  • Stewardship of Resources
  • Custodian of the Environment
  • Community Minded

Foss is a place where we are proud to have our children employed. We recognize that our employees are the heart of our company. We treat our people with respect and integrity, and value their contribution and well-being.

Foss is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we are committed to a diverse workforce and taking affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws. Foss Maritime is a registered Federal Contractor, participates in e-verify and annual certification of our Affirmative Action Plans on the OFCCP Contractor Portal.

To perform this job successfully, an individual must e able to perform each essential job duty satisfactorily. Foss is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities. To request reasonable accommodation, contact [email protected].

Foss is a drug-free employer with a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy compliant with DOT/USCG requirements.

Questions? Please contact 904-752-0115.