My name is Larry Tompkins. I got out of the United States Navy in 1993 after serving in Operation Desert Storm / Desert Shield. After getting out of the service I had trouble finding a job offshore and decided to use an employment service to work in the Gulf. Most agencies take either 14 days of wages or 20% spread out over a few months, while your still trying to support your family. After a few months I decided to swap careers and started working on tugboats operating on the Intracoastal Waterway from Panama City to Corpus Christi and also the Ohio, Alabama, Black Warrior and Mississippi Rivers.
In August of 1997 I decided to make another run at the gulf. After I made my first hitch, I thought to myself I needed to figure out a way to get into school to get my Captain's license. I went to the local maritime school where they allowed me to make payments. By the end of November I had passed my exams and now held a 100 Gross Ton Near Coastal Masters license. I took my license into the office and the personnel manager was upset with me because he hired me as a deckhand and not a captain. In 2003 I decided to get my 200 Ton Master. I took that license to the company I am currently employed by and have been here since November 2003.
In early 2007 I thought that if I was going to sacrifice time away from my family then I should be making the most amount of money possible and I decided to upgrade to a 1600 Ton Masters. I completed all the required courses, bought some study material and passed all of my exams. By the end of November 2008 I held a 1600 Ton (3,000 ITC) Masters Near Coastal license. In 2011 I purchased more study material and taught myself Celestial Navigation. I went to the Coast Guard and passed my exams. In November 2012 I earned my 3rd Mate Any-GRT Oceans. This November I have enough sea time for my 2nd Mate. Hopefully by early winter 2014 I will be taking the final exams to earn my Chief Mates License. By early winter 2015 I should have accumulated the required amount of sea time and earned a Master Any-GRT. If I would've had worked with captains early on that were concerned with my career I could've been at this point within the first 5-10 years working offshore. I now encourage my crew to further their own careers.
After all the years of filing paper work and appeals with the Coast Guard for myself and co-workers, I decided I should be getting paid for my services. Consider me your personal guidance counselor. If you are a client of mine I will manage your career and put you on a fast track to a 6 figure salary.
Captain Larry E. Tompkins Jr.
(1600 Ton Master, 3rd Mate Any-GRT)