Some of the best welding experiences I had in the past were related to welding on Navy Ships. I have recently decided to pursue some of the work available as the result of some new ships being built. The pay is excellent but the testing, from what I hear, is a bit tough.
I am going to work through a “temp” agency as opposed directly for Ingalls. The trip up was fine and the 1st thing I did was find a local congregation for attending worship. Found one down the road from the hotel on the way to the shipyard so that’s cool. Its pretty neat to drive 7 hours away, walk into a room full of people and be welcomed as a brother.
I’m sitting in the hotel they provided today, waiting to head to the temp agencies office for orientation. This includes pulmonary function test, hearing test, and respirator fit test. The 1st 3 days are unpaid which kinda stinks. I may call around to see if I can schedule a welding test for a boiler outage coming up in the area just in case my 53-year-old lungs or welding skills can’t cut the mustard. If I fail any of the screening tests, it was a wasted 7 hour trip with no $$. During welding testing, I’m allowed to fail 1 test from what I have heard. Any more, and your done. At least you do get paid during the testing.
Whats NOT covered should I fail is all of the time spent getting information together for the recruiter, conversations with them, and other things. It was nearly a 2-month process just to get here.
It was difficult to find out any information about the specific welding tests. The recruiter sent me a list of “test numbers” that meant nothing without more info. The welding standard for navy ships can be viewed here if your interested S9074-AQ-GIB-010-248. One thing that differs from this standard and many civilian standards is a requirement for formal training and vision testing. Some civilian codes do require vision tests also. But as far as the actual welding tests required, there are only various rules provided in the 248 with some test assembly details. But thicknesses, processes, base metals, filler metals are all up to the shipyard and based on whats being welded.
I am not a fan of being apart from my wife so if it seems I may make it, I will have her and the dogs come up for the duration of the work and we will go home on the weekends if I’m not working. She’s my favorite thing on the planet and think we should be together whenever possible. We marry our spouses for a reason, why not enjoy them all we can!
More later as I continue this process…or fail at it!
Either way, God, My Wife, My Children, and My Dogs will still like me!