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The age old 'so what war-ship are you on?' question

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  • The age old 'so what war-ship are you on?' question

    I still get amazed when people ask me what I do and I get the response that I listed in the title. It is crazy that as an island nation most Briton's dont even have a clue what the Merchant Navy is/does! Nautilus are always banging on about raising awareness and I can see why. What are you experiences when you have told people what you do?

  • #2
    Most conversations went down the line of;

    "I work on cruise ships" (Having learned within days that "Im in the merchant navy" doesn't work)
    "Ohh, are you a singer?"
    "No, I'm one of the 2nd officers"
    "ohh, what does that mean"
    "I drive the ship"
    "ohh, so your like a captain"
    "no - we do the boring **** getting you from A-B and he does the fun 10 minutes either end"
    ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

    ? Mark Twain
    myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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    • #3
      One particularly memorable conversation:

      "I'm in the Merchant Navy"
      "Does that mean you can get sent to Afghanistan?"
      No. Not really...
      "We're not pirates, We're preemptive nautical salvage experts"

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      • #4
        Everyone seems to call us 'Marine's in STC, rather annoying to be fair..
        'What do you do?'
        'I'm in the merchant navy training to be an engineer'
        'So do you still do the 10mile run if your not shooting people up on deck?'
        Life at sea is a life for me

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        • #5
          I gave up trying to explain it years ago and so I just say either I'm a navigator or a deck officer, then if people ask what these are, I just say I drive ships. Or I just say what company I work for and leave it for whoever I am talking to to work out what I do!

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          • #6
            "I'm in the Merchant Navy training to be an Engineer"

            "Oh cool, so are you like on submarines or something?"

            "Not really, no, it's not the military, it's working for private companies onboard their ships as an engineer"

            "Ah okay, so when are you being deployed?"

            Beggars belief sometimes. It amazes me how little people know about it, though more often than not people are eager to learn more about the Merchant Navy and don't mind me telling them what it is and how it differs from the Royal Navy (aside from the conversation quoted above ofc ).

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            • #7
              It's more a case of people just being thick as **** rather than being unaware.

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              • #8
                You can blame King George V for the rebranding from "Merchant Marine".

                If you think explaining the Merchant Navy as a whole is difficult just be thankful you didn't join the RFA.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Steve View Post
                  You can blame King George V for the rebranding from "Merchant Marine".

                  If you think explaining the Merchant Navy as a whole is difficult just be thankful you didn't join the RFA.
                  To be fair i've talked to some people who knew what the RFA did better than what the Merchant Navy did. I tend to find saying I work in commercial shipping rather than the Merchant Navy to be easier for people to understand.
                  "We're not pirates, We're preemptive nautical salvage experts"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Steve View Post
                    You can blame King George V for the rebranding from "Merchant Marine".

                    If you think explaining the Merchant Navy as a whole is difficult just be thankful you didn't join the RFA.
                    To be fair to the RFA, being known as "Right F*cking Arseholes" doesn't really help.....

                    I just say, "I'm a Ship's Engineer" or "I'm in the Maritime Industry as an Engineer"
                    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                    All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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                    • #11
                      Very similar experiences to Alistair here. I tend to explain it as like being an airline pilot... but on ships.
                      sigpic
                      Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

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                      • #12
                        next they will think you fly boats :P
                        Be what you want to be not what other people tell you to be
                        Adapt and over come
                        Careers At Sea Ambassador

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                        • #13
                          Conversation with a dancer on board...

                          So are you deck (department)?

                          Yeah, I'm a cadet

                          What do you do then?

                          I'm a trainee navigating officer.

                          Oh.... right.... so... do you work on the bridge then?

                          Yeah

                          So you're in training now then?

                          Yeah, I qualify in Dec, hopefully.

                          So what do you want to do when you qualify?

                          Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

                          Sadly this is a conversation I've had with many many people, crew and pax.

                          Size4riggerboots

                          Moderator
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                          • #14
                            Well what is it you do all day on the bridge? Surounded by machines that go beep and parp and all those maps and stuff I mean Second mate draws the lines to follow and makes them appear "by magic" on the ECDIS...pffft it's nearly "Chief-Proof(tm)"



                            /me gets flame retardant PPE ready
                            Trust me I'm a Chief.

                            Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                            Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                            No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                            Twitter:- @DeeChief

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                            • #15
                              Thin ice Chiefy. Thin ice.

                              Size4riggerboots

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