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Things I wish I'd known on my first trip as a Deck Officer

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  • Things I wish I'd known on my first trip as a Deck Officer

    I thought we could start a list of things that the Deck Officers and Captains here wish they'd known when they first sailed as Officer, or things we think might help people on that first trip. I'll start us off with a few.

    When you make a colregs decision, stick to it and follow it through properly unless its going to put you in danger. Uncertain decisions where you change to port, then to starboard, then to port again will only confuse people.

    When you call the Captain for a situation on the bridge that needs his attention, just say calmly 'Please can you come to the bridge', and thats it. Trying to say anything more to someone who you've just woken up at 3am or is half way through a meeting will just confuse them.

    Admit your mistakes and be honest, don't try to hide them.

    Admit your capabilities and limitations, people will respect you more for that.

    Never be afraid to change companies or change ship types. Never have the attitude that you wouldn't sail on this type or that for whatever reasons. Until you've tried it you never know, and a ships are all the same afterall.

    When you join a ship, don't compare the operations to your last ship (on my last ship we did this or that), it only annoys people. Implement new ideas surrepticiously over time.

    Don't piss off the Engineers, show an interest in what they are doing but don't try to tell them how to do something. Keep them on yourside.

    Don't call the engine room immediately after a blackout, the engineers already know and you will only disturb them from dealing with the problem.#

    Be open to new ideas and new ways of working, just because your last ship or company or you trained on one style, doesn't mean its the best. You can learn something good from everycompany.

    Don't be smart arse and embarrass people above you, you might be right, but it will just give you hassle.

    When you take on your responsibilities when you join a ship, keep your eyes open and look at everything objectively. Don't be so familiar that you miss things you need to know.

    Read and understand the class, flag and port state survey requirements and regulations. Never let yourself be surprised by something wrong on the ship, and be armed with knowledge, because surveyors and inspectors can be wrong.

    If a surveyor or inspector finds something wrong, don't try to hide or explain it, just say you'll resolve it.

    Don't limit yourself, and be open to any challenges and exposure available.

  • #2
    Really great post, hopefully more people will contribute towards this!
    Remember, you can be sea sick and sick of the sea. Avoid both at all costs...

    Comment


    • #3
      Some fantastic advice there, most of which is equally applicable to first trip engineers.
      Go out, do stuff

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Clanky View Post
        Some fantastic advice there, most of which is equally applicable to first trip engineers.
        If you **** up, admit it and call for some help. The only people who never make a mistake never do anything, and unless the **** up is due to messing about no-one's going to bend your ear about it.

        On that note, if you don't know how to do something, ask! I'm sure most engineers are like me; I'd rather show you how to do it so you know rather than picking up the pieces after something's been broken through ignorance/overconfidence/fear of looking stupid.
        '... English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't
        just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages
        down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for
        new vocabulary.' - James Davis Nicoll

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        • #5
          As an engineer, even a decky if on tankers, spend a few days tracing out your pipework. It's a boring and rather difficult task but it does pay off. Don't simply take the piping diagram as you won't learn the systems by doing that.

          If you don't know what a button is or does then do not push it. Can't stress that one enough as there have been ****wits i've come across who have pushed buttons and caused mayhem and that goes for both deck and engineering.

          I'm sure i'll think of more later...
          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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          • #6
            Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
            If you don't know what a button is or does then do not push it. Can't stress that one enough as there have been ****wits i've come across who have pushed buttons and caused mayhem and that goes for both deck and engineering.
            I ask someone else what it does and then convince them that they need to try it out before sliding away with an evil snigger.

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            • #7
              I just push it and blame the philly's
              "My Job"

              It's not my place to run the boat
              the fog horn I can't blow.

              It's not my place to say just where
              the boat's allowed to go

              It's not my right to dock the boat
              or even clang the bell

              But let the damn thing
              start to sink AND SEE WHO CATCHES HELL!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                If you don't know what a button is or does then do not push it. Can't stress that one enough as there have been ****wits i've come across who have pushed buttons and caused mayhem and that goes for both deck and engineering.
                Especially the little red ones with a little 'don't bloomin touch' plastic cover over them.

                They cause the most havoc

                To boldly go.....
                Forum Administrator
                OfficerCadet.com

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                • #9
                  Making other people look bad does not make you look good. If someone makes a mistake, help them to learn from it and learn from it yourself. Don't go round behind their back laughing and joking saying '' You won't believe what so-and-so did tooday... ''


                  If you need to call the bridge, try not to call bang on the hour (obviously unless if it's something serious!) Give the OOW a minute to write down all the hourly information and plot ships position.

                  If you are in any doubt or unsure about anything, never be afraid to ask for help. The only stupid question is the one that you don't ask!

                  Never forget the Captain on my first trip asking me to do an ETA question and I had hardly done any and got completely confused with clocks and I was a bit embarrassed to ask for help as I knew how simple they were to do! He saw I was having a bit of trouble and came over and said :

                  When in trouble, or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!
                  Remember, you can be sea sick and sick of the sea. Avoid both at all costs...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Things I wish I'd known:
                    The Philippine version of european meals can be very different to what I'd expect
                    Learning ROR properly is definately worth it
                    Always always ask questions, and use some study time to actually learn
                    Make your cabin homely/relaxing- Don't let it become a place u'd hate to return to.

                    Things I wish other people had known:
                    Not to think you know it all because your on the degree route
                    Equally, take care in where you get your knowledge from - Some will teach you the wrong way
                    And of course...what ever happens, don't get caught!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fireman View Post

                      And of course...what ever happens, don't get caught!
                      There's another one like that. Make it to the enquiry. They'll probably throw the book at you for fecking off in the midst of an incident, but at least your alive to have said book thrown at you!
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        About the only quote from the Bible which I have ever seen any relevance in says

                        "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks"

                        Apparently they used to put spikes along the front of an ox cart so that when the ox kicked the cart it hurt it's feet, even though oxen aren't noted for their intelligence they eventually learned not to kick the cart.

                        It has taken me a lot of years and a lot of time working for some serious pricks to learn that it just isn't worth kicking against them, I remember one particularly obnoxious second engineer when I was a cadet, I was absolutely determined that I wasn't going to take any **** from him so I ended up with a **** appraisal and not much signed off in my book, if I had just kept my head down and let at least some of it wash over me I would have had a much more pleasant trip in the end.

                        As chief I am having to learn this all over again dealing with some of the pricks who work ashore for shipping companies.

                        The best advice I can give to a cadet who ends up sailing with a senior officer who is a bit of a prick is, up to a point ignore the **** and get on with it, learn how not to manage people and just take whatever bull**** comes your way and DON'T BITE. If things become really unbearable, then start keeping a record of things that have been happening and take it through proper official channels, but if you are going to do this then you need to make sure that your behaviour has been exemplerary (sp?)

                        Things like filling the second engineers boots with grease only make the situation worse. trust me!
                        Go out, do stuff

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Don't fight against senior officers who you do not get on well with. It just marks your card and it is not worth it.

                          I can name 2 specific instances. I had a Chief Officer who took a dislike to me as a Cadet. I have no idea why, was never a problem, but he did insist on telling others to let me trip myself up. If I asked someone to give me an extra call for standby, because I was too knackered as we had done 6 ports in 8 days, and frightened I would fall back to sleep he would cancel it and then bollock me for having to be called once the standby had started. Eventually he sent a formal letter to my training officer. I did a double header on the ship (6.5 months) and the second Chief Officer found the letter the first one had written and was so incensed about it at the end of the voyage that both he and the Captain wrote letters telling the training officer that the previous Chief Officer was an officious idiot and he had done the letter behind the Old Man's back. The problem was that once I realised he was treating me badly I kicked back against him until the situation between us broke down completely. I should have just put my head down and let it wash over me, but I hated the unfairness of it, everyone else could see it and encouraged me, but the problem was - I was the only one in the firing line.

                          The second time was a Captain. I was on my final sea phase (we had to have 24 months seatime in those days), had passed all my exams, written and orals and so was standing the 8-12 watch solo. The Captain used to enjoy coming onto the bridge at 11pm with a skinful of whiskey and before he wrote his night orders would quiz me on everything and give me situations for which there was no out, even asking me questions about stuff that was in his syllabus 30 years before, but was no longer taught - eventually he would get bored, write his night orders and leave the bridge laughing. For an hour every night he made my life hell. I learnt nothing from him, it was not as if he was coming up to help me, he just wanted to show me who was boss and wind me up because he had nothing better to do with his time! After 2 months he wound me up so much that as he left the bridge I threw the chart pencil at the bridge door. Only problem was the door was not fully closed and the pencil sailed through a half inch gap and hit him on the back of the head. After the bollocking he came up for an extra half hour a night. Again I should have just let it wash over me, but he never once admitted I was right and so he completely demoralised me. The exact day I had my 24 months seatime in I sent a telex to the company asking to get off the ship, telling them why. That night he came onto the bridge, wrote his night orders and left me alone for the rest of the voyage. Again I should have just said "don't know sir" everytime he started on me and he would have got bored and stopped baiting me. I was not the only one he did it to according to the Chief Officer, but I could do nothing about it.

                          If I had been a little more accepting that I could do nothing about it I may had had no different a voyage in how these people treated me but I may have not been so miserable. At the end of the day I was unlikely to meet these people again on the same terms and so it was not important.

                          Ian
                          "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
                          "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                          "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

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                          • #14
                            that means...injury to one, injury to all

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by koolcollins25 View Post
                              that means...injury to one, injury to all
                              Maybe you can go into a bit more detail?
                              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.

                              Comment

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