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Coming to the end of my 1st sea phase, my thoughts on things outside of duty hours

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  • Coming to the end of my 1st sea phase, my thoughts on things outside of duty hours

    Just giving my thoughts on things of importance outside of duty hours, in my opinion:

    1. Internet - My sponsor company has internet on all ships, although it is sometimes slow I am very grateful for this onboard technology. No doubt it is hard for every crew member onboard sometimes when away from family and friends, however access to the internet has allowed me to keep in touch with home and made the trip a lot easier. I think if companies really want to retain crew members they should invest in this technology, the allowance of an email or two doesn't really cut it in 2011 in my opinion.

    2. Alcohol - Yes despite what some people on this forum may say, alcohol can still be enjoyed at sea. Onboard we have access to alcohol via the slopchest and a bar. I think this is a very important aspect, and before some posters try and shoot me down I will explain why; There is nothing better after a tiring day on watch or on day work than to sit down with a beer or two, watch a film and unwind. In addition, alcohol plays a big part in bonding onboard. For instance, when it is a crew members birthday everyone gathers in the crew rec room, beers are drunk and conversation flows. I'm sorry but sitting around drinking cans of Fanta just doesn't create the same sense of community, alcohol is a social tool at sea as on land. I think that a company that finds its crews responsible enough to know thier own limits, and to know when and when not to drink is something to be commended as far too often some companies ban alcohol out right.

    3. Shore leave - I have read and heard many things about this topic, mostly that shore leave is rare these days. I can say that its not, well not as a cadet and as long as you are off duty anyway. My vessel has a quick turn-around time but I have still managed to go ashore in 3 ports in Australia, 2 ports in Japan and 1 port in Korea (6 ports out of 10 isn't bad going at all!) In the time I was off the ship I managed to have a good look around the places, so much so that I made a point of which places to come back to and which to avoid in future time off.

    4. Films - We have an extensive collection of films and tv series' onboard which have been a godsend in times of boredom. I am not sure of other ships collections but we have 2 large cabinets full of films etc to keep us entertained, with designated crew members buying new requested DVDs when possible. Considering how fast your hard drive collection runs out and the lack of any sat tv at sea, many a free evening has been spent watching films I had never thought to bring.

    5. Cadet study days - Cadets get Sundays as study days onboard, which means no set duty. This has been a great use to me as it allows me the chance to write up reports, pencil in dates in my TRB, learn the rules of the road and research topics I need to learn more about. It would be infinitely harder to do all this between duties if we had no set study day, unfortunately I have heard that is the case with others.

    6. Food - I am sure it is the case on every ship where some days the food just doesn't take your fancy. However, we have access to toasters, cold cuts of meat, cheese and microwavable snacks. Thus, if you ever find yourself peckish you are free to make some sort of snack. As food seems to be one major factor affecting morale onboard I think this is important. I am not sure what the situation is like regarding making snacks onboard other ships so please feel free to tell me

    The above are just my opinions but I believe they make a great contribution to either having a happy or discontent crew onboard. Comments welcome

  • #2
    Sounds like you enjoyed yourself at least, and most of the points are valid although as you identify a lot of them are ship/company specific. We had satelite Tv although none of it was in english and that was the same for the DvD's. Fortunatly we also had free wifi through out the crew cabins and that gave an access to the world.

    As for drinks, everyone can say thay know their limits but still you get problems and while it would be nice after a day to get a beer I think that within our careers at sea all ships will become dry wether its going to make things safer and more productive will be hard to prove but it does seem to be the way things are going.
    you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky


    • #3
      Sounds like you've had a great trip! Kinda envy you mate!

      I had internet on my second and third trip, although the plug was continuously being pulled due to excessive usage! Still, was great to be able to access emails and read the news.

      Booze on board would be great! Would be amazing to sit down with everyone and chill after a hard days work. Like you say, fanta just doesn't cut it (or that horrible one which stains your teeth called 'marinda' or whatever it was, awful stuff)

      Shore leave was nigh on impossible on my last trip - I did just over 3 months and managed to get ashore for ten minutes to go and check the drafts. Great!

      Study Days - think you've been really lucky for getting study days. I think every company gives Sunday as a study day....on my first trip I got four study Sundays for the 6 months I was on board, none on my second trip and my most recent trip I was really lucky to get most Sundays off for study.

      Food wise we had a really good chef on board. We had access to fridges, toasters and kettles but all the food was locked up! Apparently there were microwaves on board before I joined but they were removed because someone kept on putting tin foil and baking trays in them....

      Be interesting to know who you're with, what ship type and the route you were on?
      Remember, you can be sea sick and sick of the sea. Avoid both at all costs...