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  • How long until going on the bridge?

    Hey Officer Cadet, long time! I'm now at sea, working with Odfjell Tankers. I was just wondering, as a general rule of thumb, how long should a deck cadet wait until requesting bridge watchkeeping duties/observation?

    I'm only into the second week of my sea time, so I'm not jonesing to leave the deck, just wondering as a guideline as I seem to have a pretty good C/O. I'm hoping to do four months straight - partially because there is a recently qualified British 3/O on 6 weeks on 6 weeks off rotation and he left just as I joined.

    I was thinking of doing 3 weeks 8-8pm on deck (usual hours, although sometimes 8-5 if mooring operations during the night or less busy), 3 weeks working one of the deck watches 4-8 with a couple extra as a spare hand on deck and then perhaps asking the C/O if I can shadow the British 3/O when he's back on with O/T on deck.

    I'm not sure what a requisite amount of time on deck vs bridge is. Many of my class mates have been posting pictures of their bridges on FB already, however my C/O suggested I spent a good amount of time working with the deckhands (which is what I expected). I imagine it differs from training officer to training officer and, as I'm on chemical tankers, there is a hell of a lot to learn on deck. I'm just not sure how much watchkeeping time I'm expected to have when I get back for phase 3... especially considering how relevant the watchkeeping stuff will be to my phase three studies.

  • #2
    It very much depends on the C/O or Training Officer, my entire first trip of 4 months was on deck and although it was a pain it was worth it in the long run (expecially when you become C/O) but if you are keen I would suggest that after a month on deck you ask for a day a week on the bridge.

    Bottom line communicate with your Chief Officer, look at your TRB, work out how many months you are likely to be at sea during your cadetship and work this backwards to say I need to start bridge watchkeeping at month 3 etc... another good trick is to say I need to do my steering certificate sooner rather than later....

    Additionally you should get a study day - I often used to combine this with doing rules with the OOW (in open sea) on the bridge... everyones happy!

    I should point out that when I did my cadetship it was nearly 4 years and ended up with nearly 20 months sea time (hence no hurry on the bridge watchkeeping time)
    Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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    • #3
      I had very little bridge time in my first few months, then built up to 6 hrs deckwork and the 8-12 at night.

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      • #4
        What we always tried to do with cadets was 4-8 on watchkeeping with Chief, 8-12 on deck work, the rest was for rest, but it did change slightly if there was something of interest going on...

        Worked just fine for us...
        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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        • #5
          I spent my first 2 weeks on bridge as we had to wait for safety boots boiler suits etc being ordered. Then pretty much spent all my time on deck just odd day here and their on bridge. But just because your not assigned to be their doesn't mean you can't go in your off hours. You can learn a lot from the officer of the watch just chatting. Basically show an interest and your more likely to do be invited their when interesting things happen or theirs something to learn.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lewis View Post
            I spent my first 2 weeks on bridge as we had to wait for safety boots boiler suits etc being ordered. Then pretty much spent all my time on deck just odd day here and their on bridge. But just because your not assigned to be their doesn't mean you can't go in your off hours. You can learn a lot from the officer of the watch just chatting. Basically show an interest and your more likely to do be invited their when interesting things happen or theirs something to learn.
            To be honest, I was initially a little frightened to show too much interest in the bridge as the C/O said he wanted me to spend my first weeks on the deck whilst the British 3/O said most cadets are concerned with the bridge...

            However since I've joined we were bumped from one terminal to another with very little steaming and since Monday when we left Houston bound for North Carolina, I've been on deck 12 hours a day in rather sunnier weather than I'm accustomed!

            With that said, we're Atlantic bound after Morehead, so I might ask the C/O if I can spend some time on bridge while in open sea to get a feel for it. As we've been through a long period of tank cleaning, circulation and prep I can't see there being as much cargo ops related work on deck during the Atlantic passage.

            Thanks for the replies!

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            • #7
              Think you misunderstood me. It helps if you show an interest first come up to bridge in your off time. Offer to make the OOW a cuppa chat wit them, Ask them what's going on to show and explain things. If you show an interest in your own time people will be more inclined to help you.

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              • #8
                I'd say it totally depends on your company but since it's your first trip , I would expect A LOT of time on deck.

                Like what's been said before , show some interest and go on the bridge on your time off even if its just for a chat about TRB and such.

                The current cadet we've got onboard works 8am-2 on deck then 6-10 on bridge and he has 5 months sea time.

                Out of interest was the British officer called Ian?

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                • #9
                  Back in my day *mumble, mumble, mumble* the first year at sea was as a Midshipman or a Senior Midshipman (Single thin gold braid or thin double gold braid like you have for your epaulettes now). You had to have 24 months seatime in total in your 4 year cadetship, but apart from your steering certificate and being on the bridge as a runner during standby you never saw the bridge in the first year at sea. Once you had done your first college year you were a cadet officer (Half a gold braid with no diamond like the Officers ones) and then spent most of your time on the bridge......

                  But that was all back in the 80's.

                  I don't know if it is a Maersk specific thing, or just that my son has been lucky, but when he joined his first ship back in February he was put on the 04:00 to 08:00 watch on the bridge in the mornings and then 10:30 to 15:30 with an hour off for lunch on daywork. The other cadet was put on 08:00 to 12:00 daywork and 16:00 to 20:00 bridge watch. They have swapped around during the voyage and so have experience on all of the watches but it seems that they have done 4 hours of bridge time a day, except Sunday. They also seem to have had short periods on watch deep sea with the Old Man supervising them but letting them get on with the watch duties themselves. The Captain and Chief Officer also invested a lot of time on watch "training and explaining". Either they have been very lucky, or this is a really positive attitude by Maersk to making the most of training during their sea phases. Either way I think he has had a really good first trip, but I will find out more in a couple of weeks when he gets home.

                  Having a trip like this must be a huge shot in the arm for them though. Seems they have really got stuck into it all.

                  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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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
                    But that was all back in the 80's.
                    *cough* *Cough* *splutter*
                    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
                      Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                      *cough* *Cough* *splutter*
                      Yeah, I know, still in short trousers and piddling yourself on Grandpa's knee then weren't you?

                      Personally I think you should have grown out of it by then - after all, you were 12!
                      "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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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
                        Yeah, I know, still in short trousers and piddling yourself on Grandpa's knee then weren't you?

                        Personally I think you should have grown out of it by then - after all, you were 12!
                        Was I indeed? 1980 what?
                        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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
                          I don't know if it is a Maersk specific thing, or just that my son has been lucky, but when he joined his first ship back in February he was put on the 04:00 to 08:00 watch on the bridge in the mornings and then 10:30 to 15:30 with an hour off for lunch on daywork. The other cadet was put on 08:00 to 12:00 daywork and 16:00 to 20:00 bridge watch. They have swapped around during the voyage and so have experience on all of the watches but it seems that they have done 4 hours of bridge time a day, except Sunday. They also seem to have had short periods on watch deep sea with the Old Man supervising them but letting them get on with the watch duties themselves. The Captain and Chief Officer also invested a lot of time on watch "training and explaining". Either they have been very lucky, or this is a really positive attitude by Maersk to making the most of training during their sea phases. Either way I think he has had a really good first trip, but I will find out more in a couple of weeks when he gets home.
                          I really hope that's a Maersk thing, if not, I'm definitely going to try to make my own luck Pity they're only on the bridge for 4 hours a day though, none of it counts as sea time on the bridge, as far as I understand the regs

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                          • #14
                            If you have 4 hours per day on the bridge 2 days x 4 hours = 1 day on bridge.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bobofinga View Post
                              If you have 4 hours per day on the bridge 2 days x 4 hours = 1 day on bridge.
                              No, strictly it doesn't. We went through this on another thread. In reality you get whatever watchkeeping time the Master signs off a testimonial for, but by the letter it must be at least 8 hours per day (or 24hr period, can't remember how it is phrased) or it doesn't count.

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