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Phase 4 Deck Cadet - Need advice on TRB/Workbook

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  • Phase 4 Deck Cadet - Need advice on TRB/Workbook


    I've just registered on the forum, so I apologise for just jumping straight to asking questions but I and another Cadet I am on board with are desperate for some advice! I have sifted through some older posts relating to this, but I have specific questions to my circumstances.

    Basically, I have two cries for help.

    We are on a Bulk Carrier with Russian Officers. They aren't bad guys and sometimes show us things or teach us things, but things are difficult and slow going with the training. We don't do drills particularly often or thoroughly for that matter (although within regulation requirements i seems!) and when we have asked about doing certain types of drills to cover some of the 'Safety' tasks in the Training Record Book they simply turn us away. So my question is, what the hell do we do? I really don't want to have to get them to sign something I haven't done and with the tasks on drills for enclosed space rescues and deck oil fires I can't make stuff up. I simply refuse to do that, but I don't want to have to face more sea time before my Oral exams because the Officers I got lumped with refuse to help!

    Next, I would appreciate some advice on the Workbook we are required to produce. I understand and am currently writing entries with photos on the few things that I do get to do on board here (it's almost as though they feel we cannot be trusted to carry out even the most inane tasks without them heavily interfering) but I would like to know how many examples of compass error calculations and star sights are deemed enough? I do compass errors every watch if the weather permits (like a good Cadet) but I don't personally see the need to provide them with hundreds of examples of the same calculation.

    If I am helping the 3/O with inspecting the FFA/LSA, how many times do I need to write about me doing this? Because I feel like I'm just writing the same thing over and over. Any other advice somebody can give me on how to complete this Workbook would be immensely appreciated, it really would.

    Thank you in advance.

    Alex M

    Edit: Just remembered also... we don't have tide books on here, they only use the Admiralty tide program so what do we do about providing examples of calculating tide? This is all very distressing haha.

  • #2
    Hi Mightymonk

    I would suggest with regards the safety tasks you write a couple of pages of how the drill should be done, inserting checklists from the ship you are on (if they don't have any look up the generic ones which can be found in other publications) and state on this document that you could not complete them onboard because they were not done. Then gets these signed off by a lecturer at college.

    Workbooks - I had about 50 compass errors, 10 sights, mer pass etc in as well as things like personal notes on sights, chronometer errors etc in. Basically fill it up with lots of Nav stuff (not just calculations) that way the MCA examiner and college will just see lots of work and not start digging on your celestial Nav knowledge.

    As for the FFE/LSA thing you could beef things up with talking about procedures such as checking lifeboats at sea, any dangers of doing the task, dealing with engineers for testing fire pumps etc, comparisons between your ship and the SOLAS requirements for life buoys etc

    Hope that helps, and bear in mind people do more people do less, but a nice juicy thick workbook looks a lot better!

    Edit- with the tides I think the tide program has a raw data page in, do a print out and calculate, then when you get back to college do a few examples using the tide tables with secondary ports etc and get college to sign it off.
    Last edited by Pilot Chris; 12 June 2013, 12:17 PM. Reason: Missed the tide bit
    Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision


    • #3
      Thanks a lot for your advice. I hadn't thought of some of those things! The obvious difficulty is that I don't know what questions to ask to get the training and answers that I need, and that difficulty is amplified by language barriers. Again though, thanks!

      I really wish there was more guidance on all of this; training companies only seem to tell you what is already written in the guidance notes in the back of the TRB and those notes are rather ambiguous.

      Can anybody else offer some advice?


      • #4
        I'm sorry to hear about your problems, but a lot of cadets are in the same situation.

        Are they doing drills in line with the law and the company SMS? are the drills just being written into the logbook without doing them?

        If you are not doing drills in line with regulations complain to your training officer, I'm guessing SSTG or clyde?

        The easiest thing to do is just get one of the officers to sign your TRB and forget about it. Loads of cadets do it, its the only way to get through the cadetship.

        With regards to your workbook I had a similar number of sights/compass errors to pilot Chris and the collage/company were happy with it although the MCA never looked at it.


        • #5
          Yeah, I am aware that this sort of thing is not uncommon which is really quite bad when you think about it.

          The number of drills are usually being carried out as per company policy and the law, but they certainly don't last very long, there's never a briefing/debriefing so there is never any feedback or improvement. They won't trust us Cadets with doing anything more than setting up fire hoses either.

          It is the easiest thing to do and I know they will sign anything I ask them to. I really want to avoid having to do that for all sorts of reasons, but the closer I get to the end of the my contract on board this vessel, the more it feels that it is going to be totally unavoidable unless I want gaping holes in my TRB task lists.

          Thanks though, at least I've got a good bearing on the quantity of examples I need.


          • #6
            The talk i received for completing my workbooks sounds similar to yours.... basic to say the least and the example guidance entries in the TRB being pretty much useless.

            What makes it even more annoying is the fact the likes of SSTG, clyde etc hammer it home how important your workbook is and must be up to scratch, i've had many a headache pondering over if im writing enough and is it correct. After speaking to quite a few cadets it seems that as long as you write a reasonable amount of reasonable quality reports you should be fine.
            I have never written repeat reports for tasks ive already written about, i dont see the point in writing out a report each time i've done say a fire drill for example. IMO as long as you have good quality reports that are well laid out (pictures, bullet points on procedures, safety precautions etc), i dont see why they would need loads of almost duplicate reports for each time you do a drill (or similar tasks which you do relatively often)... would maybe do a couple of each calculation reports but thats about it.

            I have also found that with some crews, drills can be lacking in the briefing/debriefing department. If that's the case i wouldn't say "make it up" but just run through yourself or with another cadet what you thought went well or if you seen anything that didnt go so well and put it in the report....

            The way i look at it is even if the MCA picks your workbook out for scrutiny, do you think their going to start contacting vessel's you've been on to check if every detail is in your workbook is 100% correct (i.e you did a proper brief/debrief in the drill)?!?

            IMO if the workbook has all the relevant information there and its neatly presented, how can it be wrong.... it's just a big paperwork exercise, long as it ticks all the boxes.. and if that means adding some details in then so be it.


            • #7
              Cd2012 has hit the nail on the head. Do as much as you can , make it neat , presentable and correct... but don't over do it. You dont need 20 reports on anchoring or what not. I had a full a4 folder about an inch thick after my cadetship and the examiner flicked through it briefly.

              As for the language barrier and drills , theres not a lot you can do especially if they dont trust you.
              Write up a report about how you think it should be done in regards to your vessel and get it signed off ... as long as its accurate and not nonsense it will be fine.


              • #8
                Thank you every body for your replies! A delayed thank you because internet access is obviously not in abundance at sea.

                Either way, we've kind of sussed now that they aren't keen to show us too much because some of the Officers look at Cadets as gangway/deck fodder and nothing else. Still, your advice is good advice


                • #9
                  One way to get around the 'lots of similar work' is to write reports that simply are additions to the original. so servicing FFA list the things your doing if you then come across a different fault or a new piece of kit then stick a new paragraph on and a photo about that.
                  Similarly drills etc A good report on a basic accomadation drill will have much the same as engine room and such things so just add the differences, look up roles and procedures so you can say who is stopping ventilation, closing valves etc as otherwise what you might find out is that all firefighting for you is 'run out hoses'

                  And it is hard to get stuck in for drills it seems some people view it that the drills are needed to train the crew so you cant take their place, and they certainly cant run extra drills just for you. Sadly its life, if you could talk someone through any given roll (for a deck officer) in a drill because you've seen it and read up on it but not actually been allowed to play that role if you can get it signed off then I wouldn't hesitate and certainly don't feel bad about it unless your getting them to sign stuff off that you know you've made no effort to learn.

                  If you feel you deserve something signed off, and it looks like its not going to happen, point out that your supposed to have this book finished this trip (even if you will be getting another one) and therefore if you don't have lots of signatures your boss will be unhappy and will be questioning the officers why you were allowed to be on board but didn't complete any training (it works although they tend to go a bit mad and over compensate )
                  you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky


                  • #10
                    Sorry posted by mistake


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ETwhat? View Post
                      If you feel you deserve something signed off, and it looks like its not going to happen, point out that your supposed to have this book finished this trip (even if you will be getting another one) and therefore if you don't have lots of signatures your boss will be unhappy and will be questioning the officers why you were allowed to be on board but didn't complete any training (it works although they tend to go a bit mad and over compensate )
                      Sneaky. Didn't know you had it in you ET.