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  • A Bleak Future?

    Hello Lads n Lassies,

    Some pretty handy and sensible info on this site I thought I would register.

    As a middle aged Chap with aspirations to crack on with Deck Officer training my start date was pushed back until later this year for obvious reasons.

    I am now beginning to have nagging doubts in the future of the industry...especially for British Officers: cheap labour from overseas, cruise liners parked up alongside etc.

    From what I gather contract and employment prospects were quite bleak at best and now with the Pandemic gattling gunning all of society I am seriously reconsidering my options and swaying towards calling it a day and heading down a more secure Uni / medical path instead.

    I hear people are heading shoreside but that does not interest me if I am joining to go to sea. It just seems like a wasted effort in my opinion but each to their own.

    I know this is continually asked question type but it would be interesting to hear some updated thoughts from people.

    The Pandemic has obviously been an absolute spanner in the works all over and it is difficult to judge the state of the industry in a few years time once qualified but if anyone wishes to shed any light on any facts and figures or anything major coming our way since Brexit and so on I am all ears.

    Maybe I am being pessimistic but it seems deader than a dead dodo.

    Thanks for your time and input in advance.



  • #2
    There's a few threads in the anonymous/industry sub-sections of the forum about the state of the industry, the most recent being updated a couple of days ago. I can't really think of anything to say that hasn't been covered in them at length to be honest. I'd love to be able to give solid information on what will happen in the future but it really is impossible to provide anything with any certainty right now. I mean, take Brexit for example - seeing as it was left right to the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute to come to any kind of agreement there really hasn't been time to actually adapt to the new situation yet seeing as no one knew what the new guidelines we'd have to work with would be until just over a week ago.
    27//Officer Cadet//Phase Three//Warsash

    My officer cadet blog - SeasboundBySummer.Tumblr.com

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    • #3
      I think Seabound makes a great point. At the moment, we can hardly plan for even a couple of days ahead the way things are going and changing. For example, as a Cadet, 2 days before I was meant to travel a ways for college, the government decided to make everyone do online learning. So now I'm spending a lot of money on accommodation for something I could have done at home, as I wasn't able to back out of my agreement.

      So I'm just taking it a day at a time, as that is all I can do. I have no idea what the qualified officers on Cruise Ships are doing since they have been mothballed. The lucky ones I assume get kept on and then join ship to do anchor watches for the duration. The rest, well, I think they are on an 'extended' break. A lot of these guys, are only paid onboard too, so I'm assuming that if they don't have savings, they need to find employment outwith the industry in the meatime.

      It pretty much has all been summed up in other anon threads. In my opinion, if you are really concerned about jobs and such, go down the Engineering/ETO route, as you'll have a greater chance at obtaining one, as well if you decide to come ashore. You could fail a medical and then that's it, no choice but to take a job on land too, so I'd give it a thought. You would probably be able to change your department if you asked your sponsor/training company nicely enough and had a good enough reason. But as a Deck Officer, you'd get to drive the ship! So it's what you'd rather do!

      If you want overall security though, honestly even as a Cadet I can say that this career at the moment doesn't have that. I don't know if it ever did, but if you choose to go down the medical route, that's probably the most secure career you'd ever get. It depends what your priorities are. Security? Or do you really want a life at sea? It seems you are ex RN, so based on that I'm assuming that you already know many of the pro's and con's of a life at sea. The MN will be quite different if you do decide to join, but sometime it's in the blood right? No other job has ticked so many boxes for me, although it does come with some pretty solid con's. Right now, the pro's outweigh the cons for me!

      Anyway, hope this helps. All the best!

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      • #4
        Who are you due to be sponsored by? That will have a huge impact on your future prospects.

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        • #5
          As your name suggests your ex RN I would suggest that will give you an edge with some British employers possibly for example the rfa and some others. Not too sure but maybe something to think about.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by riker View Post
            So I'm just taking it a day at a time, as that is all I can do. I have no idea what the qualified officers on Cruise Ships are doing since they have been mothballed. The lucky ones I assume get kept on and then join ship to do anchor watches for the duration. The rest, well, I think they are on an 'extended' break. A lot of these guys, are only paid onboard too, so I'm assuming that if they don't have savings, they need to find employment outwith the industry in the meatime.
            Currently sitting at anchor but with reduced manning and reduced pay. So twice as much work for approx 30% less money. Also social atmosphere on board has been completely destroyed by things such as compulsory mask wearing (despite doing a covid test and mandatory 2 week quarantine on joining), food etc becoming poorer as time goes on with budget cuts. And of course no shore leave whatsoever (arguably this is in breach of MLC). Could be worse, at least I still have a job although for how much longer remains to be seen. Yes there is a vaccine out there but I think you are talking many months (maybe into next year) until everyone has had it. Meanwhile cruise companies are burning through literally billions of pounds. There is only a limited amount of time that this is sustainable for.

            Anyway to answer the general point of your question, I would not currently recommend a career as a deck officer. If you have other options then I'd seriously consider those at the moment.

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            • #7
              Morning All,

              Apologies for the blanket response.

              Thanks for all your replies some interesting, detailed and varied POV there from you all. It seems quite circumstantial for each individual experience of the industry - maybe a case of right place at the right time type thing! Whilst there may be a remote chance of the 'lucky bonus ball' coming up and a long happy employment there is also high risk of it really not coming up and sat at home over 183 days per annum left with only dreams of standing on the bridge watching sunsets around the globe and all the other good stuff. I have had a quick scan through some agency websites there is the odd gig around but that could simply be a case of CV harvesting. Not too much to get excited about. In comparison if I was to type "Medical Jobs Glasgow" into a search engine...

              Being a realist and a calculated assessor of risk I will keep my eye on current affairs over the near future and go from there whether its stick it out and hope for the best or cut my losses and head down the Medical path (cant see that option ever being a passing trend personally). Damn hard times all over for everyone right now I know people from several industries all sat at home right now, contractors of all descriptions have been hit hard unfortunately (myself included). Interesting worldwide fallout from a bat in a town market.

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              • #8
                If you were considering going into a medical field it is a far safer option. Can you imagine the public outcry if a hospital announced they were firing employees so that they could get cheaper labour from abroad? Well the shipping industry has been doing that for years and no one has batted an eyelid.

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                • #9
                  Well the shipping industry has been doing that for years and no one has batted an eyelid.

                  Agreed. And that was pre-pandemic. The US model looks better they seem to look after their own whereas we make a lot of noise about ruling the waves and such pomp whilst the reality is the opposite end of the spectrum. Bums on seats at lower cost = increased profit margins sadly.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EH75 View Post

                    Currently sitting at anchor but with reduced manning and reduced pay. So twice as much work for approx 30% less money. Also social atmosphere on board has been completely destroyed by things such as compulsory mask wearing (despite doing a covid test and mandatory 2 week quarantine on joining), food etc becoming poorer as time goes on with budget cuts. And of course no shore leave whatsoever (arguably this is in breach of MLC). Could be worse, at least I still have a job although for how much longer remains to be seen. Yes there is a vaccine out there but I think you are talking many months (maybe into next year) until everyone has had it. Meanwhile cruise companies are burning through literally billions of pounds. There is only a limited amount of time that this is sustainable for.

                    Anyway to answer the general point of your question, I would not currently recommend a career as a deck officer. If you have other options then I'd seriously consider those at the moment.
                    Well that's depressing. I'm sorry to hear that EH75.

                    The vaccine hope offered by governments going forward in all this is strange though, based on the following. I know that at least the Pfizer one only reduce symptoms, and not transmissibility of COVID. If the other vaccines operate in this form, then to my limited understanding it would seem to be pointless, no? Perhaps I don't understand the logic of how it would help the Cruise Sector recover?

                    But yes, there is only so much money the Cruise Companies can burn through. How the heck are they still able to operate though?

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                    • #11
                      Well if everyone is vaccinated and the vaccine stops the symptoms (but not the transmission) then the virus is largely irrelevant because you are no longer symptomatic even if you have it? I am not sure if they have definitivey said it doesn't stop/reduce transmission either I don't think they have enough data on it. If everyone on board is vaccinated (which I am sure will ultimately be the aim) then it shouldn't be a problem. Like I say though I would imagine it will be well into next year before we are looking at that sort of scenario.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EH75 View Post
                        Well if everyone is vaccinated and the vaccine stops the symptoms (but not the transmission) then the virus is largely irrelevant because you are no longer symptomatic even if you have it? I am not sure if they have definitivey said it doesn't stop/reduce transmission either I don't think they have enough data on it. If everyone on board is vaccinated (which I am sure will ultimately be the aim) then it shouldn't be a problem. Like I say though I would imagine it will be well into next year before we are looking at that sort of scenario.
                        But if it doesn't stop transmission, would that not mean that everyone in all of the ports you intend to visit would also need to be vaccinated before they let you in?
                        Unless companies get started with these "cruise to nowhere" type things

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                        • #13
                          Well there is that. And Cruise Ships are something of a pariah at the moment in relation to the virus after what happened on the Diamond Princess in particular. I would imagine we will be operating on a reduced itinerary for quite some time once things do open up.

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                          • #14
                            Bubblehead if you're just wanting to get to sea have you considered yachts? If you've got civvi dive quals and if you can throw in the ex forces waffle there will be deckhand/dive work out there and at the moment we've all got it pretty good on the whole. Chance of work, good pay, and industry experience for a few years until this all blows over?
                            Superyacht OOW
                            SSTG Cadet 2015-2017
                            Ex Royal Navy Navigator.

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                            • #15
                              Bubblehead if you're just wanting to get to sea have you considered yachts? If you've got civvi dive quals and if you can throw in the ex forces waffle there will be deckhand/dive work out there and at the moment we've all got it pretty good on the whole. Chance of work, good pay, and industry experience for a few years until this all blows over?

                              Ahoy there Snowy. I certainly wouldn't mind being a Yachtie it looks like a very interesting role. Honestly pretty much happy within any Sea going sector though as long as I had the opportunity to make use of various shiny OOW tickets etc. Obviously being ex Services I'm not one for resting on my laurels (I do enjoy the occasional Military style constructive drip from time to time - hey, we're only human) so its certainly worth looking into as long as there is at least a semi reasonable chance of securing a contract. I am happy to pursue any and all areas that I can identify as a gap in the Industry Shipmate.

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