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  • What are crews like?

    I hope this question does offend anyone, it's certainly not meant to.

    OK - My question is what are the crews on cargo ships usually like? I guess it's a bit of a general question but I am trying to get an idea of what the other crew members are like. I have this idea that some are real tough blokes, who hit the pubs big time when on land, ending in fights etc. Or is this just what it used to be like? I'm basing this more of pictures I have seen of some crew who look decidedly dodgy!
    I would find these types hard to get on with I think. I am not a big drinker at all and don't like too much laddish culture. I was a civil engineer for a few years and there were quite a few people like this on construction sites that I just didn't get on with at all. I'm not saying I don't like to have fun and all that. I just want to have an idea of the types I might end up with for months on end.

  • #2
    Re: What are crews like?

    Try something like the TV series called Mighty Ships. Sometimes on Quest, Sky channel 154. Then you'll get to see what crews are like a bit, at least when a camera is on them..

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    • #3
      Re: What are crews like?

      Yeah, don't believe the above sorry. When camera's are about then the crew will be on best behaviour.

      In all honesty it is like a normal workplace. Some will be a pain in the arse, some won't. Nothing you can do about it but try to get along. I wouldn't let anything like that put you off.

      One other thing, some folks do drink a lot on shore leave, but I tended to go out and have a look about the place I'm in as I may never go back.
      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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      • #4
        Re: What are crews like?

        Originally posted by GuinnessMan
        One other thing, some folks do drink a lot on shore leave, but I tended to go out and have a look about the place I'm in as I may never go back.
        So there isn't peer pressure to go out with everyone and get smashed all the time? I guess I'm just scared that I might not fit in if it's too much like this. I don't exactly hand around with rowdy people in my spare time.

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        • #5
          Re: What are crews like?

          This question probably comes up the most,
          The Crew of a ship is entirely dependent on the ship. It's impossible to say what the crew will be like before you get to the ship. I've sailed on a number of ships and it's been a different experience each time.
          I'm sorry I can't narrow down the experience for you but it's difficult to say, like any work environment.

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

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          • #6
            Re: What are crews like?

            Thats what I was trying to say. I reckon your first ship will make or break you. If you get a good group of folks then your hooked, if you get a bunch of arseholes then it will just get you down and go "feck it".

            At the end of the day, you're not going to know until you get there, so worrying about it is rather pointless.
            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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            • #7
              Re: What are crews like?

              I would say the nationalities play a part, as well as the culture of the organisation, and the personalities of senior officers, and of course, ages/life stages, as on land.

              My ship (and all in the organisation) are mainly crewed by Filipinos, Croats, Indians, and a few native anglophones (Brits, Aussies, and if you count American as English, there's one of them on the roster too, to my surprise... and few miscellanous an Egyptian, an Omani, a Dane and a Belgian.).

              They all have their different ethnocultural "styles" if you like, but all are very friendly and helpful, and enjoy a civilised chat about anything.

              My sense is that Croats are generally very chilled out regardless of rank, and very knowledgeable and skilled. Indians a bit more stiff and conscious of the hierarchy.
              I could suggest that "they" seem to think that we Brits seem to love the paperwork and corporate bull****, but seem quite knowledgable in practical matters. A Croat I chatted to today talked about his experiences of different nationality crews, and he found the Brits to be a bit antisocial - skulking off to their rooms every night.
              He also mentioned about an Indian chief who became unpopular quite rapidly because he rarely donned overalls, and just sat about in the ECR, bombarding people with questions during their smokos and lunchbreak. I think you need to be pretty adaptable and gregarious to be able to keep it going.

              All this stuff about beery fighting, is probably a stereotype based on British seafarers in the past; maybe Russians suffer from a similar stereotype?
              A lot of ships are reportedly dry, and a lot of heavy drinkers have reportedly "left the industry"... The heavy boozing seems to more prevalent at the colleges... but then, isn't it so at every uni/college type place with lots of young people?!

              Don't judge people by their photo... my Chief Mate's photo made him look like a proper mafioso, but he's an extremely chummy guy, doesn't drink, family man, likes to keep in shape, and we are a similar age and chat and joke a lot.

              Don't have nightmares of lashed to the yardarm and being raped by a gang of rum-swigging hells angels; thats for the movies (or so i'm told).
              Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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              • #8
                Re: What are crews like?

                I think you'll be fine. There aren't many 'rough tough' guys on the ships really, generally people onboard ships are easygoing and make an effort to get on with one another. Officers are generally well educated professional people (the good ones with a work hard, play hard attitude), and the crew is very dependant on nationality. But even with brit crews they tend to be pretty decent.

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                • #9
                  Re: What are crews like?

                  I think my worrying comes a bit from the fact that I am a bit older than tradition cadet age and I have sort of settled down a bit these days. That's not to say that I live a boring life, far from it. It's just that I don't tend to spend my free time boozing all weekend and getting rowdy. Of course having a few drinks with shipmates would be a good laugh but if it's expected when on shore leave to go out and chug 10 beers then off to cause some trouble then it's not for me.

                  I think I would really enjoy the "job" part of the MN, it's just the social/lifestyle side I am trying to get my head around. It's such a shame there is no way to have a taste of it before signing up.

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                  • #10
                    Re: What are crews like?

                    Most cadets are "older than the traditional cadet" these days... traditional cadets were 16-18 (so I hear), most at college that i've encountered are in the 20-25 age range (though, mental age can vary), and I have heard of (as of yesterday) a 50-something lady deck cadet (certainly there are 40-something deck cadets and 30-something engine cadets.).
                    AncientMariner's comments tally with my limited experience so far.
                    Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                    • #11
                      Re: What are crews like?

                      Does that mean I'm above average?

                      In my experience, even the ones who look like they could take on Mike Tyson are actually lovely, and most guys, while they like a drink, still remember they have to get up in the morning and put in a days work.

                      Size4riggerboots

                      Moderator
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                      • #12
                        Re: What are crews like?

                        Well said size4riggerboots, the big test for anyone is that they can come out and have a drink without causing trouble, and still get up on time for watch/duty.
                        Nameless, I very much doub't you'll come across the people your talking about. You need to be a social and affable person on the boats, and occasionally get along with people you don't really like, because thats part of being professional. Most MN Officers are professionals, its the cadets that are the wild ones!

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                        • #13
                          Re: What are crews like?

                          Originally posted by Nameless
                          I hope this question does offend anyone,
                          Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                          • #14
                            Re: What are crews like?

                            Originally posted by dawg
                            Originally posted by Nameless
                            I hope this question does offend anyone,
                            n't.........

                            It sounds like I am getting worried about something that isn't really a big deal then. Would you lot who have already been to sea say that it's generally a fun/happy atmosphere on board most of the time? Obviously it's hard and stressful at time.

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                            • #15
                              Re: What are crews like?

                              Generally, yes, it's good, although it will depend on what you make of it and who you get lumped in with, no matter how much you try, there will be people you can't stand.

                              Size4riggerboots

                              Moderator
                              Blog tWitterings Flickr Tumblr Faceache

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