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How hard is it to get employed as a Deckhand?

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  • How hard is it to get employed as a Deckhand?

    Hi there, I recently lost my Cadetship due to a load of personal issues that I won't get into. I have finished Phase 1 albeit a few weeks short.

    Fortunately, I obtained all of my Basic Training for Seafarers certificates: I've done my EDH (Five Day Course), Basic Firefighting, PSSR, Sea Survival, Personal Survival Craft & Rescue Boats. I've also got Tanker Familiarisation and Entry to Enclosed Spaces certificates.

    I still really want to pursue a career at sea, and as far as I am aware the only other way into the Merchant Navy for me now is working as a Deckhand. I know that I need 36 months sea-time and then I can sign up to do an OOW certificate.

    Where do I go from here? Who do I look towards to give me the opportunity of working as a Deckhand with no sea time? I was told that it is very hard for British people to get the chance to work from the ground up these days as Asian/Eastern Europe OS's work for far less money. Will ANY companies consider taking me on a Cadetship again if I explain the situation to them or will that be a pointless exercise?

    I really need some guidance on this one as I am dedicated to working in the Merchant Navy and have vowed I will not let this end it all for me.

    I have the enthusiasm and the will to do this, but who do I go to and how hard will it be to get employed as an Apprentice Deckhand?

  • #2
    Hi, depending on the circumastances you might be able to get a cadetship with someone else, if that is not the case then you could try Foreland shipping (through Bibby Ship Management) or the RFA, as far as I know they are the only companies who train deckhands (don't think you would be able to go straight in as a deckhand, but I might be wrong)

    Good luck.
    Go out, do stuff


    • #3
      Try North Star (Craig Group), some other ERRV companys or maybe some of the government owned ferry companies. Heard there may be some companies in the Arabian Gulf that might hire UK deckhands, but as you said it's mostly folk from the Far East or the former USSR that work from the ground up, not just because they work for less money but they do a far better job working on deck, sometimes there are language problems but they are becoming less as the world becomes more globalised.


      • #4
        To be honest as far as I am aware apart from the RFA and foreland as mentioned by clanky it is quite hard to get a place as a training as a rating on large merchant navy ships.

        However one a few things that might be worth looking into are smaller vessels such as windfarm support boats, tugs, pilot boats, and coastal ferries etc basicly boats rather than ships. While this might not be entirely what your looking for its probably what I would try to in you position.

        Of course it might also be worth looking into restarting you cadetship with another company, but this will depend on smart funding and the reasons you lost your cadetship, it might be worth talking to your collage or your old company about your options if that is still possible?


        • #5
          Originally posted by flyingduck View Post
          it's mostly folk from the Far East or the former USSR that work from the ground up, not just because they work for less money but they do a far better job working on deck
          I have posted the same thing recently somewhere else on the forum, I have sailed with British ratings and to be honest they are not as bad as some people would make them out to be (or possibly as they were 30 years ago). Yes there were a few dreadful ones, but then I have sailed with dreadful Filipinos, dreadful Poles and dreadful Latvians. The British ratings who are left at sea are generally speaking a good bunch and very capable.
          Go out, do stuff


          • #6
            Originally posted by Unregistered View Post

            Fortunately, I obtained all of my Basic Training for Seafarers certificates: I've done my EDH (Five Day Course), Basic Firefighting, PSSR, Sea Survival, Personal Survival Craft & Rescue Boats. I've also got Tanker Familiarisation and Entry to Enclosed Spaces certificates.
            Just FYI, your basic courses will be valid, but to actually get your EDH certificate, you need 6 months sea time. Colleges tend to put people through the EDH course in the first phase so that cadets get a few basic skills and a bit of knowledge under their belt before they go to sea.


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            • #7
              The best place to go would be superyachts, you'll be supported with your training, have a good salary (probably more then a 3/O) and there are plenty of positions as deckhand around.

              The best deckhands and bosuns I have ever sailed with are Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans on large yachts. Far superior seamanship and maintenance skills then any merchant sailors. But then they get paid a reasonable salary. The worst sailors I sailed with were Brits and poles on an ERRV...


              • #8
                I know its a bit OT but it always saddens me to hear people drop out for various reasons, a good friend during my cadetship dropped out at phase 3 (for personal reasons) then several years later realised it was a mistake and was taken on by another company - so to the OP I would suggest if you want to continue at sea put all of your energy into rejoining a cadetship.

                Best of luck.

                Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision


                • #9
                  If you are who i think you are, then your basic courses, tanker fam, and, enclosed spaces, will be valid, but the PSC-RB course and EDH haven't actually been issued to you because you haven't got the sea time.

                  If you try the likes of Foreland shipping or the RFA and explain what happened they might be understanding and take you on as a trainee deck rating, but at the moment the windfarm support areas, etc are growing so you never know you might get lucky, they often only need RYA certificates as well.
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                  No man would go to sea if skilled enough to get himslef into prison, for a jail has more room , more honest company , and you are somewhat less likley to drown ( Dr. Samuel Johnson)


                  • #10
                    EDIT: Thought it would be wise to not carry on publicising the account of what happened, it's always great to see immature replies from lads who were on my course - honestly didn't expect anything less.

                    Thanks for all the informative and helpful comments, any further constructive input would be very welcome.
                    Last edited by Guest; 13 December 2012, 10:30 PM.


                    • #11
                      vroon are taking on trainee deckhands


                      • #12
                        As you seem to have realised it will be difficult to get another crack at a cadetship, but try anyway as well as pursuing the deckhand option.
                        Go out, do stuff


                        • #13
                          What about volunteering?

                          A guy I know someone who worked with these guys and is now a deckhand with an offshore company. Also you could do sailing holiday companys, the pay is low but it's a great lifestyle. There is plenty of ways to get started at sea if you don't expect a good wage in the beginning.

                          The problem is, do you really really want to do this? I know who you are, and I know the reason you lost your sponsorship is because {IN THE OPINION OF THIS POSTER} you where one of the worst cadet's ever to come through the system, if not the worst. Always late, sometimes didn't show up at all (always had excuses, nobody was buying them) didn't listen in class or follow even basic instructions, and whole bunch more I won't go into. Most people are amazed you lasted as long as you did on the course. The point of this is that your actions are not the actions of someone who wants to have a career at sea. Given you have the best family connections to the Merchant Navy you can get, why are you still scrambling about on forums like this trying to find a way in? Why do you have no prior experience, no power boating, no yachting, no sea cadets, nothing to suggest that 2 years ago you had even considered a career at sea, so most likely in two years time, this will all be a distant memory.

                          If you do want a career at sea, then you need to sort yourself out, and turn around your whole attitude 180 degrees. If you can do that, then you might just have a chance. My suggestion is at least get some experience, low paid, un paid if necessary, something to get you good references.

                          Good luck.

                          MOD NOTE: Play nice Kids. I've deleted one post from here because it was deliberately and pointedly nasty. I would like to remind you all that THIS FORUM IS ANONYMOUS, calling out or identifying people will NOT be tolerated. I also would like to also draw everyone's attention to the FORUM GUIDELINES. Play by the rules please. S4


                          • #14
                            Before a moderator thinks about deleting this post please understand that I won't mention names but I think that since I know the original poster (OP), he should hear the truth as he seems to be completely oblivious as to why he got dropped.

                            OP you don't seem to grasp the reasons as to why you were dropped. You burnt all the bridges that you had, if you had tried harder you wouldn't be in the position that you are. You play the victim but you only have yourself to blame, you need to realise this. I too squandered opportunities given to me, but I came to realise that unless I did something about it myself I wouldn't get anywhere in this life. You need to wake up and see this too. You talk the talk but you fail to apply yourself.

                            Missing classes and being late while making poor excuses and playing the victim of ill treatment meant that you annoyed the people that could help you. College staff gave up on you, you weren't willing to help yourself so why should they help you. So when you had your "incident" it meant that they weren't willing to stick their neck out for you. Why should they? In their eyes you would have only thrown away that opportunity too. This is the same with your company and training agency, at the end of the day they aren't sponsoring you for the good of mankind. They are doing it to make money and get someone that wants to work for them. If you don't display these qualities then they don't owe you anything, they'll just get rid of you. Why should they waste their money on you?

                            You really need to have a think about why you are in the position you are, a long hard honest look. You need to see that the only reason why you are where you are is because of what you have done. Unfortunately you've made your bed... you've now got to sleep in it. But all is not lost... trust me I also f**ked things up in the past, But you NEED to understand that YOU alone can help yourself. This world doesn't owe you s**t, no one is going to hand you your ticket on a plate. People can give you opportunities but you need to seize them and use them.

                            I really hope that you understand what I'm getting at and do something about it, although if I'm being honest it's no skin off my nose if you don't. I also hope that the Moderators don't delete this post, I hope you understand why the OP needs to hear this and so may change his ways.


                            • #15
                              The OP knows all too well what he's lost.

                              I had many conversations late at night with him (after me repeatedly telling him not to knock on my door after 10pm) - offering what I see as sound advice- that's one of his major downfalls though; the ability to listen.

                              As a witness to the entire fiasco that was the OP's short lived stint at FNC; I will say one thing - he's determined as hell to achieve his goal. Even after having the boot, he was still going to go up to Aberdeen to try and salvage a career.

                              A complete adjustment in attitude is what's required. Learning to be on time. In all fairness, most of his problems stemmed from not being on time. If you can't do the basics, how can you expect to build yourself any higher? What's frustrating, is I offered the OP my advice on numerous occasions- for instance- I used to struggle getting up of a morning; until I got my self into a rhythm of sleeping- bed at 10, up at 7. NO STAYING UP TIL' 4 AM. On one of the occasions he was late, he told me he'd gone to bed at ten the night before....hand on heart- yet he'd been on Facebook at 3AM! Don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining!

                              Before we left for the VISA trip, literally ten minutes before the coach left (which he was also late for!) I said to him 3 times - "DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!"

                              He's a man with a plan though; and everyone loves a man with a plan.

                              If you do manage to scrape your way into the offshore industry; I wish you all the luck in the world mate.

                              Somewhere out there; there's a millionaires son, who's punctual, hard working, and attentive- born into the wrong body!


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