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  • Uniform? Is there any point anymore?

    Hello,

    I am a registered member on the forum but I didn't want to seem like a donut if I got negative comments.

    Merchant Navy uniforms, what is the point?

    I am a person that is proud and I would certainly wear my uniform with pride and would be extremely happy to tell anyone what I do if they asked me what I do and I would recommend the career path to anyone.

    However, trawling the internet people don't seem to bother wearing their uniforms to things like private functions, weddings, public functions etc...Why? Are people embarrassed? I know we are not the military, but we too sacrifice our time at home to serve others (Bringing goods from point A to point B etc), we too risk our lives, look at piracy situations etc...

    What is YOUR view on wearing uniforms not only on ships but on land?

  • #2
    This is a job, and our job starts when we sign on to a ship, and ends when we sign off. That's where uniform belongs, on ship.

    Unfortunately, the use of the word "navy" seems to give people strange ideas. In most other countries, merchant shipping is known as the "merchant marine".

    We move things from A to B. So do people who work for Royal Mail. And airline pilots. You'll never see an airline pilot wearing his uniform to a wedding.

    Yes, it can be a dangerous job, but fisherman have an even more dangerous job and they don't wear uniform.

    Yes, there's a piracy risk, but that doesn't make us military.

    And you'll find that your salary, particularly given the tax free elements, is designed to compensate for the time you spend away from home.
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    Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

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    • #3
      CharlieDelta summed it up straight away - your job ends when you leave the ship.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bobofinga View Post
        CharlieDelta summed it up straight away - your job ends when you leave the ship.
        Actually, your job ends once you're back in your house. Just because you've signed off the ship doesn't mean you can begin to act like a drunken tw*t.

        I personally never really wore the uniform on ship (no requirement to) and would be extremely unlikely to ever wear it ashore.
        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
          Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
          Actually, your job ends once you're back in your house. Just because you've signed off the ship doesn't mean you can begin to act like a drunken tw*t.
          Disagree with you entirely , when I sign off a ship my job has ended. I'll act like a drunken 'tw*t' if I please.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bobofinga View Post
            Disagree with you entirely , when I sign off a ship my job has ended. I'll act like a drunken 'tw*t' if I please.
            Disagree with me if you like, it's the way things are. We sacked a chappy not that long ago for drunkenly trying to punch a copper whilst he was waiting for his flight shortly after signing off and I know he was not the first and probably not the last.

            Remember, you are still a representative for your company until the minute you are off the last flight and out the airport.
            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


            • #7
              most cadets on this forum have signed a drug and alcohol policy, which means not just when they sign off or sign on a ship they can't get drunk, but the same applies when they are at college. This is ignored by most; stupidly. My company recently sacked two cadets for having alcohol in their urine at the time of a test.

              In terms of acting like a tit, you don't have to be drunk to get fired. There are cadets at colleges fired for silly things such as surfing down stairs, leaving faeces where it
              shouldn't be, and the occasional putting a duck in a microwave.

              Just don't do anything silly.


              In terms of uniform, I don't agree with it on ships. This is not the military. It is taken a bit too seriously at colleges as well. Until we get rid of these traditionalists it is here
              to stay.

              Comment


              • #8
                Reply

                Thank you all for your replies but my next question is...who represents the Merchant Navy/Marine?

                Back to my first question, Is there any point? I have seen on other ships officers wearing their uniforms etc, I even read a thread on here that required ALL crew/officers to wear uniform in the mess.

                I personally just think it is such a shame that so very few people wear their uniform with pride. I know we are not military, but even still....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                  We sacked a chappy not that long ago for drunkenly trying to punch a copper .
                  There is a MASSIVE difference from being drunk and having a bit of banter to assaulting an officer of the law...

                  As for Uniform , in most cases (including my company) we never have been issued a uniform or expected to wear one whilst on a ship or off a ship.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bobofinga View Post
                    There is a MASSIVE difference from being drunk and having a bit of banter to assaulting an officer of the law...
                    Yes, but if you're drunk and annoy/piss off the agents or airline and a complaint is made then something will be done about it as you are still, technically, the company's responsibility until you are back in your home country.

                    Putting ducks in microwaves!? Living ducks?
                    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


                    • #11
                      I agree with the OP. We should remember that the Merchant Navy uniform isn't just the 'corporate image' that the passenger companies would have you believe but a regulated uniform defined and protected by law. That's the difference between ours and a Royal Mail uniform.

                      Yet again, other countries do refer to their Merchant Marines as Merchant Marines, but commonwealth Merchant Navies is a Merchant Navies. The fact that a man with a very shiny hat said so is good enough for me.

                      Have some pride in the work we do, and for the traditions.

                      On a practical viewpoint, though, how many occasions are there where it would be appropriate to wear uniform ashore. Rememberance Day? That's about all I can think of.
                      Last edited by geordie dancer; 4 July 2013, 09:34 AM. Reason: Bad spelling

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by geordie dancer View Post
                        I agree with the OP. We should remember that the Merchant Navy uniform isn't just the 'corporate image' that the passenger companies would have you believe but a regulated uniform defined and protected by law.
                        The MSA 1995 does make it an offence to wear the uniform when "not entitled", or to wear it, or to wear only parts of it etc etc. However, I can't find any legal definition of what the uniform actually consists of. So the enforceability is questionable since uniform standards and rank insignia are entirely under the control of shipping companies. If my company decided that we were going to wear pink furry onesies, then you can't argue it's not a form of merchant navy uniform.

                        Originally posted by geordie dancer View Post
                        Have some pride in the work we do, and for the traditions.
                        If a uniform is required to feel pride in your work, then something is terribly wrong. I respect traditions, but it's been 30 years since the last major conflict where merchant ships were taken up from trade. The current state of the UK flag would not allow a drafting on such a scale.

                        I proudly represent my college at Remembrance Parades, and I am thankful for the sacrifices of merchant seamen before me. But we're in a different age. I don't need a uniform to remember.
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                        Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

                        Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CharlieDelta View Post
                          The MSA 1995 does make it an offence to wear the uniform when "not entitled", or to wear it, or to wear only parts of it etc etc. However, I can't find any legal definition of what the uniform actually consists of. So the enforceability is questionable since uniform standards and rank insignia are entirely under the control of shipping companies. If my company decided that we were going to wear pink furry onesies, then you can't argue it's not a form of merchant navy uniform.
                          See the (now in part outdated) Mercantile Marine (Uniform) Order 1921.

                          Originally posted by CharlieDelta
                          If a uniform is required to feel pride in your work, then something is terribly wrong. I respect traditions, but it's been 30 years since the last major conflict where merchant ships were taken up from trade. The current state of the UK flag would not allow a drafting on such a scale.

                          I proudly represent my college at Remembrance Parades, and I am thankful for the sacrifices of merchant seamen before me. But we're in a different age. I don't need a uniform to remember.
                          No, a uniform is not required for me to feel pride in my work. But wearing the uniform, on appropriate occasions, is a way to reflect pride in your work.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by geordie dancer View Post
                            See the (now in part outdated) Mercantile Marine (Uniform) Order 1921.
                            I can't locate this on Westlaw or legislation.gov.uk, which would lead me to believe it's no longer in force. Either way, at the end of the day, when was the last prosecution under the MSA relating to uniform? And without a definition of what the uniform is made up of, what's to stop a UK flagged shipping company from making, as I said before, pink furry onesies their uniform? Without a definition, how can you say someone is wearing a uniform to which he's not entitled? Without defining the rank insignia, how can you say that a cadet isn't allowed to wear four stripes? And with so many seafarers working under non-British flags, how can you enforce any of this when one country's traditions conflict with another?

                            There's a time and a place for uniform. I have no issues with wearing uniform at events where you are representing the industry, your college or your company ashore, but any more than that is just asking for attention. The very idea of "uniform" goes out the window when you look at the differences between different companies' uniforms. Even amongst the Carnival group, a third officer with P&O has an unadorned stripe on his shoulder when wearing a uniform jacket. With Cunard, it's a stripe and a half with a tucked diamond on the sleeve. With Holland America, it's a stripe with an "executive loop". With others it's a stripe with a central diamond. Four people who, if you put them together, look entirely different despite holding the same position.

                            And, at the end of the day, you go for your orals in a suit.

                            (And just a note, I fully respect others' rights to differ in opinion, I just like a debate!)
                            sigpic
                            Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

                            Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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                            • #15
                              I'm happy to escape from my uniform after a days work, but I sure do prefer having a company provided uniform then having to consider what to wear on a daily basis. I like the professionalism of a uniform whether that's a company branded boiler suit that everyone wears or the full ranked MN uniforms. I can certainly see the reason for uniform in particular ship types and also can see the reason for a bridge team to wear uniform on arrival into port, but can also see the reason to ignore it onboard other ship types.

                              At this point, I am compelled to admit that I did personally marry in my uniform due to my wifes demands and wishes, I can't understand why should want me to wear the same clothes I have to wear everyday at work, but it made her happy and that is reason enough for me.

                              I have about 12 different uniforms in my work closet at the moment and in my current role have to wear my uniform off the ship and it does bring a large amount of respect, but that is for a slightly different and more complex reason, partly due to my location.

                              In certain countries uniform is quite important and the Captain at the very least would be expected to greet the officials in uniform.

                              Uniform still has a part, albeit small, for seafarers the world over.

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