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  • Hello from a aspiring Deckie

    Hello everyone!

    I decided last year that I wanted to become a Deck officer within the MN, so to gain some valuable sea experience I got myself an on board position with Cunard Line. I have professional qualifications as a chef and was able to easily get a galley job which definitely was an eye opener.

    Obviously being a chef I had little to no interaction with seniour officers, as they didn't mix with the crew at all, but I was extremely lucky to be able to tag along with a group of the dancers ( one was seeing our former DC) when they went for a bridge visit. The Captain was slightly baffled about my presence but was still friendly enough and made the obligatory joke about women and kettles!

    Needless to say, when I spoke to some company reps at the Warsash open day last week they were extremely positive about my experience. Unfortunately I need to retake my maths GCSE to go from C to B.

    In the meantime, I was told by a gentleman who interviews for one company that he would expect a fuller and more in depth knowledge of the MN from me due to my time at sea. Other than having a thorough read through of the SOLAS manual and generally finding out about different types of vessel, could anyone recommend any books or websites?

    Thanks in advance and hello!
    Last edited by Randomist; 4 July 2012, 03:59 PM. Reason: removed company name

  • #2
    Hi There!

    Welcome to the forum

    You've certainly had lots of experience through an unusual route.

    Reading SOLAS was a good start but you may find that some of the stuff in there doesn't make much sense without some prior knowledge. Dunno how much you've been able to attain over your time however, your experience of onboard life is invaluable and will give you an advantage over those who have never been to sea before.

    In any case, documents like SOLAS, IMDG, LSA, ISPS, ISM are all just a bunch of regulations that can tell you what has to be done but may not enhance your knowledge of ship operations as some other publications. There are lots of good books out there, to name a few:

    Seamanship Techniques

    Seamanship Examiner OOW

    Seamanship Notes - I have noted some errors in this book, it's always good to cross check some of the important things.

    A Guide to the Collision Avoidance rules - Very good for learning COLREGS

    Mariners Handbook - All round good egg of a book.

    There are literally loads more that I'm sure people can point you in the direction of but these may help you start.

    Hope all goes well

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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Randomist View Post
      Reading SOLAS was a good start but you may find that some of the stuff in there doesn't make much sense without some prior knowledge.
      I would hope the SOLAS [training] manual is a wholly accessable read, understandable by any member of the crew!

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      • #4
        Edit
        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
          What have you been smoking?
          This guy called 'Unregistered' on the Anonymous forum was handing round an interesting smelling cigarette and I thought "what harm could it do?"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Steve View Post
            I would hope the SOLAS [training] manual is a wholly accessable read, understandable by any member of the crew!
            Well yeah, I took it to mean the IMO publication. Unless I misunderstood

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

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Randomist View Post
              Well yeah, I took it to mean the IMO publication. Unless I misunderstood
              I would assume it is the SOLAS Training Manual - since the idea of any of the hotel staff asking to see SOLAS would probably result in deck guys dying from shock that someone outside the deck/engine team knows what it is!

              But yer, I would suggest you just get a general overview of the industry and what is involved with the department you are interested in; e.g.: Deck guys don't just sit around drinking tea - we do occasionally do other stuff - despite the onboard rumours.

              You already know about ship life, since you've been onboard... so no point going into that
              ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

              ? Mark Twain
              myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by alistairuk View Post
                I would assume it is the SOLAS Training Manual - since the idea of any of the hotel staff asking to see SOLAS would probably result in deck guys dying from shock that someone outside the deck/engine team knows what it is!
                Makes sense

                DUH! lol

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

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                • #9
                  The interviewer must have been an idiot. How can he expect a chef to have a full and in depth knowledge of the MN. The whole point of going to nautical college is to learn that. Interviews should just be to gauge whether someone is a tool or not. Judging by the amount of tools I met at college they ain't very good at it.If you start getting fired into SOLAS just now it will just fry your brain.Keep it simple and use Wikipedia. Got some nice background info about the MN. Should be more than enough to pass a MN interview. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_ship

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                  • #10
                    Hi guys,

                    Thanks for the responses.

                    Sorry, to clear that up I was referring to the SOLAS training manual which I had few flicks through whilst onboard as they had a few copies in the library and crew mess. This mostly when we were having full crew boat drills and before our lovely US Coastguard drill this year, which was good timing because I got quizzed on a few things by our safety officer. Clearly being only one of four female chefs onboard made me stick out a little bit!

                    I did enjoy being on a cruise ship because the lifestyle is pretty good , although I don't necessarily want to have my cadetship on one. I am leaning towards companies with more varied fleets as I would like to have as much experience on different vessels as possible although obviously I just want to get started so I am applying for as many companies as I can, including a few cruise lines.

                    Yeah, it was like trying to get blood from a stone getting on the bridge so the deck officers probably would have keeled over if I'd asked them anything like that. Luckily, I was able to see the 'virtual bridge tour' which was a presentation for the guests that was filmed for one of the onboard TV channels, which was fascinating and certainly very impressive. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the best source of info as the only time I was able to go into the Officers Wardroom (with prior permission granted because it was my birthday and a staff escort) there were only the medical officers and shopies so it was a slightly waster opportunity. Except that I was served 10 times faster and there were free crisps and nuts!

                    I think I will slowly try and build up a good picture of the MN and the scale of the various operations in general and then if I get interviews be more company specific. When I spoke to the Captain, who'd come in whilst on leave from Maersk ,I mentioned about the Triple- E Class which apparently he may be working on in a year or so, and got a good reaction there.

                    Thanks again for the replies, I've had a look at some of the links and they seem very useful

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