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How to get a job with a UK Ferry company.

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  • How to get a job with a UK Ferry company.

    Hello all.

    I will be qualifying later this year as an OOW and would like to ask you guys a few questions.

    I have decided that the route I would prefer to take on qualifying, at least initially, is that of a junior officer on board ferries working around the UK. Now I know not to be too picky, but I have heard a few things and read some comments on this site that they are always hiring, but not many people seem to be interested in the sector and it's hard to know where to start.

    The Sector suits me to the ground knowing what I think to be true, Two weeks on two weeks off and a reduction in salary is fine by me as long as I can earn enough to live in London on my time off, and have a fairly busy time on board working in a high density traffic area like the channel as I'm done with the whole world stuff already.

    So my question, or request, is simply can any body provide information, sites or a list of companies which I can look into to which may be hiring next year?

    I am pretty much dead set on this idea and have even taken up French in the hopes to bolster my chances.

    Thank you for your time.


  • #2
    I'm a cadet with calmac weregularly have agency 3rd officers aboard through clyde marine. Not quite the channel but not that far


    • #3
      Thanks for the speedy reply, that's good to hear, though being from the south coast I'd prefer my work be North sea/


      • #4
        Apply to all of them (Stena, Condor.... google it!) Although, I fear that the good ferry jobs are quite hard to come by, I did a 6 week trip on a Stena Ferry during my cadetship going Holyhead-Dublin and all but one of the officers on board had their masters ticket. It was a great job, 2 weeks on 2 weeks off and 4 weeks holiday/year, and they knew they were onto a good thing.

        One of my coursemates got a job with Condor doing the x channel ferry, he got at home every night! But the seatime you accululate is tiny and no good for advancing to higher tickets


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        • #5
          Got a friend with P&O, again seem to be recruiting a lot or through Clyde Marine, seem to have a fairly tough interview process right enough, but that can only be a good thing surely!


          • #6
            Thank you all positive! I've been googling and found the main ones! As of right now I'm looking to just relax and take a steady, decent wage and am not fussed about advancement.

            I had a very tough time deep sea which nearly resulted in me leaving due to the mental fatigue of it all and massive problems at home. I love navigation, collision avoidance and the nitty gritty side of it all, I just don't enjoy the solitude at all. I want to own a dog next year (Leave at my parents while away) so this is the only way to go!


            • #7
              What I would say is once you qualify is be carefully about being massively fussy. By all means apply to ferry companies first but if you have no luck there then apply everywhere else and then once you've got a couple of stamps in your book then try the ferry companies again, you will be a lot more employable at that point. Other things to consider which are near coastal are things like offshore, wind farm boats, tugs etc which all have decent leave rotations. Even cruise ships where obviously you are away for a lot longer but with thousands of people on board there hopefully shouldn't be as much isolation!

              Obviously all up to yourself and if you are completely dead set on ferries and have no intention of doing anything else then that is fair enough but just something to bear in mind.


              • #8
                Offshore would be great just a months a bit to long, but not unbearable as I managed 10 last year...just.

                Everything you have mentioned has crossed my mind and would be great. I will look into the wind farm boats as that sound interesting and a friend suggested that before. I simply want to make use of my ticket and have a land life for a while after living out of a suitcase for three years!


                • #9
                  10 months in a row? Jesus! I'm not surprised you don't want to go back deep sea. I did 8 straight and that was enough for me. I swore I would never go back deep sea cargo again. Starting working on cruise ships shortly though so although I'll be away for a while, it'll be completely different from being on a box boat full of guys who can barely speak English!

                  I reckon a month on/off is probably just about right actually. Not too much time on board that you are getting too isolated from what is happening at home, but not too much leave in one go that you get bored of it. But I've never been lucky enough to do this rotation so I'm just guessing. Gotta remember as well though that most of the offshore boats have internet access etc so communication with home is much easier. Plus the money is good. Don't fancy the North Sea in winter right enough. Swings and roundabouts!


                  • #10
                    It was 5 and 5 to be more precise, felt non-stop though and the short time in between wasn't exactly a holiday. It was my fault really, too much happened at the same time which culminated and like yourself ensured I'd never go deep sea again. Without sounding to negative my company runs its ships like Orwell's 1984, even down to the blue jumpsuits, and even in good spirits it grinds you down quickly. I'm sure you've all experienced the cons of the profession at some point.

                    Yeah month on/off seems okay. Just rather have some nice French people to talk to, but the money would be better I'm sure.


                    • #11
                      Hi Sammy

                      Fully understand how you feel, I would suggest that it is pretty hard to get a ferry job on an OOW ticket (although not impossible) but also bear in mind the seatime aspect for future tickets as a lot more doors open when you get your chief mates and masters tickets.

                      If you need a break it may be worth looking into some relief agency work such as offshore etc but you may need to get the magic qualified trip in your discharge book.
                      Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision


                      • #12
                        Having worked the Dover-Calais and Liverpool-Dublin ferries for my entire cadetship so far, I can tell you that our junior officers did not have senior tickets (not true for engineers though, 3EO mostly had CEO tickets). I only knew of the opposite with one crew member who swapped between c/officer and 2/officer when there was no one else to do the job.

                        Some were from agencies and some were employed directly by the company, most were very young (hazard a guess at average age 23-25) and obviously not vastly experienced.

                        Cross channel with my company is 1 week on 1 week off with 3 weeks (I think) holiday per year. Liv-Dub was 2 on 2 off with 4 weeks holiday.


                        • #13
                          I'd feel doing 1 week on 1 week off would never any serious time off. 2/2 seems better but not ideal.