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  • First contract as an officer

    Hey all!

    I must be getting slightly excited as I believe I have doubled my total number of posts in the last few days... I'm starting my first contract as a qualified officer on Monday. I'm lucky to be returning to a vessel I spent six months on, however that was 15 months ago now. I can barely remember what the pointy end is called! OK, it's not that bad but I can honestly say that between boughts of hyperactive excitement, I find myself frozen with fear. How were your first contracts? I have only heard horror stories from friends. I think I need some new friends who don't enjoy scaring me! Any advice? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Tanker Girl View Post
    Hey all!

    I must be getting slightly excited as I believe I have doubled my total number of posts in the last few days... I'm starting my first contract as a qualified officer on Monday. I'm lucky to be returning to a vessel I spent six months on, however that was 15 months ago now. I can barely remember what the pointy end is called! OK, it's not that bad but I can honestly say that between boughts of hyperactive excitement, I find myself frozen with fear. How were your first contracts? I have only heard horror stories from friends. I think I need some new friends who don't enjoy scaring me! Any advice? Thanks in advance.
    Never hesitate to ask for help if you don't know something or call the master!
    ?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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    • #3
      Erm, thanks... I guess I was looking for something that didn't sound like an oral exam answer. I'm joking. Thank you, I have every intention of continuing to ask questions, ask for help, etc. As I believe is customary at the end of every oral exam, I was told, "the real learning starts now." It sucks that the C/O and 2/O (who I familiarised with the vessel when he was 3rd and I was cadet) I know well are both on leave when I return but what better way to get to know new people than to say "Where's the switch for the mooring winches again?" "Remind me where all the drain valves on the cargo lines are please" "oh and please tell me we're not still weighing the CO2 extinguishers by standing on bathroom scales with them? I don't need to know the damage the lack of functioning gym equipment is having until I sign off!" Were you nervous when you started your first contract? Was it a positive experience or do you have a horror story to share?

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      • #4
        Everyone is nervous first time! If they are doing it right someone should be with you for the first couple of watches - or at least around. You'll presumably have a few days handover with the outgoing officer too.

        I was unlucky, I joined to replace someone who abruptly left... My first ever watch was sailing out of Istanbul and through the Sea of Marmara, I had the staff captain with me for an hour then he disappeared leaving me too it - I spent the entire watch sitting on the right of the traffic lane praying all the ships overtaking me at 2-3 cables weren't going to hit me!

        Within a few days I settled in to it though.
        ?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.

        Comment


        • #5
          If you remember a short while ago a person sat opposite you and after quizzing you for some time he decided you were competent to do this job. You did not have to pay him to do it, you got that ticket on merit. Don't forget that.

          You also sound as if you have a job with the company you trained with. They made a choice to keep you on and so therefore think you are competent as well. Don't forget that either!

          You are bound to have nerves, but you need to have a bit of confidence in yourself. If the Old Man thinks you are like a rabbit caught in the headlights he will be on the bridge 5 times an hour and make you even worse.

          Just reassure people that you are not clever enough to shout for help, never cover up your mistakes and be honest and tell them you are a first tripper newly qualified officer. Unless they are completely heartless they will be understanding but will not be sympathetic if you pull the "poor me" stunt.

          Walk tall and treat that first trip cadet carefully - he is even more nervous than you and will make ten times more mistakes than you!

          Enjoy yourself.... and congrats on getting your ticket.

          Ian
          "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
          "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

          "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
            treat that first trip cadet carefully - he is even more nervous than you and will make ten times more mistakes than you!

            Ian
            I can't wait to get a cadet! I think I'm going to be a terrible mollycoddler and I've packed my workbook and other useful notes to help them I've had some amazing teachers and it will be wonderful to be in the position to be able to help to train someone in the position I have not long left. Also, a 2nd pair of hands is pretty useful with certain maintenace jobs!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tanker Girl View Post
              .... Also, a 2nd pair of hands is pretty useful with certain maintenace jobs!
              You mean by that "give the cadet all the ****ty jobs like greasing the wires and the davits whilst you check the medical packs in the comfort of the accommodation" don't you?

              LOL

              Ian
              "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
              "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

              "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
                You mean by that "give the cadet all the ****ty jobs like greasing the wires and the davits whilst you check the medical packs in the comfort of the accommodation" don't you?

                LOL

                Ian
                Nope! I was treated very well as a cadet and intend to pass on the favour. What's wrong with greasing wires anyway? My job order for the day after my birthday was to grease some wires and the cranes and winches. I was given this on my birthday and looked at it in confusion before saying "where's the rest of it?" The reply from the C/O was, "it's your birthday, we're having a bbq and you should feel like sh*t tomorrow. Your morning watch is cancelled and we all know how much you enjoy being out in the sun. Enjoy." I also think that "call the cadet" was written on the charts more often than "call the master" on my second ship. Every time there was a chance for an unusual learning experience I was called to the bridge. I genuinely intend to look after the cadets... and then get them to band firehoses for me, I hate that job!

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                • #9
                  Lucky you! I'm seriously hoping for trips like that. Who was your sponsor or presumably current employer?

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                  • #10
                    Euroceanica. Sponser and now employer. They've been really fantastic! I had a great time as a cadet (in between very rare sh*t times but I'm pretty sure everyone must have bad spells at sea). I was mocked on my first contract for being too eager to know everything immediately but they were very hands on with my training. I stuggle to think of any aspect of the job that I haven't had ample experience in. Including cargo planning and tank cleaning, much to the irritation of the 2/O who was waiting for promotion to C/O and could do with the experience. I'm sure your trips will be like that. I've heard far more positive experiences than negative ones. You just have to be hard working, keen, friendly and respect the pecking order, simple. Who's your sponsor?

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                    • #11
                      HW has been consumed by "The Borg"!
                      "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
                      "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                      "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Subject to contract signing, which apparently should be on its way soon

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tanker Girl View Post
                          I was mocked on my first contract for being too eager to know everything immediately but they were very hands on with my training.
                          This will definitely be me...

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                          • #14
                            Ooh good luck! I went back to a ship I?d spent six months on as a cadet when I got my ticket, in some ways it was great cause she really did feel like home and I was so chuffed they wanted me back, but I was so nervous! Went well and I spent two years as a mate without breaking too much before I transferred... always nerve wracking travelling onboard but as soon as you?re up the gangway everything falls into place! The only downside of going to a ship you were a cadet on is when the crew sometimes forget you?re no longer a cadet or can remember the stupid mistakes (sometimes drunken) you?ve made in the past... but then if you?ve a good crew it doesn?t matter... again nothing wrong with asking for help, my golden role is always ?if in doubt call the Captain?and good Captains will always prefer the phone call too many to the one phone call too little! Exciting! Hope it goes well and well done on getting your ticket and a job!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HarmlessWeasel View Post
                              This will definitely be me...
                              Nah, you'll just be mocked in general....
                              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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