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  • Sailing With Cadets....

    I?m sure there is someone on here who could help me out with this!

    The company have finally thrown a few trainees in my direction... hurrah!

    I haven?t had cadets for a very long time and even then it was a dry dock trip so finding stuff for them to do was easy. I feel like they?re partly my responsibility, even though it?s technically the Chief Mate?s job partly because he?s been super busy and only gives them dogsbody jobs when he actually remembers they?re onboard, more or less dumping them on me and partly because I?m probably the only British mate they?ll meet during their sea phase, so here?s the thing...

    So far I?ve been shoving them out in all directions.. a little bit on deck, a little bit of bridge work and a little bit of running around when and as required, trying my best to throw them into drills when possible too, which isn?t always easy. How do other people manage their cadets? training? Is it very structured or is it more just to go with the flow? Being on DP so much doesn?t help either as we don?t have so much steaming time.

    What?s other peoples thoughts on shipboard training, I don?t want to hold their hands too much or turn the ship into a school ship but at the same time am very conscious that I am the only British person they?re likely to sail with and can probably put things into better context/ explain things a bit better and hopefully put a positive spin on their cadet time. They all seem to be getting on okay, very friendly and enthusiastic, but sometimes I feel they should have more input from the Senior Officers not just myself.

    Anyway it would be nice to hear some different points of view on how cadets are trained onboard. I?m sure there?s a few cadets who have something to contribute too? What do you all think? I?m just thinking out loud here.

    Cheers, L.

  • #2
    Hi Laura

    I used to write a few exercises in their Nav workbook every couple of days (start them early with this) and get them to do this if I was busy, and build it up from basic sailing calcs to RV's and celestial, clocks etc (especially important if you are just holding DP frequently and not worldwide sailing).

    Rules - 1 a week

    Stability - start with understanding tank plans and tracing lines and build them up to basic stuff like GM, KG's etc,

    Deck work - 1st trip a couple of knots a week, and safety on deck, then introduce bits from the cargo securing manual, safe loads etc

    Business and Law - I used to get them to talk to me about a different certificate in the file each week

    On the large ships I was on I got them to spend a day in each area of the ship (including garbage handling etc) and schedule the engineering time

    By the time they do all the above it normally keeps them out of trouble - what I hated to see was them on the bridge just putting a position on every hour but I did have to put aside a bit of my own time each day for all of this.


    Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision


    • #3
      Training cadets is so dependant on the individual cadet. If you have a cadet that is keen and self motivated, that makes you life much easier, but its the ones that you need to push that are the hardest because you have to decide how much effort to put into them. All of the advice that Pilot Chris gave is excellent and really gives you a good structure, that is certainly how I was taught as a cadet on the good ships.
      I've only trained a few cadets sadly, because I do enjoy the training side (although could never ever be a lecturer.... urgh), however at the moment I'm spending my time training and mentoring junior OOW's and trying to assist them in building their confidence and skills base, now that's tough. Also have four rating to officer trainees coming up, but have to pitch the process quite differently for them.

      It's good to talk through processes with trainees, explain how you do something and why you do it the way you do, and then perhaps let them have an opportunity to try the same next time. Also allow people to make there own mistakes (where its safe to do so) and then get them to talk through what they think they did right and wrong afterwards rather then constantly prompting them as that doesn't help them learn.


      • #4
        I normally go with the flow, see what the 2/e is planning or doing, get them into routines, like doing the daily log and counters, have one down for each stand-by, one around for each bunkering / sludge operation.

        Try and get them to do reports though some of the ones in the TRB are at best wishy washy and the whole book isnt very joined up, like explain steering gear failure and actions taken, then much much later explain the emergency steering gear systems etc, I know you could pull them into one report but that requires more forward planning than the average cadets appear to be able to muster.

        Also getting them to trace systems is a major pain in the bum, the Blue Canoe Co Ltd has the "Blue Books" to work from, a proper idiots guide to each ship, all that seems to happen is they read this, copy and paste chunks and then have to prized out of the ECR to actually go find stuff on the drawing. Prime example is the scav fire suppresion is mis labled as steam injection (its water) but they look at the label and then write 2 near identical reports about how we fight scavenge fire with steam on here, asked to trace the pipe work and draw the system, the suddenly realise that the steam comes from the hydrophore tank........hmmmm still waiting to be asked about that!!!

        For the dek it sounds about right though, a bit of this and that so they get to see everything that goes on over time, I would caution against over using them in drills otherwise the "real" crew "forget" that in a real situation it's them who will be donning the gear and getting down with the gear!!

        Oh and as for the way reports are written...if I see another one that starts...I reported to the ECR where I was informed by the 2/e I would be working with 4/e on blah blah blah NO No NOOOOOOOO....write the damn report not a short fricking are NOT Enid Blyton (or J K Rowling for that matter)

        Graahhhhhhhhhhhh *mutter mutter*
        Trust me I'm a Chief.

        Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
        Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
        No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.

        Twitter:- @DeeChief


        • #5
          Cadets generally have a huge amount of drill stuff to do and as chiefy says you need to be careful that the normal crew training continues so give some consideration to organising a separate drill just for the cadet (s). Have a look at the drill plan and see what is coming up anyway and then think about some separate training which meets the requirements of the TRB without needing a full crew drill.
          Go out, do stuff


          • #6
            Thanks for all the input, some good things to think about! No worries about them replacing the 'normal' crew for drills, I've been giving them seperate bits and pieces to do (firefighting in the spare sets) or sending them down to play casualty for the hospital team, drills are such a tricky one to sign off absolutely everything, I know it's something the cadets in our company struggle with because they're not really supposed to take part at all and often if they're not on a ship long enough they miss out on the timings for the more unusual/ less frequent drills. They do eat my time a little bit, but it's far more enjoyable than bloody paperwork!


            • #7
              I wish I had you guys to train me!

              I know as a cadet, I'm not really in a position to comment. But, I had two very different crew members one who helped very little and one who helped a lot.

              There was a reasonable standard of training on my ship, but I could have asked for more from some.

              Like you all mentioned, it depends on the cadet and how motivated he/she is.

              From a cadets perspective, its how committed the training officer is in what he/she does.

              One crew member who 'helped' train us, did not allow us to do certain tasks like tank inspections and mooring operations because they were "too dangerous". I could understand if it was the first couple of months, but even if it is dangerous we still need to know how to do it.

              Another popular method, when I came onto the bridge I usually had about 10 questions - most of which I could not ask within the first hour because that was coffee/wake up time. Most of his responses were "look in the books". It was ok for a while however, I found if someone actually showed me how to do things my knowledge of the subject greatly increased.

              At one officers time in charge, I was mopping hallways, chipping and painting and on the bridge plotting positions. That was it.

              At another officers time in charge I was discussing colregs every watch, learning how to do a sight reduction, discuss what to do in certain drills, setting up the pilot ladder, doing mooring ops, cargo ops and a whole load of other tasks. It kept changing every day and it was great. It was plus 10 hours each day, but since I was in production mode. The time between a watch/work I just typed up bucket loads of information and fired it into the Navigation and operations workbook. After the final watch, I would sleep like a baby and I would look forward to doing it all over again.

              I am sure this officer was tired, but that standard of training was great. He shared it between other crew members: 3rd mate for safety and the bosun for mooring. He asked for me to stay on longer and to try get on his next ship - so I suppose I was a good cadet.

              I suppose, in summary, in my opinion, it could really be the same advice that cadets are given for their first sea phase: the amount you put in, is what you get out.
              "Knowledge is gained through experience and experience is just another name for our mistakes" - Albert Einstein/Oscar Wilde
              "Choose a career that you really enjoy and you will never have to work a single day in life."

              Experience with Container, General Cargo and Cruise vessels.


              • #8
                I've only had 1 cadet on watch with myself and I found it a lot more fun than just sitting with an AB. He was actually older than myself but very keen to learn. I basically tried to give him a task/calculation every watch wether it be some sort of tides/sailings/cargo thing or just to do a few celestial observations.
                Also tried to get him to write up everything he was doing on deck work.

                I found if I kept him busy doing things and when he was finished come talk to me it made my watch go in a lot quicker and it also brushed my skills up too.

                Totally depends on how motivated and interested the cadet is. If he wasn't interested and just sat on the bridge then I wouldnt have made an effort either.


                • #9
                  Let me rock the boat…..

                  Having followed this site for some time it is interesting to hear the stories of cadet training at sea. Ashore some 800+ cadets a year are receiving structured quality training delivered by people with experience and knowledge of life aboard ship. But for 12 months at sea for cadets it’s luck of the draw.

                  As Laura says “I feel like they’re partly my responsibility, even though it’s technically the Chief Mate?s job partly because he’s been super busy and only gives them dogsbody jobs when he actually remembers they’re onboard, more or less dumping them on me”. She sums the current situation up pretty well.

                  Maybe it is time onboard cadet training is addressed as part of the Chief’s, Master’s 2nd and Chief Engineer’s tickets. It’s all about on board management.

                  The shipping companies are sponsoring the cadets and should ensure they have the staff on board who can provide appropriate training.

                  The onshore establishments are providing quality training it’s time the sea phases are addressed.


                  • #10
                    Add it to the list of things we should be taught...along with accounts, purchasing systems, personnel management, cadets training, IT support, Windows / Linux programing, PLC fault finding...the list is near endless..

                    But your point is well made, but a lot of the issue is UK cadets not being placed with UK officers, I arent going to say UK flag cos there are plenty of UK officers on other flags

                    I know I would mind some sort training on how to train cadets and what the bloody hell the TRB is all about
                    Trust me I'm a Chief.

                    Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                    Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                    No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.

                    Twitter:- @DeeChief


                    • #11
                      I agree with Chiefy, cadets need to be sent with officers who have a similar cultural attitude towards our training and preferably can speak the language to a standard which is good enough to confidently discuss maritime topics in depth.


                      • #12
                        I hate this pre-conception that if you sail with British Officers then you will have had the best training because that simply is not true. Some of the best training I ever had was from a Russian Chief Engineer and a Croatian 2nd Engineer. Whilst their English wasn't always the best, they were still able to impart a lot of training and experience across to me.

                        My view, the cadets need: -

                        A) Officers with a half-decent level of English
                        B) An actual class for the cadet to show them how their sodding TRB's work, because the onus is on the cadet to explain it to the officer, not the other way around (how can the cadet follow it if they don't know how it works)
                        C) Actually be motivated and get involved
                        D) Accept that you may be the only Brit on board. Yes it's a tough at first, but try to learn some of the language and be open minded
                        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.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OldSalt View Post
                          Let me rock the boat…..

                          Having followed this site for some time it is interesting to hear the stories of cadet training at sea. Ashore some 800+ cadets a year are receiving structured quality training delivered by people with experience and knowledge of life aboard ship. But for 12 months at sea for cadets it’s luck of the draw.

                          The onshore establishments are providing quality training it’s time the sea phases are addressed.
                          Considering the fact that we are still getting cadets turning up at sea having been taught by UK colleges that ships can only use the oily water separator when more than 12 miles from land, I think you might want to revise your comments about quality training provided by experienced professionals.
                          Go out, do stuff


                          • #14
                            I don't think someone necessarily has to be from the UK, there's good seafarers out there from all corners of the world but as you say GMan half decent english helps, pointing is not always the best way to explain something!

                            I do think the motivation has to be on both sides though, nothing kills your motivation quicker as a trainee than a crew who give you months of nothing but washing duties or as one of my cadets told me, he spent three weeks doing 12 hours of gangway duty while in drydock (what a wasted opportunity!) just because you ask and try to get stuck in doesn't always mean it works out that way unfortunately.

                            Learning the language of your crew does help (self taught in my crew's main language as a cadet and now near fluent- out of sheer frustration at the time I might add), not only does your learning curve increase very sharply but also the social side picks up too, only thing though is that it takes time to learn a new language and there's a long way between a few words to be polite and knowing what the hell is going on, as soon as I could just about get by a whole new world seemed to open for me as a cadet onboard. I'm all for learning the language of the crew but it's just another barrier to a cadet's training, why should the onus be on them to learn a language? Would be nice if we could send them somewhere where it wasn't even an issue, but then that's me going slightly off topic...

                            The fact that few countries have the same system as the UK confuses things slightly too, some places do all their seatime in one go, others have taken the entire theory up to Master's levels but never seen a ship, some expect them to have worked as ABs or OS's first. All very confusing for both the trainee and the officers, the TRB is another minefield!

                            Been a good discussion though and great to hear some different experiences on the matter, so thank you all! Hmm... my next thread should probably be on the best pranks to get them with! Anyways cheers one and all....



                            • #15
                              I still believe that sailing with 1st world officers will almost certainly give a better training experience then with 3rd world officers, its not just about knowledge, its about the cultural understanding.

                              As the UK colleges, unfortunately many of the colleges are now seeing fewer and fewer experienced lecturers and very few with Master Unlimited/Chief Engineer Unlimited tickets joining them. Seriously, if they continue to pay such poor salaries, what on earth do they expect.