Saturday, 28 May 2011

Some deep breathing, cathartic deleting and a little introspection later....

And I'm back, apologies for the rant, and thanks for the support too, it's good to know that my humble offerings on t'interweb are of use and interesting to people.

When I started writing this, I was doing different things most days, everything was new and, while not exactly exciting, it was interesting, and I wanted to share that. However, life on ship is not always interesting, and with 10 months sea time under my belt now, I feel I can safely say that for the most part, life on ship is actually incredibly repetitive and dull. Whether you're doing the same routes around the Caribbean week in week out, or to-ing and fro-ing across the Atlantic, or the Irish Sea, you're still trogging round the ship inspecting fire extinguishers and hoses, checking lifeboat gear, doing drills, correcting charts, testing radio equipment, writing logs, filling out checklists and staring out of the window for hours on end. And that is something that I feel is important to realise when you're considering embarking on a career at sea. The people who promote the MN as a career will tell you about the money, the opportunity to travel and the long periods of leave, but one thing you have to remember is that these perks come because your job matters. When you live on a ship, your life and the lives of your fellow crewmembers and passengers are reliant on the fact that the people who do inspections and checks do them properly, and do maintenance thoroughly, that they keep a sharp look out and make sure the equipment that will save your ass if the shit ever did hit the fan works properly. And that is why I continued with the daily log entries, yes it's repetitive, but believe you me, you got the edited highlights! I think now though, that that point has been made, and I'm at the stage now where I really am doing the same thing every day, which does not make for interesting posts. For example, one of the things we have to do for our nav work book is keep a radio log, of all the communications made from the ship to other ships and shore stations, plus the daily and weekly tests. Every ship keeps a GMDSS log, but only actually logs that the tests have been completed and (according to theory anyway) any distress communications received. After keeping my log for 4 days, I could now give you a run down of every call we make going from Dublin to Holyhead and back, and what frequency it was made on. Do I now really know how to keep a GMDSS log book properly and do the daily and weekly tests on the equipment? Yes. Is it interesting? No. So I'm not going to write about what I do every day any more, but will hopefully get some more interesting days to tell you about from time to time. I still keep a daily log for myself, but it's basically brief notes on what I did to help jog my memory when writing reports.

So what will I write about now? Well, the met post was just as much for my own benefit as anyone else's. I'm starting to think about Orals now, which I'm due to take in December this year and I find that for me, the best way to revise something is try and explain it to someone else. I'm not going to be doing all my revision on here, and what I do post will not be utterly comprehensive, so please don't view my writing as a 100% reliable source, go to the books yourself and read up too! (And if I have made a glaring error, feel free to correct me.)


  1. "... and staring out of the window for hours on end." Ah, but because you aspire to become a ship's captain rather than its hotelier, at least you get to stare at the sea rather than at the passengers. And, you know, logs are important to us passengers too. (BTW, when I'm lucky enough to be on board, I'm a passenger with a cabin, not a "guest" with a "stateroom".)
    About logs, I wish you could light a fire under the guy responsible for reporting QM2's position, speed, weather, etc. to the World Meteorological Organization's Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) (e.g. so that QM2 fans could follow along vicariously. More days than not, the ship's information is either absent or days late.

  2. I'm afraid to say Paul that that particular job was one very low on the list of priorities on the bridge there! In fact, when I was on board we only bothered doing it when the weather was significant (i.e. utterly rubbish). Weather reporting is actually something I need more of for my workbook, on the QM we cheated rather, she has a laptop on the bridge with a programme which creates the code; all you have to do is compare some pictures to what's outside, enter readings from some of the instruments and in the press of a button all that coding is done, and you simply put the floppy disc from the laptop into the sat-C and send it. My met teacher would be disgusted...

  3. Hey, boots, I know you're a sailor, not a salesman, but anything you can do to keep your ship's fans hooked is the best job insurance you could ever invest in.

  4. Haha! True, although there's still nothing I can do to make them send their weather logs, I only did a 3 month trip on there, and that was last year!

  5. I'm sure size4 is aware of this site and possibly even you are aware - but just incase - when she is in range she will show up on Marine as long as you know her MMSI number.

    Unfortunately it uses the AIS, therefore it is VHF based so won't work when she is crossing the Atlantic.

    Her URL is;