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"I am in my last year training to be a deck officer in the merchant navy. I currently study at Warsash Maritime Academy on the officer cadet training scheme, where I will gain my Officer of The Watch (OOW) unlimited ticket and a HND in nautical science.
To get onto the scheme, you need to be sponsored by a shipping company in order to get enough sea time. So, I found a list of sponsoring companies on the academy’s website and after several applications I managed to get selected by Clyde Marine Training (they appoint cadets to shipping companies). I am sponsored by Zodiac Maritime Agencies who run many ships including car carriers, container ships, bulk carriers and tankers.
Although OOW duties will change from ship type, ship size and crew size, on average you will be responsible for holding two navigational watches a day along with maintenance of safety equipment. When the ship is in port you will also be responsible for cargo watches. A watch means you’re pretty much in charge of the ship, responsible as the captain’s representative to safely navigate or load/discharge cargo etc.
During my cadetship I worked on board three ships. For my first trip away I had just turned 17 and joined the M/V Noble Ace, a 200m car carrier. The second was the M/V YM Hamburg, a 260m container ship, and my third ship was CMA CGM Enfield a 366m container ship. During my training at sea I went to Europe, Asia, North America and Africa. I visited notable places like Tokyo, New York City, Singapore, Lagos, Shanghai, Malta, Dubai, California, Florida, South Korea, and many more!
A job as a ship’s officer really offers the full package; responsibility, excellent career opportunities, travel, competitive pay and the list goes on. I would definitely recommend this career to any aspiring young person. I am 19 and qualify this summer and plan to get a job on board a cruise ship or superyacht as a third officer. I also have the opportunity to top up my HND to a degree.
Studying at Warsash has been a pleasure – their professionalism, working atmosphere and facilities are unbeatable. I won’t consider going anywhere else for my chief mates/masters tickets."
Update on Joe's career - May 2017
Joe is currently 2nd mate on a 42m classic escort vessel called Bystander. Bystander is mothership to the J Class yacht Velsheda, and at the time of writing was in Bermuda for the Americas cup.
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