Guidelines Part 3…Study, Work and Mooring!


We know you have an awful lot to do. We will all help you, encourage you and teach you. You are entitled to a minimum of eight hours study a week; this really applies when away from the coast and when things are a bit quieter. Keep a record of your study time and build it up if necessary, the Mate will certainly keep an eye on it. Do not waste study time, if you do, studying can be done under any number of watchful beady eyes on the bridge. Study time is not meant for watching videos, playing on the games computer or the usual cadet hobby of ‘using‘ porn. If you want to sleep on study afternoons, do it on the toilet, so it’s harder to get caught by the Mate. Try to write your reports in a known version of English with an effort towards correct spelling, grammar and structure.
The Mate will wish to see your task reports, they are not to be done on the bridge unless the task report in question relates directly to the keeping of a navigational watch or a closely related subject. Task reports will normally be done in study or your own time not whilst on watch.
The Third Mate will provide you any reasonable amount of stationery required for your use on board. Please do not take pens, pencils, staplers, rubbers, rulers etc from wherever you made find them. If needed, use them where you find them and not squirrel them away in your cabin. The Mates desk in the ships office is sacrosanct, do not ‘borrow’ materials from there too freely.
Please restrict the tiresome habit of highlighting or underlining in books to either your own personal property or photocopies of ships books, drawings or suchlike. There are enough study books, instruction manuals, operating instructions and drawings on board to cover all your study needs on here.
The completion of your portfolio is your responsibility and yours alone, you cannot be made to do it. It is the absolute minimum that is required of you on board, not nearly enough, let alone the maximum. The portfolio will only cover the bare bones of the training necessary to become a competent professional seafarer. It is the responsibility of all officers onboard to see that you get the additional fleshing out required.
We are generally all very keen to see that you get the best possible sea training, and will therefore take close interest in seeing that you are given jobs that are relevant to your training. If this relevance is not readily apparent to you, ask why are doing it, and what should you expect to gain from it.
Do not whine about being given jobs that are not in your portfolio, going ashore is not in the portfolio, and you’ll be wanting to go ashore won’t you ?
When printing out copies for your own onboard use, try and re-use paper that’s kept for the purpose. Ask someone about where you can find information, it may save a lot of time. There are certain books you should study as soon as possible;
Rules of the Road  –  (How to avoid the unpleasantness of a collision)
Code of Safe Working Practices  –  (How not to kill yourself or others at work)
Fleet Instruction Handbook   –  (Company culture, how things are done around here)
Bridge Procedures Guide   –   ​(Best navigational practice)
Symbols and Abbreviations​   –   (What does that squiggle mean there ?)
Safety Digests​   –  Same accidents year after year after year
Tasks will be not signed off until they are done correctly and in a seaman like manner.
Tasks will not be signed off until you demonstrate a thorough knowledge of tasks
Nobody, especially the Mate, wants to hear the following phrase spoken onboard,
“College says we don’t have to do that”
College is there to get you through exams, we are here to make you into a competent officer, we don’t have much time to do it. So find excuses to do things, not excuses not to do them.


Oh yes, this comes as a bit of a shock to some cadets. The sparkly white boilersuits you are issued with will soon be as grubby as all the others, and with good reason.
Deck officers work watches, 12-4, 4-8 and 8-12 and whenever needed for arrival and departure (stations), engineers tend to work daywork 8-5 with tea and lunch breaks, and again as needed for stations. Cadets may do watches or a mixture as and when needed.
Firstly you need to be shown around the ship and told of the various responsibilities required of you regarding safety, work, social etc. This will take more than a few days before things settle into place. Safety is paramount on board and it will have to be learnt first and foremost. Do not be discouraged if at first everyone seems to spend all their time telling you what to do, there is a reason for it, we don’t want any injuries.
Once we get away, everything will quieten down a bit, and we can get you doing some bridge work and started on portfolio jobs, hopefully on 8-12 with 3rd Mate in the morning and doing safety items / maintenance in the afternoon for an hour or two. We can change this to working in mornings on deck and doing 12-4 in the afternoon with the 2nd Mate on the bridge for navigational training, as you need. Initially there is little point in cadets doing night watches when deep sea unless there is any need to do so.
Some jobs are dirty, unpleasant, tiring and simply need to be done, others are doing their dirty, unpleasant and tiring jobs as well. There will be plenty of interesting, clean and easy jobs to do as well, it’s not all doom and gloom. Jobs, such as greasing vents, bilge and ballast soundings and lashing checks should be teaching you where things are, how they work and why. Look around you!
Cadets used to keep a journal of their time on board listing jobs and general life on board, this may help you. Make a wish list of what you want to do for your portfolio regularly, and the Mate will work it into the jobs needing doing on board onboard.
If you’re not sure what you are doing or about to do, stop and ask someone to show you what to do. Learn by following good practice, not trial and error.
Your wish list will be on the bridge for everyone to see and add to as we see fit, standing around looking bored will be awarded with a job, or a session on rules, buoys, flags, morse or the like. If you are at a loose end and someone is struggling with a job, lend a hand, it does impress standing around gawping with your thumb stuck up your arse, does not.
Learn to do jobs correctly and safely, with the correct tools and methods. Use the tools, clean them and put them away in the correct place, especially tools borrowed from the engine room. Admit to damaging or breaking tools, it’s not a crime, and then new ones can be ordered.
I found a little bit of Optimus Prime…


A dangerous activity, until you get some sea sense. Best chance of being injured or killed on board on a regular basis. Watch, listen and learn, and keep out of the way at first. Once you get a lot more accustomed to your surroundings and confident then you will be expected to muck in more and more with the crew at first then assume some of the responsibilities of the officer in charge. But until that day dawns, observance, ask plenty of questions and learn the best and safest way to work.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 at 12:03 pm by The Mariner. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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