I’d realised that sitting behind a desk wasn’t for me. My sister works for Lloyd’s Register, and told me about the Merchant Navy. It was the adventurous nature of a job at sea – plus the work/leave ratio – that convinced me to sign up.
I applied to the RFA, and started my Foundation Degree as a Deck Cadet. The Foundation course is a great way into a career at sea, as you can then choose to take a top-up degree – important if you’d like the option of a job ashore in the future.
Being a valued, well-respected member of a close knit team is the best experience I’ve had so far. I have no regrets about giving up my previous career – if anything it’s helped me appreciate what a fantastic job this is.
My first sea phase during training was on a replenishment tanker. While aboard, I worked on the bridge. But I also spent a week in the engine room. As a very tall person this justified my choice to work deck-side rather than in engineering, as I hit my head on just about everything.
Being aboard ship for the first time gives you a real insight into how everything, and everyone, works together. I enjoyed cargo work the most – it makes a nice change from watch keeping, and cargo’s the reason we go to sea. Patrol can be a bit dull at times, but even the toughest parts of a job at sea are made up for by colleagues who become like family. And you’ve always got the long holidays to look forward to.