A family friend first told me about the Merchant Navy. He’d been an engineer all his life and he suggested going to a Careers at Sea event. I’d always enjoyed being at sea, and having a job with the opportunity to travel the world felt like a bonus.
I’m now studying an FdSc in Marine Operations. The deck side of a Merchant Navy career seemed the option that suited me best, as did the foundation degree route.
My first trip at sea was for three months on a military-chartered Roll-on Roll-off Cargo Vessel in the Middle East. I visited ports in Bahrain and Aqaba, experienced a search and rescue operation, carried out much of my maintenance training and took part in an evening navigational watch.
After that I swapped the Middle East for the North Sea and sailed on an Offshore Supply Vessel. I spent my seven-week trip helping with communications during cargo operations at rigs. We also had daughter craft on board – vessels that are designed to respond to emergencies and give over-side support. So I also got to spend time training in man overboard and helicopter operations, where I experienced being winched into a helicopter.
I find getting the ship into the next port safely the most rewarding part of my marine cadet training. While the best experience I’ve had so far was taking celestial sights – using the sun, moon and stars to navigate – in the Indian Ocean.
Being away from home so long can be challenging, especially as a cadet.
But my father is also in the shipping industry, and he and other family members support me. They find my career at sea and what I do interesting.
I’m now back on land for my second college phase at Warsash Maritime Academy. But I’ll be heading to sea again this year. I’m really looking forward to more maritime training on lots of different vessels.