My short bio: I'm 26, working contracts on supply vessels to Oil and Gas rigs

My Proof: Yesterday:

Comments: 40 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

DrunkyMcDrunk-Drunk9 karma

How does one join the Merchant Navy? What are the education requirements?

Foyreddit9 karma

The most common route in the UK to join as an officer is through a sponsoring company, who are incentivised to do so by tonnage tax exemptions and government contributions called SMART funding. You must obtain 12 months sea time as a cadet for a Deck officer and 6 months for an engineer. In addition you must complete either a foundation degree or higher national diploma through one of the nautical colleges/affiliated universities in the UK. This is done in a sandwich format and takes approximately 3 years. Colleges/Universities require for the FD route 160 Ucas points which can be met by doing A levels or a college course, HND route requires a few GCSES with at least a C in maths (these aren't all set in stone, very much depends on your application and interview). This all leaves you with a certificate of competency, which is essentially a ticket to a huge industry from Superyachts to Oil tankers.

clayHarvest5 karma

Craziest thing you have witnessed at sea??

Foyreddit8 karma

Not whilst working for my current company but I watched a friend jump from a 12 stack of forty foot containers on a container vessel into the dock water. Needless to say he'd had a few jars!

[deleted]2 karma


Foyreddit3 karma

nah but his arms and feet were bruised to shit! pretty stupid to be fair but he got away with it!

Foyreddit2 karma

also that's not to mention the 20 metre odd freeboard from the deck level to the water

billoreillysanus5 karma

What is the Merchant Navy?

Foyreddit11 karma

In short, anything that isn't the Royal Navy, commercial vessels owned by private companies/owners. Including but not limited to Container ships, oil tankers, ferrys, tugs, dredging ships, Cargo ships, fishing vessels cruise ships, Super yachts.

OliMonster4 karma

Not really a question, more a thank you. Starting an engine cadetship with the really big container company in September, and your AMA made for a very interesting read.

Wait, actually, I do have a question. What do you deck guys actually do all day when you're at sea? There's only so many times you can look at a radar screen and see that there's still nothing there. Is the rest of your time spent staring at the horizon or what?

No ribbing, just curious.

EDIT - A word. Thanks for the heads-up OP!

Foyreddit3 karma

I see you've been on the induction in the Lakes and started the engineer v deck "banter"... (Doesn't even really exist from my experience). I had a cadetship with that company (little hint -they really don't like their name being used in any form of social media so be careful - they actively search for it so edit your post) and then decided to go elsewhere. A deck officer has a lot wider range of duties as opposed to an engineer, hence the 6 months of sea time required for an engineer as opposed to 12 for a decky. I do a 12-4 watch day and night with some work outside those hours peppered on top- that itself could consist of anything depending obviously on the working nature of the vessel your on but there is A LOT of stuff to do. I'll put your misinformed preconceptions down to being new to the game, but as a general guide; on passage - planning, monitoring the voyage, safe navigation, monitoring equipment, adhering to collision regulations. In port - cargo ops, security etc. on top of that, there will be other duties such as risk assessments and permits to work, fire fighting equipment, life saving apparatus, cargo, communications, admin & paperwork, health and safety. There's a whole plethora of regulations, resolutions, laws and other stuff to learn and put into practice. Back to your original question, when crossing the pond in open ocean you wouldn't need to interrogate a radar that often, however, a 200,000t ship with millions of pounds of cargo on, I don't think many competent people would just stare at the horizon. I don't work deep sea, and have no intentions to, 4 weeks on/ 4 weeks off for me, rather that than being surrounded by phillipinos in an engine room for 3 months at a time ;) Good luck with it all!

futureidiot3 karma

What is your best story while you were aboard a ship?

Foyreddit8 karma

I joined a ship halfway through a crew's trip (The ship had 2 crews, each would do a 4 week trip and then have 4 weeks leave) with the intention of staying on for 6 weeks in total. After the first two weeks on crew change day I put my boiler suit on (had no need to wear it as I was working watches on the bridge). There was an outrageously bad smell coming from my boiler suit. I opened the pockets to find two rotting birds that had been placed as a practical joke by the deck crew - the smell was beyond funny. I knew who the two culprits were and had been getting a hard time for the 2 weeks by them as well (as a cadet you have to take shit) so I spent the remaining 4 weeks plotting my revenge, I put tuna in pretty much every place I could put it without damaging the ship itself. I put it in the two culprits clothing, under the innersole of trainers, inside work boots, gloves, boiler suits, hard hats. And the cherry on the top... kidneys (from the chef who was in on it) in there rescue boat suits. I then left the ship after my 6 weeks with a spring in my step. Knowing that the next crew were away for christmas and new years. Needless to say I got a strongly worded email from the office! I also got a text from that crews captain commending me on my fine work and that they had to launch the rescue boat and provide cover to a gas platform for 6 hours inside a cabined rescue boat - 3 weeks into the trip, the smell must of been horrific. Not the most impressive story to an outsider but certainly the one im most proud of!

crescin3 karma

What do you do with a drunken sailor?

Foyreddit3 karma

early in the morning?

Tucana662 karma

How's the weather right now?

Foyreddit8 karma

Pretty shite - 40 knots, 5 metre swell had a nice few days...up and down like a yoyo at the moment though.. this was yesterday

imthatguy252 karma

Do you get excited when you head over to the seas?

Foyreddit3 karma

Unfortunately, no I dont. Quite the opposite at times in fact. It's hard leaving friends, family etc and missing out on things! It can be quite a lonely place, if you're on with a good crew and socialise in the evenings it does make things go quicker - I've had some absolutely mental nights out when we are in port. Money is a benefit, having your own space and time can be good at times. Also it does open your eyes being surrounded by nothing but water! Storms can be interesting good too. You got out of it what you put in. But quite honestly, I'd rather be at home in an ideal world.

Captaincadet2 karma

Have you ever played a shipping simulator such as Ship sim as you miss the sea?

Foyreddit6 karma

No, besides TRANSAS sims in Uni, only sim I rock is goat simulator because I miss goats so much

Captaincadet2 karma

Fair enough - I know a few guys who work at sea and they have ship simulator and have kitted out their computers with fake bridges...

Foyreddit2 karma

yeah it's not unheard of, the proper industry standard software is expensive, I've not even looked at getting ship simulator, it's good for practice for sure, but I am now on the final few weeks of revision before my final assessment with the MCA - all paperwork and flipcards for me!

Captaincadet3 karma

Ah fair enough I thought you would have had something like VSTEP ship simulator extremes or something like that - Anyway good luck!

Foyreddit2 karma

nah man we have full ship simulators at college - checkout warsash maritime academy. Full gucci gear! We use a russian flight and marine sim called TRANSAS also. Thanks!

TexasStarForever2 karma

How's the pussy bro ?

Foyreddit7 karma

On ship... non existent..surrounded by 32 balls in a floating prison! If you get onto cruise ships, you clean up! Mind you chicks dig the job!

Brickowski72 karma

Are there any physical requirements like in the armed forces? I heard you need perfect eyesight.

Foyreddit3 karma

Not really except you need to pass a medical, called an ENG-1, standard one lasts for 2 years. fairly easy to obtain, at least a few GP surgeries in most towns do them - I've seen morbidly obese people, post heart attack etc with medical certs usually they are restricted to a 1 year. Eyesight isn't an issue as you're allowed to wear glasses, but obviously your sight has to be fairly good as an officer of a navigational watch. Hearing again is important but not a game changer if its not perfect. Drug and alcohol tests are fairly frequent though.

the_blue_wizard1 karma

Isn't it painfully and miserable cold in the North Sea, even at the best of times?

Foyreddit1 karma

At times, yea! Especially in winter, it can be absolutely vile weather. It's usually about a force 8 in winter as standard. I sailed in a force 12 (hurricane force) in January, which produced 10 metre waves, that was pretty scary. But then, saying that, I also have seen temperatures hit 27 degrees C and the sea look like a mirror. It was pretty mad yesterday and this was the view this morning

june6060 karma

From what I know of the North Sea, I assume you're having the time of your life, sunning yourself on sunny beaches and working on avoiding that sunburn? - NOT! -

How can you stand being that cold for that long - especially outdoors. I've lived through a nasty Aberdeen, Scotland winter with record snowfalls and spent the best part of six months huddled in front of a heater. How do you find the motivation to get out of bed when conditions are so grim?

Foyreddit2 karma

gotta suck dick to get paid mate! ha, nah its not that bad, in all honesty the summers are ok with the occasional bad few weeks. Winter wise its pretty demoralising, big seas, can't do much in terms of exercise, walking normally etc. Just about manage to sit in a chair and eat. But you just have to get on with it. First time I ever went to sea I was ill for a whole weekend but I've got my sea legs now. Warmth isn't an issue inside, if the weather is bad, nobody is allowed on deck. The only issue I have is keeping strong mentally, it does worry me when you know you have no chance of getting a life raft off the ship and actually getting into if the ship was going down, once the weather hits a force 8/9, its pretty much just hope for the best!

june606-1 karma

I hope you adhere to a look-good philosophy: because as a female, sexually, your stated views sound repugnant.

Foyreddit2 karma

What views specifically are they June? I'm sorry if I've caused offence. If you are referring to my initial sentence, it was merely a crass phrase that gets chucked around out here, not a literal sentiment.

P-A-T-R-I-O-T-5 karma

I want to say thank you for your service!

What kind of sidearms are you allowed on the rigs?

Foyreddit8 karma

Whilst I appreciate your kind sentiment, I think you may believe I work for my country and/or the armed forces, I work a private company contracted to a big company, I don't provide a service beneficial to anyone but Oil and gas companies that make billions. Unfortunately the vast majority of shipping companies are out now purely for the benjamins.