I served as a Junior Officer until recently. I'm no longer at sea due to medical reasons.

People often seem interested by what I do, or did rather.

Proof: http://imgur.com/iVZVbRK

EDIT: I need to go out for a few hours. I will answer all questions when I get back around 2300 CET. I will try and answer as many as I can while I am out.

EDIT: I'm back, will start your questions now!

Comments: 434 • Responses: 90  • Date: 

Scottler70 karma

With all of the technology available in modern times, are you still expected to understand and use the older navigation techniques such as sextons, and whatnot?

CaptRamius139 karma

We're still trained to use sextants and take positions using it. It's good practice and expected that you do it maybe once a day, however that never really happens.

The most common old school calculations and observations you need to do is to check the error of the gyro and magnetic compasses.

This involves first taking a bearing of a celestial object (Planet, Star, Sun, Moon). That's the easy bit. Then you can do a calculation using your position and information from a nautical almanac to calculate the actual bearing of the object. You then compare that to your observation and then you get the error.

Some people don't do the calculation, instead they use a program or app. Personally I always prefer to do the calculation myself and it's good practice to do so.

This would usually be done six times a day by three different officers.

We don't totally rely on GPS for our positions. When possible (when you're close to the shore) you can use the compass and/or radar to obtain your position.

Most ships will have paper charts as well as an ECDIS (Electronic chart display and information system). This takes information from several sensors such as GPS, Doppler log, compasses, wind gauge etc. It also displays your routing and is usually used as the primary means of navigation because it's accurate, quick and pretty damn good.

Unless the ship has a second ECDIS with complex power backups, they will still need to utilize and update paper charts.

I hope that makes sense as I waffled a little bit and used a lot of jargon.

Scottler21 karma

Ooops, good catch on my typo. Thanks for the answer!

CaptRamius21 karma

You're welcome.

Moominballs2 karma

Is there some magic that automatically computes your position based on RADAR? (off "known" reflectors/terrain?)

CaptRamius10 karma

There's some old technology which would do it with radio, similarly to a plane.

I don't know if any radars can get your position automatically. But you can do it manually by taking a range and bearing of a position on land.

PigeonSquid68 karma

How long would you been on board for a time? Did it get boring? How did you pass the time?

CaptRamius116 karma

For me usually 4 months. But others onboard had 8 month contracts as I recall.

It could get boring, I found the best way to pass the time was to work. But I had my laptop with an external HDD full of films and TV series'. Some ships have internet, I never did though. Also pass time by socialising, watching films, cards, drinking, BBQ and basketball. Also spent time in the gym, I got in pretty good shape in my time at sea.

riffraff10021439 karma

How much recreational space is there? I'd imagine most of the space is dedicated to cargo, but what about the layout of the other areas? Are there things there an average person might not expect?

CaptRamius79 karma

It depends a lot by ship type, age and size. I was always on large modern bulk carriers.

These days space is pretty good. Everyone had their own cabin with en-suite. The gym was fairly sized, but the amount and quality of equipment inside varied, but was always adequate. We had rec rooms with TV which you could hook an external HDD to and watch whatever. Karaoke was often on board as well. A lot of ships have internet facilities, but we didn't. We were able to purchase satellite calling cards to call home.

Adequate recreational facilities are required under MLC (Maritime Labour Convention). Now I type these all out they seem really minimal, but this is the standard on most ships.

robotnipples47 karma

Have you ever experienced a rogue wave? If so, how terrifying was it?

CaptRamius62 karma

Thankfully not. I've been in 12m swells and waves and that was bad enough. It could have been worse.

afbrat5234 karma

What's the educational route to become a sailor like yourself? What training do you go through? Did you study maritime type things in college?

CaptRamius63 karma

It depends on what country you live in.

In the UK the procedure to becoming an Officer is like this.

Your apply to shipping companies like Maersk, Carnival, BP etc.

If accepted, you'll study at a Maritime College in the UK. The course will be paid for by the company and you'll be given a small allowance for living expenses.

After studying for a small amount of sea you will go to sea to get practical experience. After that you return to college to continue studying. Then you go back to sea. Then you return to college for the last time to complete your studies and final exams.

Your training lasts for three years, including one year at sea.

BuleDKI33 karma

What exactly was your day like? I have an idea what it's like to be a navigator or a quartermaster in a regular navy, but not on a merchant vessel? Did you stand a watch? Run a division? Work to qualify in other departments? How many sailors were on your team? Thanks!

CaptRamius58 karma

I'll tell you about my time as a Cadet and then as a Third Officer.

When at sea, my day as a Cadet would change often depending on what I was learning so I'll give two examples.

0800-1200 I'd be working on deck. Painting, cleaning holds, deck washing, general maintenance etc. Even though as an Officer, I wouldn't be required to do this, but it's important to learn everyone's role in order for you to understand what you're asking them to do. 1200-1230 Lunch

1230-1300 I'd easier rest and take it easy for a bit, or I would study.

1300-1700 I'd stand a watch under the supervision of a qualified Officer. If you want me to explain more about what I'd actually do on watch, let me know

1700-1730 Dinner

1730-1800 Rest

1800-1820 I would clean the bridge.

1820-2000 I would study

2000-2100 Chill, socialise, watch some movies. Just relax.

2100-2200 Maybe go to the gym, if not continue to relax.

And then bed. That was everyday Mon-Sat Sun was the same, but instead of working on deck in the morning, I would study. Yeah studying is important as a Cadet.

Later on in my trips I'd stop working on deck.

0000-0400 Stand a watch

0400-1000 Sleep

1000-1030 Have a late breakfast because I need those Zzzzs

1030-1200 You guessed it, study.

1200-1600 Stand a watch

1600-1700 Study

1700-1730 Dinner

1730-2000 Bridge work. Clean, chart and publication corrections.

2000-2100 Study

2100-2200 Gym usually

2200-2330 Relax

2330-0000 Maybe lightly review my work and notes from the day.

Repeat every day of the week.

In port:

0000-0600 Deck watch

0600-1200 Sleep

1200-1800 Deck watch

1800-2000 Bridge work.

2000-2100 Study

2100-2330 Rest, maybe have a nap

2330-0000 Eat

Repeat everyday we are in port.

That could vary depending on the time we arrived in port, visitors to the ship etc.

I remember as a cadet we arrived at anchorage and I think I went about 34 hours or something like that without sleep.

I'll do the Third Officer bit in another post because this one's already quite long!

CaptRamius56 karma

Standard day as a Third.

0800-1200 Stand a watch

1200-1230 Lunch

1230-1600 Day work. Mostly I was responsible for LSA (Live Saving Appliances) and FFA (Fire Fighting Appliances). So I'd check and maintain them.

1600-1700 Relax

1700-1730 Eat

1730-1800 Temporarily relieve the officer on the bridge so he could eat.

1800-2000 Relax, free time.

2000-0000 Stand a watch

0000-0730 Sleep

0730-0800 Breakfast

Repeat everyday of the week. I wouldn't do daywork on a Sunday, we would do drills instead.

In port it's fairly similar to when I was a cadet.

0600-1200 Deck watch

1200-1500 Day work if possible

1500-1800 Rest

1800-0000 Deck watch

0000-0600 Rest

We didn't have divisions. There was usually 22 crew on board. No one was assigned to be directly under anyone. We just followed a straight hierarchy.

Sorry for making these so long, I hope I answered your questions.

CueCueQQ14 karma

If you want me to explain more about what I'd actually do on watch, let me know

I'd love to hear about what a watch is for you so I can compare it to a US Navy watch. I have to feel it's a lot of the same stuff.

CaptRamius8 karma

I put a pretty decent reply somewhere in here, explaining what we need to do and all.

zencanuck28 karma

My dad was a sailor on the Great Lakes in the 50s. I worked on charter boats in the 90s. Even then by comparison we noticed huge leaps in navigation. Do you think there will be a time when cargo ships are fully automated, running with basically maintenance crews?

CaptRamius49 karma

The concept is already there for fully automated ships. Even without maintenance crews. It's being pushed by Rolls Royce mostly if you want to look it up. I hope it never happens to be honest, and I can't see it working. Ships require constant maintenance and work onboard, and if there's no one there to do it....

USOutpost314 karma

The same concept applies to Trucking in the US, but everyone thinks every truck-driving job will be replaced by a Navigation system. That's currently impossible by law because a Driver is supposed to be doing maintenance and checking on the vehicle and basically they have to or the truck won't make even one cross-country trip.

CaptRamius7 karma

Like that Simpsons episode. You truckers don't fool me.

Epileptic_EyeSurgeon27 karma

Is the toilet paper over or under on the ships?

CaptRamius49 karma

The all important question. It's your choice, I've always had an en-suite.

roguevirus26 karma

What is standing watch like?

CaptRamius46 karma

One of the ways it was described to me was "You're the Masters (Captains) Representative on the bridge"

Ultimately, you are responsible for the accurate, efficient and most importantly safe navigation of the vessel. She's your baby.

You need to comply with IRPCS (International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea). Basically "The Rules of the Road".

A set of rules and procedures to make sure everyone doesn't go around smashing into each other.

In order to do so you need to use all means which are available to you. That's another quote. So you use your radar, AIS, radio etc; and obviously your eyes and ears.

You need to maintain a radio watch, in order to receive safety bulletins, navigational warnings; and potentially a MAYDAY call.

Speaking of MAYDAYs, you need to be able to respond to emergencies on your own vessel. As the Officer of the Watch, in an emergency situation, it will be up to you to take the initial action

And obviously as a Navigational Officer, you need to navigate. Make sure you are following the planned route and it is a safe passage. Also ensure that all the equipment on the bridge is functioning correctly. Like I said earlier on, you need to calculate the compass error.

Any problems or worries. You call the Captain.

MxSephie25 karma

You said earlier some pass the time by drinking; is there a canteen where you can purchase extra snacks/alcohol with your own money or is it provided by the Navy? Also, what's the drink of choice on a ship?

CaptRamius63 karma

It's called a "slop chest" or "bonded store". It's basically a room on board with cigarettes, chocolate, soda, beer etc. You kind of have an account on the ship, so you buy want you want, and that is deducted from your wage at the end of the month.

Drink of choice varies by nationality. Mostly beer. But Eastern Europeans and Russians tend to prefer Vodka, but most companies wont allow spirits on board to stop people from getting drunk and doing stupid shit.

We have no affiliation to the navy. It's private companies.

DoctorRaulDuke11 karma

It's the merchant navy though isn't it?

CaptRamius63 karma

The merchant navy is just a term. It's nothing official.

the_nin_collector24 karma

are you ever too old to start this? If my wife dies and I am 45. This sounds like the perfect life. just getting away from the world. And I love the ocean and a routine.

CaptRamius40 karma

Nope. People have started at a later age. If you can handle fairly physical work you will be fine.

However I have to say that I hope it doesn't come to that given the circumstances.

Cheerful-as-fuck21 karma

Do you think the engines run on magic? Because I swear to god some of the deckies I've had to work with think the engines run on magic.

CaptRamius22 karma

Are you trying to tell me they don't?

I spent a few days in the engine room trying to learn about what you lot do. I was reliably informed they don't run on magic.

yits0520 karma

With all due respect, how many times did you laugh at "seaman's discharge"?

CaptRamius21 karma

Yeahhhhh, more than a grown man should have.

Lieutenant_Joe19 karma

What's the best way to get a job on a cargo ship? I think I'd enjoy a job like that, but I have no idea where to start.

CaptRamius19 karma

It depends on what country you are from. The procedure varies. It also depends on what you want to do at sea. Do you want to be an Officer or not? Do you want to be an engineer or deck officer.

Find a maritime college in your country using google, and see what information you can get. I can't give you too much advise because the procedure depends on what you want to do and where you are from.

Raistlinplaysrust5 karma

Can you speak to the life of head engineer? I can only speculate based on touring ww2 era us battleships. Also I watch a ton of star trek lol

CaptRamius11 karma

I'm very good friends with a former RMAS Chief so might be able to tell you something. Worth a shot.

MeatAndCheese17 karma

Might be too late to ask, but have you read Ninety Percent of Everything by Rose George? If so curious to hear what you thought about it. Seems like a pretty accurate account of life on a container ship if you haven't!

CaptRamius18 karma

Yes I read that before I started my training. I've never worked on a container ship but studied with those who did. One of which had read the book and testified that it was a pretty accurate representation.

The_Mighty_GrantieP17 karma

Hey, thank you for doing this AMA. Right now I'm in college studying to become a Navigational Officer - what tips or advice would you give to a prospective Navigator?

CaptRamius25 karma

Work you're ass off. It's worth it. Every day when I was a cadet I gave 130% and it meant I learnt so much so quickly. You get out what you put in.

If you haven't been to sea yet, the first few weeks might be difficult, but you will get settled trust me.

Try your hardest in your studies and suck up as much knowledge as you can and aim to be the best officer.

Good luck pal.

bahnmiagain15 karma

Do you guys sing sea shanties while underway?

CaptRamius32 karma

Unfortunately not. I'm not allowed to walk up and down the ship swinging a lamp either :(

fritobugger14 karma

What type of ship and how large? Favorite port of call?

CaptRamius32 karma

Panamax Bulk carrier. Length around 225m. 76,000 DWT

Most of my routes were quite repetitive, so I haven't really seen enough to say. But I always loved Gibraltar, even though we were only at anchorage, I liked it.

OhMyZombies12 karma

How did you get started in the field?

CaptRamius21 karma

I started as a Deck Cadet. I'm not really sure why I started to be honest, it was pretty random and out of the blue.

ThatsMrKoolAidToYou7 karma

What sort of qualifications did you have before starting? I'm almost done my BA and am looking for a change from what I have been doing. I've been sailing all my life and thought I'd look into working on something bigger when I'm done school

CaptRamius11 karma

I had standard high school/secondary school qualifications. There are two academic qualifications you can get, one of them requires a higher level qualification (A-Levels). But it doesn't really matter which one you do, you get the same professional certification at the end and that's the important bit.

meow-bark3 karma

What are the name of the certification? I'd like to look into it

CaptRamius5 karma

The important one is your Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency.

Err_Go11 karma

What is the strangest thing you've seen out there?

CaptRamius19 karma

Ghost ship kind of thing. I swear I could see lights about 8NM away but nothing on radar at all. Kind of spooked me.

Also in certain places, often near the Caribbean you get flashing around the hull. I believe it's from all the plankton and the friction on the hull.

MrT_riding_a_unicorn11 karma

Did you ever throw the Captain's stinking palm tree overboard?

CaptRamius13 karma

No it fell ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

fritobugger11 karma

What countries flag did your ship use? Did you encounter any rogue waves? Did your ship violate bilge discharge regs?

CaptRamius18 karma

The Cayman Islands. No rogue waves thankfully. No we never did. There's no need to, and it's ridiculous and disgusting that people do.

Raistlinplaysrust3 karma

What are bilge discharge regs?

CaptRamius3 karma

Not fully my department, but basically take the shit out of the water using the OWS and dump the water in a authorized area, and burn the oily sludge.

This_isR2Me10 karma

ever encounter pirates?

CaptRamius21 karma

No. When I was on board we never sailed in any HRAs (High Risk Areas)

But my company usually put armed guards on board, so I would of been relatively assured.

rrrreimo10 karma

It seems to me that you studied a lot while onboard. What were you studying every day? Was it required by officers or was it your own initiative?

CaptRamius18 karma

It wasn't required by my officers but was encouraged, so I guess it was a combination.

I would study anything which could be done without practical. Things like met, stability, construction, navigational mathematics, law etc. Also as part of our training, British Cadets need to write "reports" about what they are doing on board. I'd write these as well as "cheat sheets" in my study time.

Studying was a good way to pass time as well. Some officers will require and push you to study, but mine didn't.

smirking7779 karma

have you ever hit or run into anything with your ship?

CaptRamius11 karma


illupvoteforadollar9 karma

Do a lot of people have sex on the ship?

CaptRamius23 karma

99% of the time it will be an all male crew. So no, very rarely.

illupvoteforadollar3 karma

Damn, that sucks! So, what do you do about urges? What is it like when you get to a port and go on leave?

CaptRamius26 karma

Back in the day, when entering ports in certain places in the world, they'd throw a ladder over the side and a load of women would climb on board. But it's not like that anymore. In ports now, I don't know. I never went looking, but like any city I'm sure the opportunity exists.

amsmtg9 karma

As a charterer with a mining company and timechartering vessels such as those you were aboard, would I correct in saying that noon reports are works of fiction with respect to actual weather conditions? Seems I always have adverse winds/currents which invalidate performance guarantees...

CaptRamius8 karma

No. Not for me at least. We were always truthful. But what others do could be anything.

Can I ask, how did you get into chartering?

amsmtg10 karma

Good old fashioned nepotism is the honest answer to that! I graduated uni and went to work in an unrelated field, and got bored. My old man who had worked for an owner as an in house broker set me up an interview with an international shipbroker. I worked with them for 7 years (London, Shanghai & Beijing), then I joined a niche capesize broker in Singapore for a few years after the collapse of the market in 2008/9. I wanted to get into to ship operating, so applied for a position to learn more about the cargo side of commercial shipping, and ended up in a mining company doing my current job.

If you are interested then there are several routes into the commercial side of shipping if you have a passion for it.

CaptRamius4 karma

Thank you. I'm considering that or Naval Architecture.

amsmtg9 karma

If you do decide to go down the commercial side of things, get in touch with the Baltic Exchange, they can give guidance about shipbrokers and how to become one. They may also give a list of members (prospective employers) who you can get in touch with. I would say the best place to start would be your last employers while at sea (unless you were placed by shipmanagers).

CaptRamius4 karma

Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it.

ChimneyFire8 karma

So many good questions already asked.. are there any artists / musicians that make paintings or songs about "that cargo ship life"?

I always watch the boats in the harbour like clouds, and use apps to track em.

Aside from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

CaptRamius7 karma

I don't know of any to be honest. I've never looked into it. Ships can be weirdly mesmerizing when they're at work.

lolblueshell7 karma

Good timing for this AMA as I was just wondering about this the other day. Can you describe the living quarters on a cargo ship? The rooms, kitchen, gym, is there a rec room, lounge, etc? Basically all the "non-work" areas I am super curious to know what they are like. Bonus if you have pictures.

CaptRamius13 karma

I just answered in another question about rec stuff.

As for accommodation it will depend on ship type, age and size. I sound like a broken record constantly saying this, but I'll talk about my experience.

All rooms were single berths with en-suite with a shower. Rooms varied in size dependent on rank. Mine was pretty sizeable, it was kind of too big because there was nothing to fill the space.

The galley was big, but it doesn't really matter unless you're going to be a cook. You can't cook your own stuff usually, other than noodles in the microwave and some toast. You do your own laundry we had two separate ones on board.

If that's not enough let me know, seems kind of sparce. I'll see what I can find with regards to pictures.

DeltaVZerda7 karma

What's the closest you ever got to sinking? Did you ever seriously question if you're going to make it?

CaptRamius16 karma

Never, that doesn't really happen. Thankfully.

The only time I was afraid was on my first trip. I was on the bridge it was rough weather and we rolled 30 degrees, you do briefly shit yourself and worry that she's not going to come back. But after that I always felt safe. It's reassuring when you contribute to making it safe.

forgetme237 karma

How many pirates have you had to fight off?

CaptRamius6 karma

None. Boring I know.

ChimneyFire6 karma

An old guy at a bar one time told me that ships had a breakage / spillage allowance so if there was say... scotch on board some of it would get "broken" and they'd all get shitfaced..

Are there any countermeasures for that "breakage and spillage aside form the sealed 40HC containers?

CaptRamius9 karma

These days everything is tighter, you'll rarely find scotch on board.

I have no idea though to be honest. The company will sometimes give you an allowance to buy beer for the crew, or if you have a nice captain he will get it.

ChimneyFire2 karma

Any great heist stories?

CaptRamius9 karma

I once held up Feech La Manna's card game with my pal Jackie.

Yay_Rabies6 karma

I've heard stories about smaller boats wrecking when they hit a lost, partially submerged container. Have you ever lost containers at sea? Do you try to recover them or just write them off as lost?

CaptRamius8 karma

I never worked on a container ship so can't say. It's not just small vessels they damage, they'll do some work on large craft as well.

Th3assman6 karma

What was the pay like?

CaptRamius3 karma

Depends on your nationality but pretty good. During your cadetship it's low. Around £160 a week. But when qualified as a junior officer you could earn between £25-30k

KingOfStarfox5 karma

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of doing shipwork but has never done it before?

CaptRamius8 karma

Go for it! I'd never done anything like it before. You have to start somewhere after all.

You have nothing to lose.

HitlerLovedLemons5 karma

Being a person who is terrified of the ocean,how can you convince me to have this career?

CaptRamius18 karma

If you're terrified of the ocean I don't think I can. But I loved my time at sea. Ships are pretty safe and stable these days. The regulations are so tight.

If anything is going to kill you on board a ship, it probably won't be the ocean.

HitlerLovedLemons8 karma

Oh, that's slightly comforting to know

CaptRamius11 karma

All I've got for you to be honest, what scares you about it?

HitlerLovedLemons7 karma

Well I had a terrible childhood memory of drowning but other than that the strong feeling of being miniscule to the whole sea.

CaptRamius16 karma

The ocean can be a beautiful thing, some of the sunsets and stars I saw were unbelievable. You can be pretty insignificant to a lot of the things and forces you could encounter on land. You're pretty damn safe at sea.

The brutal truth is that if you get to the point where you're in the water, which is incredibly unlikely, somethings gone pretty wrong anyway and your fear won't make a difference.

As part of your training you have to do PST (Personal Survival Training) which will involves you simulating abandoning ship. So jumping into the water, sitting in life rafts. You're wearing a life jacket the whole time so you'll be fine. But you could be doing this in a pool with a wave machine. Something to remember if that would get to you.

SordidCanary5 karma

So I WAS wondering. I've only been in swells in a cruise ship in the normal ocean (so obviously WAY smaller waves on on a WAY bigger ship). How BIG do you waves have to get to, for example, capsize a large ship, how possible and likely is that? How strong are the hsips and how much can they take?

Just curious as someone with a minor fear of the ocean/water.

CaptRamius8 karma

It depends on the size of the ship, but pretty damn huge. Calculations are made to ensure that the ship will right itself. These days, a correctly loaded ship will not capsize.

The vessels most at risk of capsizing are bulk carriers with cargo that could liquefy. And RoRo (Car and Truck) ferries. Ferries would only be a risk if there was water ingress on the car decks.

coffeeNgunpowder5 karma

Is your favorite book/ movie hunt for the red October?

CaptRamius9 karma

Whatever gave that away ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

HurleyBurger4 karma

Hey Mr Cargo Ship Person! I was in the sub force for about 10 years. Did you ever realize that we used cargo ships to practice contact avoidance? We've driven underneath of you before (but that's really not supposed to happen). I guess what I'm asking is if you've encountered any subs in your career.

Edit: changed sun to sub.

CaptRamius4 karma

I've heard that that happens. I've only seen a sub once when I was at sea and that was in Gibraltar.

goofball_jones4 karma

I'm wondering, I heard that there used to be a way for someone to book passage on a cargo ship that goes to specific places...and it being much cheaper than flying or going by cruise. Is this still true?

CaptRamius3 karma

I wouldn't say it was cheaper. I remember looking it up a while ago and it was really expensive. Give it a google.

MattR474 karma

What time zone does the ship use? Is it Zulu/GMT or does it vary by where you are in the world?

Does your circadian rhythm get messed up since the sunrise/set times are always changing a lot in east/west voyages?

CaptRamius5 karma

We use UTC for celestial calculations and things like that.

We advance or retard the time depending on where we are. One hour at a time. The time would be adjusted by twenty minutes every four hours.

The changes are subtle enough to not mess with your patterns in my opinion.

p3t3r1333 karma

Seaman's discharge huh? Less comments about that than I'd expect

CaptRamius3 karma

It's picked up in the last half an hour.

squirrelian3 karma

Do you ever carry passengers? Is that a typical occurrence? Is it especially expensive or otherwise undesirable, or is it a fair option for an introvert who likes the ocean but does not see the appeal of cruise ships? Is there anything a passenger could do or bring aboard that would gain brownie points with the crew?

TIA, great AMA. Sorry to hear you're no longer at sea. I hope you can get back one way or another someday.

CaptRamius3 karma

No it's not very common. From what I've seen companies offering this charge a fortune. As far as things to bring aboard, good shampoo and soap! I took shitloads with me to sea so was prepared.

I'd recommend a cargo experience if you can afford it. However I'm not sure how you'd entertain yourself all day.

frenchinhaleyoloswag3 karma

Were you aware of the contents in the cargo? Mostly thinking about hazardous and dangerous materials.

Also, for what shipping company were you working?

CaptRamius5 karma

I was fully aware of the cargo because I watched it get spat into the holds.

RedRust3 karma


CaptRamius8 karma

No. Any weapons will be accompanied by security personnel who will embark when you enter the HRA and disembark when you leave it. They should not be arriving at the destination, because of the weapons.

phoenixmichigan3 karma

What do you do with a drunken sailor?

CaptRamius9 karma

Drink with him.

Old_Korean_Woman2 karma

For someone who is about to apply for the merchant mariners what is some advice or things that you wish you knew before getting into the seafaring business?

CaptRamius3 karma

I'll copy and paste what I said to someone else, it's the best advice I can give you.

Work you're ass off. It's worth it. Every day when I was a cadet I gave 130% and it meant I learnt so much so quickly. You get out what you put in.

If you haven't been to sea yet, the first few weeks might be difficult, but you will get settled trust me.

Try your hardest in your studies and suck up as much knowledge as you can and aim to be the best officer.

Good luck

ECS52 karma

Do your radars pick up on small ships? Like if you were underway, is there a chance you might run over a small ship?

Also, rogue waves, have you ever seen them?

CaptRamius6 karma

Sometimes. It depends on how they are tuned and the conditions including waves and rain. Usually they'll be hard to spot on the radar and intermittent until they get closer. You shouldn't be running any over because you should be looking out for them with your eyes. But people get lazy and sit at the computer.

I've never seen a rogue wave. I'd love to see one so I could say I have, but at the same time I really don't want to be at the front end of one.

pieholmes2 karma

What's the craziest event or moment you had to witness on sea?

CaptRamius3 karma

I just replied to a similar question about a kind of ghost ship. I was certain I could see lights about 8NM away, but nothing at all on the radar.

jumbo19802 karma

Where did you go to school?

CaptRamius2 karma

In the North of England.

Cheerful-as-fuck2 karma

South Shields?

CaptRamius2 karma


Ileach5 karma

Did you get trapped while there? Loads of the guys I sail with are now married or have been married to beauty therapists from Shields after going to college there.

CaptRamius4 karma

Thank fuck no

brandydogsdad2 karma

How much stuff have you seen fall into the ocean?

CaptRamius6 karma

Not a lot really, I threw a message in a bottle in when I was in the middle of the Atlantic (don't tell the IMO). I've never seen anything exciting go in, just things like safety helmets falling off, or dropped buckets etc. Food waste as well

TheAmasian2 karma

Is it common to have ordinary people in board as like passengers? I've heard of cargo ships allowing people to get on like a "cruise" but was just wondering if this was common or just that one or two times it has happened.

CaptRamius3 karma

No it's not common at all. There are opportunities for this but I believe they are ridiculously expensive.

iwas99x2 karma

So would your favorite sports team be the Seattle Mariners?

CaptRamius5 karma

I'm not American so probably not.

cvgfrjcapt2 karma

Do most small sailing vessels use AIS and did you assist any that ran into trouble?

CaptRamius6 karma

Most don't have it unfortunately. I never had to assist any. However the frequency of nav warnings reporting missing craft was troublingly frequent.

inthesandtrap2 karma

How often do you whip out your sextant?

CaptRamius3 karma

As a cadet, every day. As a third, maybe once a day if I was being good, but at least three times a week. I think I did it more often than other thirds.

Dex5072 karma

How do you spend your time on shore?

I'm studying to become a navigational officer, and I can't wait for my first job

CaptRamius3 karma

Mostly eating the food you've missed, and buying all the shit you need. I'd stock up on good soap and deodorant, chewing gum, chocolate, Scotch (shh), technology.

Good luck on your first trip! Remember if you struggle for the first few weeks (I did), it gets better, it's just the shock of an environment change.

FuckertyFuckFace2 karma

Did the cargo ships you worked on have ships cranes? Wondering if the speed of the cranes can be adjusted i.e. faster and slower?

CaptRamius3 karma

No I worked on Panamax carriers. Handymax carriers have "cranes". They're usually operated by stevedores from ashore, so I guess it depends on how fast they go, but sure you can control it.

SwordSmith02 karma

What other avenues of work are there for someone interested in working on a ship?

CaptRamius3 karma

Entertaining. On a cruise ship you could work with children.

Engineering. Marine engineering is a pretty good trade.

Catering. This works for cruise and cargo. Waiting on a cruise ship.

With regards to cruise ships you could be limited by your nationality to be honest

Hotel management on board cruise ships.

Wolfeehx2 karma

What's the sex life like on a ship? Are there any female crew?

Ever get attacked by pirates? Do you have weaponry to defend yourself if attacked?

CaptRamius5 karma

Female crew are rare. No sex life on board unless you and one of the other 20 guys have a common interest I guess.

I've never been attacked by pirates. Ships can't have their own weapons to defend themselves, mostly because it would make your insurance price rise like crazy. With properly trained personnel though, they can be used.

MerchantJeff2 karma

Where did you study and what certificate do you have?

CaptRamius5 karma

I studied at South Shields Marine School and have an Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency.


Did you ever have a run in with pirates? If so how did it all happen?

CaptRamius1 karma

No I never have.

iwas99x1 karma

How often are you on Reddit and what are your favorite subreddits?

CaptRamius4 karma

I'm pretty new to it to be honest. I don't look at much. I lurk here. r/GlobalOffensive r/thesopranos

Maybe a few others.

ashu71 karma

Do you like Popeye and spinach ?

CaptRamius1 karma

Sure, I rarely have spinach though.

Aginuzo1 karma

Are there any chaplains on board for religious services?

CaptRamius3 karma


Stampyfan121 karma


CaptRamius1 karma

Uhhh turquoise

FartSnackwell-1 karma

Is it true you guys eat your dead?

CaptRamius16 karma