What we do at sea

Integrated Ratings

 

Integrated ratings may perform the following tasks:

  • maintain deck equipment, cargo gear, rigging, and lifesaving and firefighting appliances
  • stand lookout at sea and alert deck officers when other vessels, navigation marks or hazards are sighted
  • steer the ship under supervision
  • secure cargoes and splice wires and ropes
  • handle rope and wire mooring lines, gangways and ladders when the ship is berthing and unberthing
  • maintain cleanliness of decks and structures
  • remove rust from, treat and paint the ship's sides and structures
  • assist in maintaining and repairing the ship's engines and mechanical equipment
  • clean the cargo compartment and the fresh water, ballast and oil tanks of the ship.

Integrated ratings may spend long periods at sea.

When steering the ship, on lookout duty or on watch, integrated ratings work under the direction of the officer of the watch. When in the engine room, they work under the direction of engineering officers.

Personal Requirements:

  • physically fit and enjoy manual activities
  • able to pass a medical examination and eyesight test
  • normal colour vision
  • enjoy life at sea
  • mechanical aptitude
  • Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

 

More info go to the links and click on Australian Shipowners Association website, careers at sea. Also contact the Maritime Union of Australia branch officials in your local area

 

 

Chipping and painting at heights

Marine Engineering

Marine Engineers are primarily responsible for the safe mechanical operation of a vessel.
Essentially, they are responsible for operating and maintaining a vessel’s structure, machinery and equipment to make sure the vessel is functioning safely and effectively at all times. The role of a Marine Engineer requires the individual to possess high-tech skills that enable them to effectively manage a number of distinct job activities.
Typical functions of a Marine Engineer may include design, testing and maintenance of machinery and equipment, servicing and maintaining propulsion machinery, refrigeration systems, domestic services equipment and electrical generation and distribution.

 Personal Requirements:

  • physically fit and enjoy manual activities
  • able to pass a medical examination and eyesight test
  • normal colour vision
  • enjoy life at sea
  • mechanical aptitude
  • Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

More info go to the links and click on Australian Shipowners Association website, careers at sea. Also contact the Australian Institute of Marine Powered Engineers branch officials in your local area



On the spanners

Deck Officer

Deck officers are primarily responsible for the safe navigational operation of a vessel
while the vessel is at sea. They enjoy high levels of responsibility and are required to perform a range of duties. These include managing a navigational watch, designing and implementing a passage plan, monitoring the vessel’s position, speed and direction using sophisticated navigational instruments including electronic charts and RADAR. While the ship is in port deck officers are also responsible for co-coordinating cargo
operations (loading, stowage and discharge) ensuring that all procedures are carried out safely and effectively.

 Personal Requirements:

  • physically fit and enjoy manual activities
  • able to pass a medical examination and eyesight test
  • normal colour vision
  • enjoy life at sea
  • mechanical aptitude
  • Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

More info go to the links and click on Australian Shipowners Association website, careers at sea. Also contact the Australian Maritime Officers Union branch officials in your local area



Navigating

The most important people on the ship!

Steward's and Caterer’s department

A typical stewards department for an Australian cargo ship would be composed of a chief steward, a chief cook, and on the larger LNG carriers they have a a stewards assistant or "peggy". In circumstances where the crew exceeds 25 a second cook would be employed.

The chief steward directs, instructs, and assigns personnel performing such functions as preparing and serving meals; cleaning and maintaining officers' quarters and steward department areas; and receiving, issuing, and inventorying stores. The chief steward also plans menus; compiles supply and cost control records. May requisition or purchase stores and equipment. May bake bread, rolls, cakes, pies, and pastries. A chief steward's duties may overlap with those of the steward's assistant the chief cook, and other Steward's Department crew members.

On large passenger vessels (mostly overseas and cruise liners), the Catering Department is headed by the chief purser and managed by assistant pursers. Under the pursers are the department heads - such as chief cook, head waiter, head barman etc. They are responsible for the administration of their own areas.

Ultimately the chief cook is one of  the most important people on the ship. Good food means a happy crew and a happy ship. This is extremely important when we are away from our family and friends. 

More info go to the links and click on Australian Shipowners Association website, careers at sea. Also contact the Maritime Union of Australia branch officials in your local area

 

What its really like at sea

Life at sea

Mariners live much of their life spent beyond the reach of land. They face sometimes dangerous conditions at sea. Yet men and women still go to sea. For some, the attraction is a life unencumbered with the restraints of life ashore. Sea-going adventure and a chance to see the world also appeal to many seafarers. Whatever the calling, those who live and work at sea invariably confront social isolation.

Findings by the Seafarer's International Research Center indicate a leading cause of mariners leaving the industry is "almost invariably because they want to be with their families." Industry experts increasingly recognize isolation, stress, and fatigue as occupational hazards. Advocacy groups such as International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency, and the Nautical Institute are seeking improved international standards for mariners.

Ocean voyages are steeped in routine. Maritime tradition dictates that each day be divided into six four-hour periods. Two groups of watchkeepers from the deck departments work four hours on then have eight hours off watchkeeping. This cycle repeats endlessly, 24 hours a day while the ship is at sea. When all the watches are filled Seamen (IRs, ABs, GDPs, Greasers) are typically day-workers and work under the direction of the Bo'sun or CIR.

Members of the Engineering department typically are day workers, with one engineer per night "on the gear" which means he/she responds to all the nightly alarm calls.

Members of the catering department typically are day workers who put in at least eight-hour shifts.

Service aboard ships typically extends for months at a time, followed by protracted shore leave. However, some seamen secure jobs on ships they like and stay aboard for years.

In rare cases, veteran mariners choose never to go ashore when in port. Further, the often quick turnaround of many modern ships, spending only a matter of hours in port, limits a seafarer's free-time ashore. Moreover, some foreign seamen entering U.S. ports from a watchlist of 25 high-risk countries face restrictions on shore leave due to security concerns in a post 9/11 environment. 

Such restrictions on shore leave coupled with reduced time in port by many ships translate into longer periods at sea. Mariners report that extended periods at sea living and working with shipmates who for the most part are strangers takes getting used to. At the same time, there is an opportunity to meet people from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Recreational opportunities have improved aboard some ships, which may feature gyms and day rooms for watching movies, libraries, internet access a bar and rec room, and other activities. And in some cases, especially on overseas flagged ships with long contracts or swings it is made possible for a mariner to be accompanied by members of his family. However, a mariner’s off duty time is largely a solitary affair, pursuing hobbies, reading, writing emails, and sleeping.

 

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