Who had the best job on board?

Charlie Stitt
8th September 2010, 18:51
I often gave this subject some thought, who really had the best job, taking into account, responsibilty,( or lack of it), wages, stress,(or lack of it), contentment and job satisfaction. Once I got my first trip as 2nd Mate out of the way, I felt confident, loved chartwork and all aspects of navigation. Attending the medical locker for an hour after brekky was no longer a chore, just routine, and I had actually fallen in love with the 12 to 4 watch. As for responsibility, just about right, I was happy enough with the wages, and of course I was aware of all the good prospects for advancement,should I decide to move out of this comfortable position. Yes I thought, I have the best job on the ship. What about you??

stein
8th September 2010, 19:08
The electrician - nobody but himself knew what he was about.

jbo
8th September 2010, 19:43
Anyone who wasn't a watchkeeper!!!!!

timo
8th September 2010, 20:33
I agree with Stein,the 'leccy, always in a clean white boilersuit, never getting mucky, apart from the odd drydock, permanent daywork and usually their own boss spending all day walking round with a couple of fluorescent light bulbs.

Ron Stringer
8th September 2010, 21:30
Come on, let's hear it for the R/O.

For the great majority of the time we had a cushy office job inside, sitting down, away from the weather, isolated from the hot, humid and smelly engine room and away from the hot and steamy galley. Apart from the Old Man, the Chief Engineer and the Chief Steward, who had those working conditions?

All our meals were prepared for us, our cabins were cleaned by someone else and we were waited on at table.

And to cap it off, we were not responsible for anyone else's actions, had no management responsibilities and no one else on the ship knew what we were doing and whether or not we were doing it properly.

You want some more gilt on the gingerbread? Well when we got into port we had nothing to do and our time was our own - we could sod off wherever we wanted as long as we were back by sailing time.

Nobody, but nobody, could match it.

Basil
8th September 2010, 21:39
I was going to suggest the Chippy but Ron has persuaded me.
I was a youngster at sea and time off in port would have been great - or could have been seriously self destructive (Pint)(ballet)(H)

Derek Roger
8th September 2010, 21:43
Me ! and I always loved it . Derek

spongebob
8th September 2010, 22:26
Apart from having to do the 12 to 4 watch I never had it sweeter, or as boring, as serving as third freezer on Rangitane.
Large, pristine clean, engine room with teak decking around the Co2 machinery,fault free equipment, clean white overalls and little to do.
The biggest jobs were putting the beer into the brine room at the right time to ensure ideal chill level for the deck and main engine room gathering in the smoke room at the watch end and calling past the galley to collect a dozen or so hot crescent bread rolls to go with the cheese for the snacks.

Bob

jimthehat
8th September 2010, 22:32
I often gave this subject some thought, who really had the best job, taking into account, responsibilty,( or lack of it), wages, stress,(or lack of it), contentment and job satisfaction. Once I got my first trip as 2nd Mate out of the way, I felt confident, loved chartwork and all aspects of navigation. Attending the medical locker for an hour after brekky was no longer a chore, just routine, and I had actually fallen in love with the 12 to 4 watch. As for responsibility, just about right, I was happy enough with the wages, and of course I was aware of all the good prospects for advancement,should I decide to move out of this comfortable position. Yes I thought, I have the best job on the ship. What about you??

Charlie, I am with you there 2/0 on the far east run,especially with a mate who made sure that the 3/0 had his fair share of working nights in all those great far east loading ports.

jim

Johnnietwocoats
8th September 2010, 22:35
#1 Leckie.......

Then Sparks......

Alan Rawlinson
9th September 2010, 08:17
It's a no brainer. The apprentices, of course... No responsibility, tons of fun, heightened senses, great appetites, and all the excitement you could want. Never to be repeated.

david harrod
9th September 2010, 09:18
It's a no brainer. The apprentices, of course... No responsibility, tons of fun, heightened senses, great appetites, and all the excitement you could want. Never to be repeated.

And you could lend engineers money at exhorbitant (usually beery) interest rates!

Alan Rawlinson
9th September 2010, 10:33
And you could lend engineers money at exhorbitant (usually beery) interest rates!

Not sure if you meant lend or borrow - my start wages were 4.11.8 per month, but outgoings were minimal, unless we were in a wild port somewhere!

chadburn
9th September 2010, 11:08
Most certainly the R/O.

jimthehat
9th September 2010, 11:32
Not sure if you meant lend or borrow - my start wages were 4.11.8 per month, but outgoings were minimal, unless we were in a wild port somewhere!

Alan ,i see that I started off at sea in more enlightened times than you my wages for the first year were 5.16.8 a month.

jim

R58484956
9th September 2010, 11:59
Staff chief engineer on a large ship, never never in the ER and you never ever saw him. An absolutely fantastic job.

Dickyboy
9th September 2010, 12:34
GP1 With BP.
I did it for 10 years, and enjoyed it immensely. I liked the veriety, a couple of weeks down the pit, a couple of weeks on deck, and a couple of weeks watchkeeping on the bridge. And the bestest job of all? Steering, I loved steering. Especially on long pilotages, up the Congo, or the Bonny River for example. The pay was pretty good as well. By my standards at least.
I kick myself up the backside every day for ever packing it in. It's all changed now of course.

Jim Mclaughlin
9th September 2010, 13:29
Defo R/O.
On Industria anytime I saw him he was building model Kits.
The one time I saw him outdoors on the monkey island was to fix a broken wire on the mast and he got the deck boy to climb aloft to fix that (Yours trully)
Jim

michael charters
9th September 2010, 13:33
Chief Electrical Engineering Officer. Was the best Job. But not many would touch the DC electrical switch gear.

Nova Scotian
9th September 2010, 14:01
I sailed on Ellerman's City of Winchester and her sister City of Brisbane. Although the crews were Indian, the three quartermasters were Brits and usually from the north of Scotland. They had a nice little number. Their own quarters complete with steward. The job wasn't that demanding either. A mixture of lookout, bridge cleaning , and gangway watches.....four on and eight off. However, this was the late sixties....didn't we all have the best jobs then?

McMorine
9th September 2010, 14:49
I agree with Stein,the 'leccy, always in a clean white boilersuit, never getting mucky, apart from the odd drydock, permanent daywork and usually their own boss spending all day walking round with a couple of fluorescent light bulbs.

You must be joking, I always helped out with main engine breakdowns and there was plenty of those on the old ships. Good electrical maintenance always ensured smooth loading and discharging of cargo, even if the Chief Officer always got the credit. But, yes it was a good job despite all that.

surfaceblow
9th September 2010, 15:25
I sailed opposite one Chief Engineer who's normal position was under a umbrella in a lounge chair on the Port Side. He also had a big sand box and a kiddie wading pool and a putting green. I never got the hang of spending time at his beach setup. Every time I came back from vacation I was inundated with messages for missing paperwork by the time I got the paperwork sorted out the beach weather was gone.

Alistair Macnab
9th September 2010, 16:33
Hate to sound quite so platitudinous but the best job on board was always the one you were newly in at the time! Remember the excitement of the first few months after promotion how you were going to be the best participant that ever lived and reorganize the world!
Apprentice to Third Mate... Wow!; Third Mate to Second Mate... Now I'm really going somewhere; Second Mate to Mate... This is going to be the best looking ship in ther fleet; Mate to Master....I'll not be like those other has-beens!
And then each job became commonplace once we settled in and who knows? Perhaps we were no worse and no better than the guys who went before or came after us!

Moulder
9th September 2010, 17:03
Most definitely the R/O - most of the positive points have been covered by Ron above. I loved my job and what it involved and was chuffed to find that, in addition to the travel, food and accomodation money was actually paid into my bank account every month!

In my day - who else sat in front of a rack of equipment that was a window to the world?

borderreiver
9th September 2010, 17:19
Day work 2 mate on one of the first VLCC star sights ,sunsights and planets ts sights.chart corrections occ helping the day work mates. reading classes for the master children. rest of the time swimming, running,and playing cards.

MWD
9th September 2010, 17:58
I am surprise no one has suggested the Chief Steward of almost any passenger carrying vessel during the late 50's and early 60's.

In my experiance, he was in for a % from most of the scams which characterised such vessels in the 50's and 60's.

How else, when asked about the next trip could he say "I am taking a trip off to motor round parts of South America", and he was shiping his own car from the UK!

MWD.

Charlie Stitt
9th September 2010, 18:46
Come on you Sparkies, tell the truth, you sometimes had to bite your lip and take some grief from the Old Man. I well remember on the Teakbank 1965, the whole ship vibrating as big Capt John Jack Reed blasted from in front of the duff radar. SPARRRRKKS.(Jester)

david harrod
9th September 2010, 23:31
Not sure if you meant lend or borrow - my start wages were 4.11.8 per month, but outgoings were minimal, unless we were in a wild port somewhere!

Inflation rules! I got 13.15.0 per month when I started... I remember being promoted to 2/O on the Beechbank, with an allowance for tonnage I was paid the priincely sum of 100.2.6 per month...I had cracked the big time!

simomatra
10th September 2010, 00:01
You must be joking, I always helped out with main engine breakdowns and there was plenty of those on the old ships. Good electrical maintenance always ensured smooth loading and discharging of cargo, even if the Chief Officer always got the credit. But, yes it was a good job despite all that.

Must agree with you there Alexander. I always helped with the engine work right up to retirement even did my turn on the gear so as the engineers got one in 1 in 4 not one in 3 or 1in 3 not 1 in 2.

If you did your maintenance whilst at sea in port went like a breeze breakdown wise. As for clean white overalls I only had one set and that was a part frock

Pat Kennedy
10th September 2010, 08:45
I agree with Stein,the 'leccy, always in a clean white boilersuit, never getting mucky, apart from the odd drydock, permanent daywork and usually their own boss spending all day walking round with a couple of fluorescent light bulbs.

Not the case on Blue Funnel Ships I'm afraid.
There were two electricians, and twenty six electric winches with associated switchgear in the contactor houses. The winches got a severe battering in the Far East ports where the winch drivers only knew one speed, blistering! Those poor sods worked harder than anyone else on board keeping all that gear running smoothly.
The Doctor/male nurse carried on those ships had the best job. Morning surgery at nine for half an hour, and that was it for the day, plus the occasional jab for the crew which might take an hour or so to complete.
Best regards,
Pat(Thumb)

mikeg
10th September 2010, 10:50
Come on you Sparkies, tell the truth, you sometimes had to bite your lip and take some grief from the Old Man. I well remember on the Teakbank 1965, the whole ship vibrating as big Capt John Jack Reed blasted from in front of the duff radar. SPARRRRKKS.(Jester)

I can relate to that. An engineering cadet unfortunately caused me quite a lot of grief. He was manually parallelling alternators and for some unknown reason brought the second alternator in when phases & amplitudes were completely out of sync thus causing a massive supply surge. All three radars failed and the radar interswitch unit and the doppler log, echo sounder, radio room main receiver, communal amplifier, telephone exchange and many crews radios, tape machines etc. The type of failure were all different on the radars (apart that is from fuses), one was scan timebase transistors, second one was in the transmitter. This gave me a full two days work and several pages added to the fault log book. The cadet apologised profusely to me and bought me beers in recompense. We got on fine after that, after all everyone is allowed one mistake (except in aviation (Smoke))

Waighty
10th September 2010, 11:23
I often gave this subject some thought, who really had the best job, taking into account, responsibilty,( or lack of it), wages, stress,(or lack of it), contentment and job satisfaction. Once I got my first trip as 2nd Mate out of the way, I felt confident, loved chartwork and all aspects of navigation. Attending the medical locker for an hour after brekky was no longer a chore, just routine, and I had actually fallen in love with the 12 to 4 watch. As for responsibility, just about right, I was happy enough with the wages, and of course I was aware of all the good prospects for advancement,should I decide to move out of this comfortable position. Yes I thought, I have the best job on the ship. What about you??


After leaving Bank Line the best job was as Master with the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service on their seagoing vessels. No Merchant Shipping Acts (just MoD regs at that time), unregistered vessels, no regular routes, massive amounts of shiphandling (great fun), hugely varied tasks and jobs. So long as you met the customer's requirements how you went about it was up to you. I loved every minute of it

Burned Toast
10th September 2010, 11:25
Me - once we sailed only had to type the menus(Jester):sweat: and open the envelopes from the last port(K)

Ray(Smoke)

Dickyboy
10th September 2010, 12:50
R O must have been pretty good. A guaranteed three minute break twice every hour :o

mikeg
10th September 2010, 13:29
R O must have been pretty good. A guaranteed three minute break twice every hour :o

Or 4 times each hour if you observe both W/T & R/T silence periods (==D)

rknibbs
10th September 2010, 15:28
When I went to the Shipping Federation in London to discuss a career in the MN I was told that the R/O had the best job, so that's what I did, and it was

Charlie Stitt
10th September 2010, 18:35
Me - once we sailed only had to type the menus(Jester):sweat: and open the envelopes from the last port(K)

Ray(Smoke)

Right enough Ray, you guys in the Galley had it easy.(Jester) A friend of mine here at Home, left the sea as a ships Chief Cook, after hearing stories about his time in the galley, I would not expect a ships cook to come on here and seriously claim to have had the best job on board. You guys deserved medals.(Thumb)

TonyAllen
10th September 2010, 18:47
Oh I dont know when I was galley boy on the Elpenor with Bill Johnson chef Joe hughes 2nd Arthur ? baker I thought I had the best job on board becouse they looked after me so well and I had a great time on that first trip on a blue boat Regards Tony

smithax
7th October 2010, 15:17
Just noticed this thread.

Left about two years ago. Always thought I had the best job, as Master on VLCCs.

Work not exactly arduous, on long passages paperwork cleared away fairly quickly. Good cabin, your own boss within certain limits.

The best time I had at sea was as Master.

I'll wait for the flack.

AS

John Dryden
7th October 2010, 15:37
I was talking to someone last night whose brother is Master of a large LNG tanker,he told him it can be very lonely at times on those kind of vessels,with long periods where you see no one.

smithax
7th October 2010, 15:48
John
You are right it can be lonely, reading, watching DVDs alone, but on ships I can be a bit of a loner so it didn't matter too much to me.

During the daytime there was always plenty of people to annoy though.

AS

kewl dude
15th October 2010, 20:34
I too would have to vote for the R/O. NO ONE on board knew how to do his job, so as long as he remained reasonably sober NO ONE bothered him. R/O's worked an eight hour day split up in increments so he was in his shack between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM. Lunch time he took two hours off, after eating he went to his quarters and took an afternoon nap. Off hours if the SOS alarm went off he went into his shack and checked and if it was nothing reset the alarm and left. An easy 4 hours OT for a "call out".

I attach a picture I took in Gitmo early 70's that I took with my brand new Polaroid SX-70 that I had bought that day at the Post Exchange. SX-70's were not yet available in the states but there they were in Cuba.

The dude on the left sitting on the gunnel dressed head to toe in white including shoes was the R/O. Everyone called him Tex as he was from Dallas. On most ships I sailed I hung out with the R/O. Our ship was in Tampa shipyard for an overhaul and I went with Tex while he was looking for a new car. He wanted a sports car and we looked at some of those something something 40 built by Ford in Europe someplace and imported to the USA. He liked those cars a lot but they did not have a one on the lot that did not have splits in the leather seats. So he ended up buying a Porsche.

Tex then drove his brand new Porsche home to Dallas for a few weeks. When he returned I asked him if I could take his Porsche out for a spin and he handed me the keys. I got out on the interstate and ran it through the gears and was really impressed. So cruising along @ 70 MPH in fifth I downshifted to 4th to see what the tach would do. I then downshifted to 3rd, then 2nd and still the tach had not approached the red line. But since it was not my car I did not downshift to first.

So when I get back I mention this to him and he replied "fifth?" He had driven from Tampa to Dallas and back and never noticed there were five gears instead of four.

The picture was taken as we were on a US Navy liberty boat taking us from the town to the isolated part of the base where the oil pier was. The two black guys on the left worked in the galley. The guy in the middle in the blue shirt was a VERY inebriated 3rd mate. On the right is Chic (Charles) Sellers C/E, I was 1 A/E. Chic and I got along really good and when possible went ashore together.

Early 70's the US Navy was having a problem finding people -- can you say Vietnam? -- so they came up with this scheme called Contractor Operated where they put their sailors on the ships with guns and hired we civilians to operate their auxiliary ships.

As part of this scheme there were only four engineers on board -- versus the norm of five or six or seven -- so as 1 A/E I worked the 8-12 watch so Chic and I went ashore together afternoons. I keep hoping that Chic Sellers will check in here at Ships Nostalgia, I would really like to hook up with him again. When we sailed together Chic lived way up atop a beach front condo tower in Tampa with a really nice sea view.

I could relate a lot of fun stories of the way we civilians gave the US Navy a hard time. Chic and I seemed to get in some sticky situations now and then and had one fine time together.

Greg Hayden

nav
21st October 2010, 00:50
Survey equipment electrical engineer on a survey ship. We had one who slept for so long his self winding watch stopped.