Deciding to have a career at sea by working on board with different types of ships can be very rewarding as well as challenging.
For the beginner to go out to sea there was this feeling of joy as well as fear. Fear of the unknown, uncharted territory wherein they were venturing. There was also a feeling of joy because it was their dream to work on a ship in the merchant navy and to see the world. Before deciding to join, one has to really decide if you would like to pursue a career on the deck side or on the engine.
On the deck side you can join as a deck apprentice or cadet and the career pathway is to finally become the master/captain of the vessel wherein you need to have a masters license. On the engine side, you rise to become a chief engineer of the vessel. You can also join as a deck hand and gradually work towards an integrated rating.
There are various skills you will learn on becoming a deck officer range from navigating a ship, cargo operation, to survival skills including fighting a fire. There’s plenty to learn and every job is interesting and challenging. You will also increase your awareness to keen observation powers that are required to foresee dangers and take evasive action or precautions.
As an officer you will develop leadership and management skills. As the Master of the ship you are overall in charge and in-command of a ship which is worth millions of dollars and carrying cargo which could be also worth millions. The maritime safety is in your hands.
In engineering you will learn to work and maintain diesel engines, pumps, crank shafts, batteries and various propulsion and auxiliary equipment including electricals. You will also learn to fabricate components for different engine parts. As an engine rating you will learn various skills that are required to maintain a smooth running engine room just as a mechanic would do when you give your car for servicing.
Keep in mind having a masters license to acquire a career at sea is not limited to working on cargo ships such as container vessels, tankers or even bulk careers. There are lots of white boats commonly known as yachts owned by millionaires around the world that will hire you once you have had some experience. There are also the big and medium sized cruise ships which offer plenty of scope and fun to work on. In the oil and off-shore industry there are the smaller supply boats, barges and dynamic positioning ships where there is a huge shortage of manpower.
All in all, having a career at sea is very rewarding, and the experience and knowledge gained over the years is such a great advantage for you.