Advice For A Young Ship’s Officer.

bow wave of a ship in fog

by John Konrad (gCaptain) A new ship can be an intimidating place for a deck officer so here are a few tips to get you started and to remind you of what is important once you are underway. 

  • Find a great mentor aboard your ship and if you can’t, find a new ship.
    • A great mentor may be a bosun, engineer and sometimes a cook.
  • Your intelligence does not increase when you are promoted.
  • Spend more time in the engine-room.
  • Forget everything you learned on your last ship.
  • Remember everything your last ship taught you.
  • Befriend the 3 B’s:
      -The Bosun
      -The Baker
      -The Best Engineer
  • Never miss a sunrise or sunset.
  • Carry a pen, paper, and extra flashlight everywhere.
  • If you say you will do something, write it down and cross it off when finished.
  • Report any screw-up but stay silent when you are exceptionally proud of your work.
  • Relish the fresh air, fresh breath and fresh ideas you find at sea.
  • Make your own bed every morning
  • Only gossip while knitting.
  • Make the Chief Mate and 1st Engineer’s job easier.
  • Know thy job, thy ship and thyself.
  • The Captain is not your best friend or worst enemy. Sleep is!
  • Ask more questions.
  • Get ship done!
  • Listen harder.
  • Always sail toward your waypoint even when you make no way.
  • Keep your chronometer wound, your sextant corrected and the magnetic compass tuned because you might never need them.
  • Call the captain more often than necessary. The good ones will appreciate it and the bad ones will be annoyed.
  • The three things most likely to end your career are ignoring the COLREGS, ignoring the Captain’s orders and ignoring the warning signs that you are about to marry the wrong person.
  • The last item is in reverse order.
  • Before telling a sea-story ask yourself three questions:
      -Is it a great story?
      -Are you sure?
      -Really??
  • Find new sea stories.
  • Go read Part 2 of this article: Advice For A Young Watch Officer