Qualified Deck Officer, Thinking of moving from Cruise Ships to RFA

Hi

I'm currently a qualified Deck Officer with Chief Mate Unlimited, currently working on cruise ships. I'm currently toying with the idea of applying for the RFA. This would be a bit of a gamble because I'd be taking a 40% paycut and I would be away from home for longer than I am at the moment so I'm not sure if the move would be a bit suicidal. What I really want with a job at sea is a sense of belonging and also feeling part of a team, which is not something I am getting from my current job. I also like the sound of the lifestyle and the extra trainings, it sounds more varied from what you get on Cruise Ships.

I also have some questions if anyone could please answer them:

1) Do Deck Officers do watch when alongside?
2) How much overtime are you expected to work outside of your watch duty?
3) How many crew are invloved in a bidge watch? Is it single watchkeeping or Nav, Co Nav set up? Also do you follow some kind of Bridge Resource Management practices when on watch?
4) What's the lifestyle like onboard? Social activites, gym etc
5) Are there any talks of reducing the time spent away from home i.e: doing a 3 month on/off rotaiton

Thanks
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Hi

I'm currently a qualified Deck Officer with Chief Mate Unlimited, currently working on cruise ships. I'm currently toying with the idea of applying for the RFA. This would be a bit of a gamble because I'd be taking a 40% paycut and I would be away from home for longer than I am at the moment so I'm not sure if the move would be a bit suicidal. What I really want with a job at sea is a sense of belonging and also feeling part of a team, which is not something I am getting from my current job. I also like the sound of the lifestyle and the extra trainings, it sounds more varied from what you get on Cruise Ships.

I also have some questions if anyone could please answer them:

1) Do Deck Officers do watch when alongside?
2) How much overtime are you expected to work outside of your watch duty?
3) How many crew are invloved in a bidge watch? Is it single watchkeeping or Nav, Co Nav set up? Also do you follow some kind of Bridge Resource Management practices when on watch?
4) What's the lifestyle like onboard? Social activites, gym etc
5) Are there any talks of reducing the time spent away from home i.e: doing a 3 month on/off rotaiton

Thanks
1) No alongside you shift to day work, taking it in turns/ in rota as the duty officer.

2) Really depends what's going on, all the watch keepers have other duties which take up those precious off watch hours. Sometimes they take up very little time(because you got them sorted in port) sometimes it's almost watch on stop on (when doing some of the FOST training).

4) Standard is 1x OOW with 2x ABs as your watch keepers. Entering / Leaving Harbour will be every man and his dog (including the Chief Engineer).

5) Social life on the ships at sea mainly revolves around the day workers off duty schedules and mainly is whatever fun the ships organisation comes up with (ie very variable), most fun happens in port for the Watch keepers. But our ships have bars, a gym, satellite TV systems (in cabins and public spaces).

6) We had been trialing reducing our rotation from 4months on 3off to 3on 2.25 off (ie leave is in same ratio).

Covid challenges stopped the trial early, HQ is currently analysing the data about whether it worked for them and the people on the trial.

When off ship leave is not used/burnt for ashore training or meetings etc. So effectively most people do better than the official ratios.
 
1) No alongside you shift to day work, taking it in turns/ in rota as the duty officer.

2) Really depends what's going on, all the watch keepers have other duties which take up those precious off watch hours. Sometimes they take up very little time(because you got them sorted in port) sometimes it's almost watch on stop on (when doing some of the FOST training).

4) Standard is 1x OOW with 2x ABs as your watch keepers. Entering / Leaving Harbour will be every man and his dog (including the Chief Engineer).

5) Social life on the ships at sea mainly revolves around the day workers off duty schedules and mainly is whatever fun the ships organisation comes up with (ie very variable), most fun happens in port for the Watch keepers. But our ships have bars, a gym, satellite TV systems (in cabins and public spaces).

6) We had been trialing reducing our rotation from 4months on 3off to 3on 2.25 off (ie leave is in same ratio).

Covid challenges stopped the trial early, HQ is currently analysing the data about whether it worked for them and the people on the trial.

When off ship leave is not used/burnt for ashore training or meetings etc. So effectively most people do better than the official ratios.

Thanks for the quick reply.

3on/2.25 off sounds slightly more manegable, it's ashame they don't just allow time for time rotation.

Do you also get internet access when at sea? or do most people rely on their sim cards when coastal/alongside?

In your experience is it normal for qulified officer to transfer from different sectors of the Merchant Navy, to the RFA?
 

Random

Lantern Swinger
Thanks for the quick reply.

3on/2.25 off sounds slightly more manegable, it's ashame they don't just allow time for time rotation.

Do you also get internet access when at sea? or do most people rely on their sim cards when coastal/alongside?

In your experience is it normal for qulified officer to transfer from different sectors of the Merchant Navy, to the RFA?

Time for time would cost more money, its unlikely the Treasury would approve that sort of pay-rise anytime in the near future. However we rarely spend more than a couple of weeks at sea before a port call (and so time off), so the time aboard is less of a hardship for us than it is for the families at home.

Yes but not all ships have had public wifi rolled out yet (and it tends to be in the bars not cabins); however the bandwidth is shared with the work computers and is low. ie fine for emailing / messaging, slow for browsing, impossible to stream video. When in mobile range you will get higher speeds easily over your sim.

Plenty of former cruise and ferry deck officers within the RFA (and vice versa).
 
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