Hello Everyone, this is article is part of the life at sea section and we hope you all enjoy the read. Gear up to dive into the great experience of maritime professionals.

Welcome back to the second part of my article ‘Life of Engine Cadet’. I hope that all of you enjoyed reading the first part and many of you were able to get a glimpse of the life you will be living in your near future. In my previous article, I had already reached till morning coffee time so let’s continue from there.

For reading the first part, click here.

UMS Ship
UMS Ship, Source: Internet, Courtesy: Marine Insight

For a seafarer, coffee time is one of the most awaited times in the day. It is so because this is the time when the whole Ship’s Crew gets to sit together and enjoy a varied range of conversations. Generally, the ships have a separate coffee station for Engineers in the Engine Control Room. So all the engineers usually assemble in the ECR during coffee time. I believe you would have already guessed that being the Cadet, you would be given the responsibility of the ECR’s Coffee Station. So your job here will be quite simple, i.e. to ensure everything is clean and all ingredients like Coffee, Milk, Water, Sugar, etc. are available in abundance. My personal suggestion to you is that always check the coffee station once before leaving the Engine Room in the evening and make sure that you bring the required item from the mess room the next morning while reporting to Engine Room. I know that initially, you might feel that you are a graduated engineer but still, you have to do such jobs which are done by peons in the corporate world on land. However, you must understand that you chose a job where hierarchy and rank matters a lot, therefore being the junior-most, such jobs will keep coming to you throughout your contract. So, don’t think much and just go with the flow. Moreover, if you are able to do these small jobs responsibly, it will be very well noted by your seniors and who knows you might be sailing again with one of them when you become a certified Engineer Officer. Trust me, all information about you reaches on board well in advance before you. So just imagine, you are joining as a 4th Engineer on a ship and the same second engineer is there who was with you during your cadetship. If you have been a responsible guy back then, he will certainly remember that and will have a positive attitude towards you way before you have even boarded the ship. So in my opinion, it’s a win-win situation if you are doing every single job responsibly during your cadetship, without having any superiority complex.

Now let’s move forward, coffee time ends at 1030 Hrs. and by 1035 Hrs. everyone would have already left the ECR and proceeded back to their work. Take care that you are the first one to leave ECR. This will show your promptness for your job. Now you can continue your job for another 1 Hr. till 1130 Hrs. Once it is 1130 Hrs. you will have to come back to ECR to fill the Engine Log Book. This is a tricky job because, in the next 30 minutes, you have to fill in at least a hundred different parameters of Engine Room in the logbook and take care that none of the readings is false or forged. Guys, let me tell you very clearly that forging the parameters in Log Book is a very big offense and I have seen cadets being kicked out of the company due to the same. So if you feel that Thirty Minutes are insufficient for you to fill the Log Book, request your second engineer if you can start at 1120 Hrs. itself. However, I am quite certain that after your first month, you will be able to fill the Log Book even in fifteen minutes that too clearly and correctly. It will be so because, you yourself are recording all the parameters during your morning rounds and if you are doing it the way I told you in my last article, you would not even require to see it while writing it in the Log Book. It would be already there in your head. Once you have filled the Log Book, make sure you get it signed by the Duty Engineer. Try to be ready with the Log Book by 1155 Hrs. because your Lunch Time will start at 1200 Hrs. and you must have five minutes in your hand to change your boiler suit, wash your hands, give the Log Book to Chief Engineer and finally proceed for lunch. The more you get delayed in going up from Engine Room, the less time you will get for Lunch and afternoon power nap. Yes correct, the power nap, one of the important things which will keep you going for the remaining four hours.

Post Lunch, the reporting time is 1300 Hrs. Like morning, again you have to be the first one in Engine Room and have to Man the Engine Room before others come in. The second working half is from 1300 Hrs. to 1700 Hrs. It too comprises of an evening coffee time from 1500 Hrs. to 1530 Hrs. I have already told you about the coffee time in detail so I won’t be talking about it now. Rather I would like to highlight something more important now. Guys, you will feel that on several days the jobs given to you would be finished off by 1500 Hrs. and you would be free after the coffee time. Now it is up to you how you want to utilize this time. One of the ways is by stretching your jobs and intentionally doing them slowly to waste this time. However, it will be of no use to you other than helping you to escape some extra work. A more positive and constructive way is to finish off all your work and then ask your second engineer if there is some other work and in case there isn’t any then ask him if you can do some of your training bookwork. By training bookwork, I don’t mean that you have to fill your TAR book now, rather you have to do the practical activities of the TAR book now. Suppose you have an activity of drawing the Sea Water Cooling system in your TAR book, So you can either copy it directly from the available line diagram on board, or you can utilize this free time in actually tracing the pipelines and seeing the position of each and every valve of this system and later on drawing whatever you were able to understand. Having told you this much, I leave it on you to decide which way of filling the TAR book will be more beneficial to you keeping in mind that you have to appear for six written and four oral exams after that very contract, and most of the questions in these exams are based on the work you carried out on-board.

As we had assumed in the beginning that it is a normal day onboard and no critical or emergency operation is going on so the day work will finish off at 1700 Hrs. However, the day’s work has not yet been over for you. You are still left with a UMS Round but I will be covering the same in my next article. Stay Tuned!!

Authored By:- Mrinal Jha

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