Archive of: A Mariner's Notebook

Title Issue

New technologies should assist seafarers, not eliminate them

Whenever he’s not working, it’s almost a sure bet that our friend Phil will be standing in an open field somewhere guiding his radio-controlled helicopters and planes through the air. A roofer by trade, Phil was having dinner with my wife and I recently and told us he wanted to take his hobby to the next level — operating a personal drone.

February 2015

Our industry needs to protect mariners’ paid vacation time

By law, every worker in the 28-country European Union, Australia and New Zealand is legally mandated to receive at least a month of paid vacation each year — with six weeks the norm in many of those countries.

December/January 2015

US must provide funds for Arctic nautical charts, icebreaking

Twenty-nine years ago, my wife and I spent our honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies at Banff and Jasper national parks. On a sunny July day, we took a tour of the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield, going on the glacier in a special “ice bus.”

October/November 2014

Greater workload means ships need to have more crew

My dad sailed on commercial vessels as an able seaman and boatswain in the 1950s and 1960s, including several T2 tankers.

September 2014

Advice to new mariners: embrace job variety, training, networking

This time each year thousands of newly credentialed mariners enter our profession. If you are one of them, I welcome you to our industry and commend you on your choice of occupation.

August 2014

The time has come to clean up indoor air pollution on ships

Many people think that merchant mariners spend almost all of their time outside in the fresh sea air while on board a vessel. The reality is that we spend most of our time inside.

June/July 2014

Mariners need up-to-date UHF radios and must use them properly

There are certain radio frequencies designated for maritime UHF (ultra high frequency) use, specified in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

May 2014

It’s time to re-evaluate the Merchant Mariner Oath

April 2014

Maritime-themed movies, TV shows can inspire new seafarers

Pirates! German U-boats trying to torpedo the convoy! Passengers and crew held captive! The captain gets washed overboard in a typhoon! The hazards of being at sea on a commercial vessel, in peace and during war, have been the basis for some great movies and television series.

March 2014

New STCW security endorsements required on U.S. vessels

As I write this there are 64 commercial mariners facing the same hell that Capt. Richard Phillips survived during the Maersk Alabama incident in 2009 — being held hostage by Somali pirates. In the past year there have been nearly 250 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against commercial vessels reported worldwide.

February 2014
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