Archive of: A Mariner's Notebook

Title Issue

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

A wish for happy, healthy holidays: hand-washing, sanitizer, garlic

I had taken a job on an oceanographic ship over the holidays, to give the permanent mate the opportunity to be with his wife and young son.

December/January 2014

Stowaway rats, modern biohazards point to need for health inspections aboard ships

My first year as a cadet on California Maritime Academy’s training ship Golden Bear, we were moored during a port stay in Pago Pago, American Samoa. After a long day of swimming and sightseeing ashore, I was making my way down the dock toward the gangway.

October/November 2013

Five years later, a smoother trip through the TWIC process

Anyone who holds a U.S. Coast Guard-issued Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) must have a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card.

September 2013

Shorter training programs at public colleges are viable alternative

Before entering the industry, I looked at different ways to begin my career. Back then working my way up from the bottom, “coming up the hawsepipe,” or attending a four-year academy were essentially the only two choices available to me. I decided on the academy route after visiting a couple of those four-year public institutions.

August 2013
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