Archive of: A Mariner's Notebook

Title Issue

Laid off? Flexibility and license upgrades can brighten your future

For longer than I have been in the business, the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has been “boom or bust.”

March 2016

US must invest in Arctic maritime facilities, new icebreakers

After getting an urgent phone call for an emergency relief position, I was making an unexpected airplane trip to catch a fish-processing ship working in the Bering Sea near the Arctic Circle.

February 2016

Flags of convenience are a disgrace to the maritime industry

I had completed the academic requirements for graduation from California Maritime Academy and passed my third mate’s exam, so all I had to do was make sure there were no library fines and wait a week until the official graduation ceremony.

December/January 2016

Regulators should simplify medical certificate requirements

It was a cold, clear February day in 2014, and my wife and I were picking up our mail at the local post office.

October/November 2015

IMO noise rules aren’t enough to protect mariners’ hearing

I had just finished a four-day temporary job as a deck hand on a combination towing vessel/landing craft, working for a large West Coast company out of Long Beach, Calif.

September 2015
Plan ahead for next year’s STCW gap-closing deadline

Plan ahead for next year’s STCW gap-closing deadline

It was the autumn of 1999, and I had been filling in for one of the permanent mates for a 45-day work tour on an oceanographic ship.

August 2015

Be sure to keep up with changes to national endorsements

Tom, a deck hand/cook I sailed with on a tug years ago, called me awhile back out of the blue.

June/July 2015

At sea, stress management is now a critical part of the job

I was working on a crude oil tanker, running between Valdez, Alaska, and the West Coast.

May 2015

Crewmates with bad attitude require thoughtful response

There’s no avoiding it. Living, working and eating meals with the same crewmembers day in and day out for weeks or months at a time is part of life aboard ship.

April 2015

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
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