The option to progress to a shore-based maritime role should be a more obvious part of the Merchant Navy career structure, says master mariner Mike Wall, who is planning a two-day career guidance seminar for seafarers looking to become marine superintendents or surveyors
Throughout their seagoing careers, many officers are focused only on becoming a master or chief engineer. However, after several years of sailing in a senior rank, many look to come ashore, particularly when starting a family.
Often, officers will remain in the shipping industry by taking up positions as pilots, harbour masters, superintendents and surveyors, but a large number may be lost to other disciplines. We need to stem this flow.
Back in the early 1980s, when I was a senior lecturer at Warsash Maritime Academy, we used to have tutorial periods where the students had some private study time. Often, they would ask what they could do once they achieved their Class 1 Certificate of Competency. I would put a diagram on the board showing the ship in the centre with all the parties involved directly and indirectly with its operations. I would then summarise the roles of the various people and opportunities. Many years later, several of my ex-students remind me of how helpful this was to them.
In mid-2018, I published two articles in the Marine Society’s blog entitled Becoming a Marine Superintendent and Becoming a Marine Surveyor. The response was both welcome and unexpected, with one email a week received requesting more information on progressing to either of these positions. Everyone who responded has received an individual response suggesting a way forward and several have requested more information.
I believe the response has shown that there is not enough career guidance out there for Merchant Navy officers. To help reverse that situation, I am seeking to establish an annual two-day seminar for those who are interested.
One day will be dedicated to becoming a marine superintendent, covering Technical, Nautical, New Building, Personnel and Vetting. The other day will look at becoming one of the various types of marine surveyor, e.g. Class, Government and Independent.
If the seminar is well supported, information about becoming a marine pilot or harbour master could be added to the programme.
The seminar is intended to be a non-profit-making event with fees only charged to cover speaker and venue costs. Possible venues are London and Bangkok. Attendees will need to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation.
- To express an interest in the seminar, contact Mike Wall by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp at +66 8 0572 6069.