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  • Theoretically competent

    November 17, 2019 by

    Competent crew week is done. And it has been another tiring one. This week has been about the absolute basics of making yourself useful on a boat. The idea of the competent crew course is that you can move from being a passenger on the boat to being able to help sail and maintain her.… Read more

  • Victualing

    November 12, 2019 by

    One of the things I like most about this adventure is that you can tell just how old an activity sailing is by the wonderfully archaic terminology that crops up everywhere. Victualing is the practice of planning meals for your journey and shopping for the ingredients. If you’ve ever been camping, this is a lot… Read more

  • Meet an asshole in the morning

    November 10, 2019 by

    I’m not a fan of television. I’m more of a looking-for-the-mouse person. But I do have a soft spot for Justified. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with cowboy films and find this modern take on the genre entrancing, or because of the depth and colour of the characters, or because of… Read more

  • Week 1 in review

    November 8, 2019 by

    First qualification done – I’ve completed the STCW basic safety course. I’m now minimally qualified to stand a watch on a commercial vessel. I think this is roughly the equivalent of being trusted to wear a hard hat and carry bricks around a building site, but I am actually allowed to do that now. My… Read more

  • STCW: First aid

    November 8, 2019 by

    Finally, something I’m familiar with. Everyone should know first aid. There’s no excuse not to. If someone collapses in front of you, do you really want to have to stand there and watch them die because you didn’t learn how to put someone in the recovery position? I’ve done several over the years and I… Read more

  • STCW: Personal survival techniques

    November 7, 2019 by

    The hairs on the back of my neck stand up just a little when I think about the fact that a required module of this course is essentially “ways to avoid dying at sea”. I’m paying attention to this one, even more so than yesterday’s “how not to die in a fire”.

  • STCW: Fire prevention and fire fighting

    November 5, 2019 by

    How the hell can it only be day 2? We spent today learning about fire prevention and how to deal with it if it does break out. From my perspective, the tldr takeaway is that while large commercial vessels often have effective fire management systems, small boats are usually made entirely of highly flammable material… Read more

  • Bonus learning

    November 4, 2019 by

    STCW is a series of short modules, each with its own paperwork. I’ve filled in so many next-of-kin boxes today I can finally remember my wife’s mobile number without looking it up.

  • First week – STCW

    November 4, 2019 by

    We’re starting with the Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. Today has been all about personal safety and social responsibilities. This is a commercial qualification that’s required for anyone standing a watch at sea, from lowly sailors like myself to merchant marine crew on the big boats. This week is going to be entirely shore… Read more

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