Hawaii Teacher on Board

By Naidah Gamurot

Position: 3rd Mate

Location: Bridge of R/V Thomas G. Thompson

Date: October 22, 1998

Describe some of the daily responsibilities and daily activities of the 3rd mate?

The 3rd mate is in charge of bridge watch, plots the ship's course, follows the plot, tracks the ship, uses radar, radios, maps, the safety and fire-fighting equipment, and is in charge of maintaining the small boats.

What are some of the skills, physical abilities, and personal characteristics someone should have if considering becoming a 3rd mate?

Strong leadership skills are necessary because of the increased responsibility. The person must also have the ability to teach others their knowledge. The 3rd mate must work well with people and be able to direct others. The ability to make decisions is very important.

What kinds of high school courses are recommended for someone considering this type of work?

Math, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. These are used to plot and maintain courses. Earth science and geography classes for navigating by the stars and knowing the tides and ocean currents. Any safety or first aid classes would also be helpful.

What additional training is require or available after high school?

Attending a 4-year maritime academy would allow a person to start as 3rd mate, skipping ordinary and AB seaman.

What is the job market like in this position or field?

The job market is good, but specialized training is required.

What is the entry-level job for this position?

Ordinary seaman, also called mariner 1. After 1 year (365days) at sea, an ordinary seaman can progress to able bodied seaman (mariner 2). After 3 years at sea, the able bodied seaman may progress to the next level.

What is the next higher level?

2nd mate. After 1 year at sea as 3rd mate, a person would become eligible to take the exam for 2nd mate.

What the working hours like?

8-hour shifts everyday. There are no weekends off while at sea.

In what kind of environment do you work?

Anywhere on the ship.

What is the average starting salary for your job?

On the Thompson, Starting base pay is $2,465. In addition to base pay, everyone on board also receives a 15% Sea Premium Pay while the ship is away from home port and 8 hours overtime at time-and-a-half for each Saturday, Sunday, and holiday while the ship is away from home.

What are some positive features of your job?

Travel, learning many new things, taking on more responsibilities. More involved with the daily movement of the ship.

What are some negative features of your job?

More responsibility and now being accountable in a court of law for decisions made at sea. This is a level where the individual can lose their license and/or spending jailtime for poor decisions.

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