Hawaii Teacher on Board

By Naidah Gamurot

Position: Chief Mate

Person Interviewed: Gray Drewry, Chief Mate

Location: Bridge of R/V Thomas G. Thompson

Date: October 22, 1998

gray- Chief Mate (L. Dolby)

Describe some of the daily responsibilities and daily activities of the Chief Mate?

The Chief Mate is responsible for the stability of the ship - he keeps the ship from tipping over. He is also responsible for loading the ship and is in charge of all seamen and mates on board. He is the 2nd in command and is the ship's medical officer

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

A good sense of humor. Strong leadership skills are necessary because of the increased responsibility. He must have the ability to teach others his knowledge and skills. He must be able to work well with people and direct others. And, he must be able to take orders and make decisions.

What kinds of high school courses would you recommend for someone considering this type of work?

Math, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. This is used to plot courses. Earth science and geography classes for navigating by the stars, knowing the tides and ocean currents. Any anatomy, safety, and first aid classes, since he is the medical officer on board. Chemistry, especially for those working on tankers, and courses that develop writing and organizational skills are important. Any courses that help develop a person's "people" skills would be extremely helpful.

What additional training is require or available after high school?

EMT (Emergency Medical Training) is required.

Additional training is available from a maritime academy.

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


What is the entry-level job for this position?

The entry-level job is ordinary seaman. That position must be held for 1 year (365) days at sea. Then, progressing to AB Seaman (Mariner 2), for a duration of 3 years - at sea. Moving on to 3rd Mate for one year, then becoming 2nd Mate. After 1 year at sea, the 2nd Mate is eligible for Chief Mate.

What is the next higher level?


What are your working hours like?

8-hour shifts everyday. There are no weekends when out to 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 $3,306. 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?

One of the people in charge - increased responsibility. Traveling and learning new things. 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. At this level the individual risks losing their license and/or spending jailtime for poor decisions.

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