Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Golf Oscar Charlie

It's Tuesday night and two days into my GMDSS GOC course. There's a LOT to take in. The last two days have mostly been about theory and protocol. We start hands on sessions tomorrow.

There's a LOT to take in. Not only that I've discovered other facets of the radio operator's job that quite frankly makes me nervous.

It's a fascinating subject though. Who knew there were so many things to learn about radio communications and maritime safety, where the radio officer plays a very, very vital part.

The thought of working at sea is quite daunting. I've spent my whole life working in cubicles. This is going to be something else. I'm also very intrigued by it. I'm suddenly thinking if I successfully find work in oil and gas I'll gain experience with which I could qualify for other work. Like on merchant vessels. Big ones. Ones that weight half a million tons and spend six months at sea at any one time.

Or cruise vessels.

Might be fun. And lucrative.

There are 11 people in my class and some of them are already employed. They were sent there by their employers to gain GOC qualifications for radio officer's posts. Lots of interesting stories they have. Some have been on (and are going back to) oil rigs. Some are seamen looking for promotion. A few are noobs like myself.

Very interesting people.

I have some thoughts after these two days.

First, you know all those times we watch movies and documentaries and there are people talking on the radio? Now those radio conversations make a whole lot more sense. Yes, we do learn that special language that radio people use.

Second, never in my entire life would I have thought that the knowledge I gained from playing flight sims and maritime/naval sims (remember Silent Hunter 4? Aces of The Deep? New Horizons?) would actually benefit me in real life. A lot of the things that the instructor (who is quite possibly the best teacher I've ever met. Seriously) shows us, I in fact already know... From games. Things like navigation terms, maritime units and what 5-by-5 means.

Third, talking on a radio looks and sounds simple but I'm discovering that there is a lot more depth and protocol to it than I could ever have imagined. Plus I must learn how to operate a very large number of electronic equipment. It's both frightening and fascinating at the same time. The responsibilties of the radio operator is huge and no mistakes will be tolerated. But if I become a good one I can work anywhere in the maritime world.

Anywhere. $$

Fourth, it's day two of my training and I still can't believe I'm actually doing it.

There's still a long way to go though. I need to pass this course and then go to another town to get another certificate before I can even set foot on a vessel/barge/rig.

I'm going to need all the luck I can muster...

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