Thursday, August 14, 2008

Third Mates and Law School

A couple of years ago I hired a lawyer to help
conduct a real estate
transaction. At our first meeting he told me
that he had attended Maine Maritime and had
sailed one voyage deep sea as
third mate. During his first job as third mate he
had encountered
heavy shipping traffic off the coast of Florida.
He told me that the experience had been
and unnerving. His first trip to sea was also his
last. After paying
off he decided to study law and had obtained his
law degree and was now
partner of the law firm.

As I listened to the lawyers story I was thinking
two things, first, I wondered if I was paying to
hear his story and second, the
coastal traffic off Florida is nothing compared to
elsewhere, Japan or China for example.

On this ship it seems we are always getting third
mates making their
first or second trip to sea. In the case of those
who have a trip or
two under their belt most have not encountered
what a trip on a car
ship though Europe, the Persian Gulf and the Far
East entails in the
way of professional challenge.

It is in my interest that a new third mate
develops his bridge and
seamanship skills as rapidly as possible so he
becomes an asset and
not a liability. Motivating a new third mate to
learn these skills sometimes is a challenging
and in some
cases an impossible task.

I have often though that new third
mates who are unwilling or unable to accept help
or advice should
perhaps sail coast wise, unlicensed or receive
more training before
finding themselves on the job and deeply over
their heads. In some cases
however, perhaps I should recommend that a third
mate who is failing
to master new skills should instead, apply to law


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