|SS Irish Elm ISL Dublin, Ireland|
The training in ISL was to say the least haphazard, for a start there was no ISL training programme that the Apprentices followed. Since we were part of the Irish Mercantile Marine and not the British Merchant Navy the British Merchant Navy Training Board Courses and Examinations did not apply to us. We worked on deck under the Boatswain and stood Watches on the Bridge with the Officers. Any instruction was purely at the behest of the Master and sadly most did not bother very much about it. It was up to us Apprentices therefore to prepare ourselves for our Certificate of Competency as 2nd. Mate Foreign-going which we could sit for in Ireland or the United Kingdom. Home Trade Certificates for European and the Mediterranean Waters were of course also available to us.
If you would like to read something about our life at sea as Apprentices in those far off days so different from going to sea today there is an interesting book by an Apprentice of the intake after me. "Steady As She Goes" by John Molloy is a personal take on the starting years of his sea career. Like myself he is from Waterford City, Ireland. John has recently had a second book published "The Atlas Murders" which uses a background of ships and seagoing.
The NAUTICAL LOG sea career, which started out in fishing boats while on Summer holidays in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, sailed all over the world. Having lived in New Zealand, Canada and now in the United States never returning to Ireland except for brief visits. Serving in two Navy's, a Coast Guard, as well as the Merchant Navy, teaching Nautical Science including Maritime Law, IMO-STCW courses and sailing in just about every type of ship afloat one does tend to have strong views based on a wide range of experiences hence the viewpoints expressed in this Blog.
So for now remember while OOW to get your head out of those instruments and look out the Bridge windows study the sea out to the horizon to see things for yourself.
PS. NAUTICAL LOG has done some editing to this Post from its original version. This is due in part for accuracy, memories from long ago sometimes are inaccurate, also in response to some comments received which were anonymous, inaccurate and petty. The Administrator decided to remove all comments received.