How safe are you if you work as an ordinary deckhand?

I’m interested to know any safety hazards I should be aware of as an ordinary deckhand with no training or experience.

First you ask many questions about getting a summer job with no prior experience now you want to know if you’d be safe. Good grief, if you’d spent as much time filling out applications as you have spent asking inane questions you’d have a job by now.

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It sounds like he’s asking about safety hazards he should watch out for so he doesn’t get hurt.

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That’s going to vary widely. Your company should provide you orientation training that covers basic safety hazards.

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Eyes open, mouth shut, head on a swivel at all times.

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Some companies are over the top safety wise. You will be mentored and watched like a hawk as an extra guy shadowing someone until you are checked off.

Other companies, usually the smaller ones, it will be baptism by fire. Sink or swim. New3M provided the best advice in a nutshell. I’d also add have a positive attitude. Wait until you get a few years under your belt before you piss and moan about everything. Ask questions, work hard and try to exceed expectations.

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Not having coffee ready for watch change….

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What 3M said! ! Have a good set of gloves. Protective eye-glasses. Ear-plugs. And, especially, COMMON SENSE. All the protective equipment in the world won’t save you if you don’t have common sense.

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Deckhand on non-fishing boats is safer than construction, farming, electrical line workers and many other occupations. All these statistics are available on the internet.

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Do you have any recommendations for companies over the top safety wise?

The big players in the oilfield generally speaking. Chouest, Harvey, Hornbeck. Tug companies from my experience are a little more lax but I hear Crowley for example is pretty ‘safety conscious.’

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Don’t forget steel boots with good traction on the soles. Worth every penny and last for years.

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Well. . . . haven’t sailed for Crowley for some 30+ years. . . and not to cast aspersions. . . but tugboating in the 80s was a bit different than today. That said, during my tenure, they were probably more safety conscious than most back then, and I would expect them to be toward the top today. Personally, I never really thought about “being safe” as a work condition. You would be safer on a tugboat than a fishing boat, and safer on a ship than a tugboat, generally. Different types of vessels have different hazards and inherent risks, just like life.

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Going to sea for a year is much safer than riding a motorcycle for 100 miles.

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Most of the big companies have gone safety crazy.

A lot of that excessive nonsense is just about Jeaux Boss keeping his boot on the employees necks; it’s not really about safety.

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Oh, I know. . . some years ago, I was working a job in Trinidad. My last day, I was in the office of a British Oil Company. My day done, I walked down the stairs from the third or fourth floor to leave. Now, this building had central stairs, but the companionway was entirely glass. I get about half way down, and someone got out of his chair to tell me to use the hand rail. . . what?

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Actually it is not about safety but money. About 10 years ago I was called to a meeting in Amsterdam. Why Amsterdam? I guess the CEO and other officialdom wanted to go there. We were subjected to a serious discussion about the importance of safety. I asked WTF, why the sudden emphasis on safety? It was explained that since the Deepwater Horizon incident all contracts have changed. Previously in contract negotiations a contractors safety record only counted for 5% of the formula but has been increased to 20%+. So the better the safety record the better chance of getting a contract at the highest price. I am sure the formula has increased since then. It’s all about the dollars

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Maybe in the oil patch. Maybe for oil transport. Maybe subcontractors for general contractors on some government dredging and construction jobs. Most tugboat bids are awarded based on three factors: lowest bid, availability, and more distantly reliability.

Reliability might be a small or large factor depending on circumstances. If a project manager is in control reliability will be major factor and price less important. If a bean counter is in control, price is paramount and reliability may simply be assumed.

Most people hiring a tug and barge just want the cargo delivered in good condition on time at a low price. They don’t care whether a crewman is wearing a hard hat and safety googles when he goes on deck to smoke.

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