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Junior Sea Ranger Vera talks training

Starting work as a Sea Ranger is not a case of just stepping onboard the ship. The first three months consist of a lot of training to prepare the Sea Rangers to properly, and most importantly, work safely on board the ship. Vera talks about her first month as a ‘junior Sea Ranger.’

A close up of Sea Ranger Vera, on board a Sea Ranger vessel out at sea. Vera has a florescent yellow hood up and is smiling at the camera.

Sailing is nothing new to you, is it? Is it the reason you wanted to become a Sea Ranger?

That’s right, I have been sailing through Friesland and the Wadden Sea with my parents since I was four years old. I have had my own sailing boat for eight years now. I started studying naval engineering out of passion for sailing. After that I admired many traditional ships as a surveyor. I wanted to do something for nature in combination with my background. Becoming a Sea Ranger is why I wanted to make sailing my job! The balance between the intense life on board and then two weeks of free time really works for me.

How did you experience your first watch on board the ship?

The ‘onboarding’ was a lot of fun! Here we got to know the whole team and the company. After that I immediately went on board with my watch for a week. We got to know the ship and had an introduction to the best work practices on board. The first day of sailing was wonderful and as junior Sea Rangers we were soon given the task of organizing the sailing manoeuvres independently. Full of enthusiasm we got ready for another day at sea the next day, but the engine turned out to be broken. After a moment of disappointment, we remained positive and focused on doing things that were still possible. Sailing theory lessons, knots and maintenance on the ship. Soon we will have to get our boating license, so those lessons come in handy.

What does that mean, learning on board the ship?

By being on board in a team you learn a lot: sailing, safety, ship organisation and discipline are part of everyday life. Besides that, everyone is alternately responsible for a different ‘department’ of the ship. In this way you can focus on one thing and there is room for personal guidance by the captain, first mate or senior Sea Rangers. Some components are emphasized and teached in lessons, like the theme ‘safety’. Theory and practice are alternated. Shortly we will start the basic safety training at the STC-KNRM, a practical course in which we will learn how to survive at sea, should it ever seriously go wrong.

Junior Sea Rangers are given a ‘task book’ to learn everything about technical skills and personal development. The task book includes subjects like ‘the work system on board’, sailing, safety, engine technology, orderly ship, discipline, storytelling, media training, fitness test, vision on the future and a whole lot more. What have you done so far? 

We have read articles on various topics such as marine protected areas, climate and energy, fishing, seagrass and cultural heritage. By telling a story about one of these articles to the rest of the crew, we learned how to structure your storytelling.

What about physical training? 

The first fitness test is coming up. By now I really mastered the sit-ups and push-ups. During the bootcamp I injured my knee so I will have to work on my running. The first week on board we exercised three times. Very nice that we are all doing it together.

What do you look forward to most the upcoming year?

I am mostly looking forward to really getting to work and working towards being able to do everything that makes a Sea Ranger a Sea Ranger. Working in a team, the sailing, getting to know the ship and carrying out the work that leads to a healthier North Sea.

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