From a young age I constantly resembled a drowned rat growing up south of York on (and in) the River Ouse. Raft building, boating and water sports led to a brief transition as a Sea Scout. I did a short trip on and RN training ship at 12 years old – HMS Kent which confirmed I wasn’t destined for the Royal Navy…just not my thing.
Following a continued interest in boating I went to a local careers fare with school and met Mr Roger Haworth from Chiltern Maritime. With a successful interview done at the age of 14 at the General Council of British Shipping in London. On the proviso if I improved massively at school, I would be offered a cadetship with BP Shipping.
Roger was a fantastic inspiration “Get those exams and we will give you a life of adventure”. He wasn’t wrong. Following a month at South Shields nautical College, I joined my first ship MV British Esk (25,000 DWT product tanker) in Copenhagen, October 1990. My first time away from home and first time in a foreign country. I thought I was only there for 2 weeks… six months and 14 countries later I returned home the “Jolly Jack Tar”, quite the village celebrity at 17 with tales of far off lands and all that a sailors run ashore has to offer. Needless to say Roger’s promise of adventure didn’t disappoint! 27 years later I find myself Senior Master of a fleet of explorer class superyachts.
My Cadetship with Chiltern was the foundation, introduction and source of skills needed to become a proficient Deck Officer. We all had good support throughout, feedback and encouragement to get as much out of the Cadetship program as possible. Our time at sea was maximised to support the studies done ashore, there is a lot to learn but with the guidance and materials provided along with the support of the sponsoring company (in my case BP) it was a formula that worked.
After obtaining my Class 4/3 OOW certification I went on to work for BP for 6 years. I then decided to give the cruise ships a go and settled with P&O for a further 9 years, three of which were served as Deputy Master. For the past 11 years I have served as Master on superyachts working for high net worth individuals and even a Royal Family. I have been so very fortunate to have these opportunities and experiences. Chiltern Maritime were at the starting point of what some may consider a successful career.