Do you want to work on a ship?

Friday (June 23rd) was the second and last day of the 3rd Conference of the Economics of the Sea Journal, and I was pleased to have the chance to talk to the President of Apormar, the Maritime Machine Engineer officer Álvaro Sardinha, who very kindly clarified many of my doubts about the Maritime transport market.

It is easy to board as a trainee?

As a student of the maritime sciences course and future finalist (I am now in the second year of three), one of the concerns we all have is our year of boarding as a trainee.

And no, it is not easy to arrange boarding, nothing worthwhile in life is. You can not wait until the oportunity arrives at your door step, you have to make an effort to have it.

But if you want to be an Officer, don’t give up! Álvaro Sardinha, who only finished his degree at the age of 49, was able to board as a trainee on a passenger ship.

Sending out my resume isn’t enough? read more

Nautical Charts- The maps of the sea

Every day that goes by I’m one step closer to departing to the sea, which is by far one of my biggest dreams. There are no words to describe how happy I feel for being able to study something I really like. 😀

I decided to write this article to share one of the most fun activities of my course, which is to learn how to work with nautical charts.

Nautical charts are the maritime equivalent of terrestrial maps. They are cartographic representations of the sea, represented in diverse forms with diverse scales.

They aim to locate the seafarers and demonstrate the characteristics of a particular site, such as depths, characteristics of the funds, marine traffic corridors, relevant points on the coast, buoys, etc …

In a perfect world we would be able to use globes, since they are the most faithful representation of the earth. However to be able to demonstrate large scales they would have to be gigantic, which makes their use impracticable.

There are several ways of representing the earth in a paper, however, in the sea, these are the most used letters:

Mercator’s chart:

It’s the one we use the most because it is, in a rough way, a representation that allows the course of the ship to be marked in straight lines.

Gnomonic charts:

These charts use as a projection surface a plane tangent to the earth’s surface. This ones present all kinds of earth deformations.

The instruments used for the readings and measurements on the chart are the compasses that can be straight or curved and the squares.

Curved compass:
read more

My celestial navigation classes

Celestial navigation is still to this day a tool used by seamen to check, whithout the need of electrical appliances, their position while out in the ocean. That’s why this is one of my classes in my nautical sciences degree. In this article i won’t go to deep on the calculations themselves, I’ll just talk a little about the class.

Usually we only determine our position based on the sun since the lessons are at 1300 (1 o’clock pm). This observation is quite simple, since all we have to do is measure how high the sun is (from the horizon) and with the help from nautical almanacs we do the math.

This past Monday, May 21st, me and my classmates had lesson at night, which started at 2000, so we could try determine our position from the stars.

Determining how high the stars are was harder for multiple reasons:
• We need to measure the height of three different stars so we can intersect their directions;
• We need to be sure of what star we are measuring so we can later look it up in the nautical almanac;
• Observations can be hampered by meteorology, sometimes even impossible;
• The observation as to take place during twilight, in order to be both dark enough to see the stars and clear enough to see the horizon.

Instruments needed to determine our astronomical position: read more