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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Salty Air & Heavy Metal! Blog-O-Gramme Number 4

So, I've started my term as Trainee Deck Rating aboard THV Galatea. It is heavy, hard work indeed. Friday saw us just off of Great Yarmouth, we lifted three buoys in total, 2 starboard navigation buoys and 1 port one.  The first buoy was replaced with a shiny new one. The other two were lifted, the Mussels and other salty crud from the sea was jetwashed off and the buoy then placed on deck for testing. We had to replace a faulty regulator (this is what regulatres the power from the solar panels to the batteries). This put us back a little bit, though not a great deal.
Saturday we did the same with an Easterly Cardinal buoy. As well as the above there was 75 meters of chain that had to be replaced. This is very thick and heavy chain that requires thick and heavy work!  So this seems to be the bulk of my job. I shall endeavour to go into a little more detail on the step by step processes. I'll leave it for when I get the chance to take and upload some photos.
Also if you think that there's anything you want to hear about, let me know and I'll get back to you.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Blog-O-Gramme Number Three, A Wee Bit of History a Bippety Bop Noo!

So I think that before I actually start telling you about what I see, hear and smell whilst at work. I should probably give those of you that don't know, a brief story of what Trinity House actually does! The following words have been taken mostly from the Trinity House website, it is all polished off with a link to said site for anyone wishing to indulge a little further.

The Corporation of Trinity House's prime concerns are the safety of shipping, and the well being of seafarers. These have been at the top of the list since a Charter was granted by Henry VIII in 1514.

Trinity House has three main functions today:

  • T.H is the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, responsible for a range of general aids to navigation, 'signs of the sea', from lighthouses to radar beacons.
  • T.H is a charitable organisation dedicated to the safety, welfare and training of mariners.
  •  T.H is a Deep Sea Pilotage Authority providing expert navigators for ships trading in Northern European waters.

Still interested?! Blimey! Here's a bit of history for you then...
The first official record is the grant of a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1514 to a fraternity of mariners called the Guild of the Holy Trinity. In 1604 James I conferred on Trinity House rights concerning compulsory pilotage of shipping and the exclusive right to license pilots in the River Thames.
Until responsibility for District Pilotage was transferred to Port and Harbour Authorities under the 1987 Pilotage Act, TH were Pilotage Authority for London and over 40 other Districts, including the major ports of Southampton and Harwich.


The first lighthouse built by Trinity House was at Lowestoft in 1609, which was part of a series of lights to help guide vessels through a maze of sandbanks between Happisburgh and Lowestoft. The lighthouses were paid for by a levy charged on vessels leaving the ports of Newcastle, Hull, Boston and King's Lyn, a method of payment which is similar to the current light dues system that remains in use today.

The next two hundred years saw an increase in lighthouses being built, a vast amount being privately owned. Owners could find themselves becoming very rich from the dues collected from Ships entering into port. The reliability of many of these private lights left much to be desired and so in 1836 legislation was passed for all private lights in England, Wales and the Channel Islands to be compulsory purchased and placed under the management of Trinity House.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Follow me in realtime with AIS

You can use the below link to follow THV Galatea on it's duties. In fact any ship that has AIS (Automatic Identification System) can be viewed on this site.
From where the vessel is going, where it's been, what sort of cargo it may be carrying, it's nationality, it's current track and speed, it's tonnage and dimensions! All of this and a photo of the boat, lovely.

Upon opening the link, on the left hand side of the page will be a section called Last Position Received. Here click on Current Vessels Track and it will show you on a map just where the boat is and where it's been. Great stuff!!

AIS is a legal requirement for any seagoing passanger vessel, or any comercial vessel in excess of 300 tonnes. It is an amazing system that is aiding in collision avoidance, obviously there is still no excuse not to maintain a visual look out at all times.
The American Coastguard are planning on replacing the RACON system in navigational aids with AIS.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Blog-O-Gramme Number One

Call us what you will; Sailors, Mariners, Seamen, Jacks, Tars, Grunts, Deckheads, Barefoot Vagabonds &cetera... We have many monikers and one affinity, the ocean.

I hope to share with you my encounters of a career at sea, to pass on a salty yarn or two from the fo’c’sle, off duty with nothing more to do with my time.
This site is for you, for the sailor, for the armchair explorer, for the nautically inclined and overall for my family and my friends, even enemies are welcome here.
This is a place to feel a part of the vast yet solitary community that makes up The Cold Face Brigade, enjoy.