Since an early age Phil was interested in visiting foreign places. When he was sixteen years old he decided he wanted an occupation at sea- he started his cadetship and became a 2nd Mate by the age of twenty. Being a second mate involves an eight hour bridge watch a day. With a combination of sea time and further education he then achieved his 1st Mate certificate.
Phil has worked with the Research Vessels for over 12 years and became a Master Mariner two years ago. Being Master Mariner means that Phil is ultimately responsible for everything that happens on board. He is the person that has to make the final decision; often taking the responsibility of the emergency services on land (there are no police, fire service or ambulances out here!).
Phil comes from Edinburgh but is now living in Portchester where his children David and Jonathan attend Wicor County primary school, they have a younger brother Thomas- a big hello to them!! Although it’s still hard to be away from home he thinks communication technology has made his life away much easier. He really appreciates being able to communicate by email with his family; he still remembers the days when letters were the only form of contacting home. They were sent to the companies office and from there they were forwarded to the next port where the ship would dock, very often the ship could change route and the letters were sent to the next destination; you can understand why satellite communication is such are luxury for sea-going people. However working in the Merchant Navy means that after being away for around two and a half months at the time he’s then home for six weeks.
Phil finds working on research ships more interesting than the work on normal cargo ships; he gets to meet more people and be involved in different projects. One aspect of being on a ship is that you work and socialise with the same people for prolonged periods, however on the Charles Darwin there is a good easy going crowd who are very friendly, this is certainly the impression I get.