CD 157: Investigating the submarine canyons off Portugal


Crew profiles...

Glenn Pook  [Tiny]

Ship's Bosun

We sat by the winch control while Tiny controlled the rate at which the cable lowered the piston core - this is called the veer. Finding time to chat between adjustments, one eye on the meters and one ear listening to the motor, Tiny described his role as Senior Bosun.

"I’m in charge of all the deckhands, I give them their jobs and plan all the maintenance of the deck and mechanical parts on the deck."

If you look closely at the deck it is a very crowded space. The Charles Darwin is designed to put scientific instruments into the water and take them out again. You will see lots of rope, wires, hoists, winches, clips and hoses all of which need to work and to be stowed neatly.

The bosun's locker

Tiny’s chief responsibility is the safe handling of equipment. He is not slow to remind people who are not properly protected that they should ‘get sorted’. Everyone must wear protective safety helmets and steel toe capped boots when on duty, especially if a hoist or crane is lifting gear. Tiny informs me that the safety hats have a life span of two years and you should not write your name on them. I feel a bit embarrassed as I have drawn a duck on mine!

"Of course safety is paramount but my job on deck is being taken over by form filling. The paperwork is the worst part of the job."

Tiny has been a merchant seaman for 26 years. He started off as a deckhand unqualified [DHU] and then got his Efficient Deckhand [EDH] Lifeboat Ticket which you must have to become an Able Bodied Seaman. He did 3 years as an AB and then became a Petty Officer and Chief Petty Officer Deck Department – the official title of a Bosun.

"Each ship has it strengths but my favourite ship is the Discovery." He describes how it was cut in half during a major refit in1992/93and made 11metres longer!

"I enjoy the variety of work on the research ships and you go all over the world. Laying moorings is the best job. We hold the record for laying moorings: 12 were put down 6000m from anchor to subsurface float in the Agulas Trench. On one trip the Principal Scientist was studying bad weather. She had plotted a course to find it but before we got to the Hebrides we had encountered three hurricanes!"

Tiny is looking forward to being able to devote more time to his hobbies, gardening and garden building projects.

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April 2004
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