Staff Captain
P & O Cruises

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Simon T

00:00:03 My name’s Simon T, I’m the Staff Captain on the cruise ship Aurora. I’ve worked my way through the ranks to my current position, and future role eventually would be obviously Captain. As Staff Captain I’m head of the deck department, and the deck department really is the navigational department. Our primary role is getting the ship from one place to another safely, but I also look after other aspects of it within the deck department, or other aspects of the ship’s operation, which includes the security side of things; everything to do with the fire-fighting appliances, life-saving appliances. The overall safety management of how we operate things on board, and keeping the ship safe with regards to our day to day operations.

00:00:44 It wasn’t a decision I made straightaway, I mean I – ever since, you know, when I was coming up to 13, 14, when I was looking at a career – initially I was looking at going into the Armed Forces. And I spent time, I went to the Army Careers Office and spoke to them, and I started getting into that, preparing – I was going on to college to get my O-Levels and then A-Levels. And that was where I was heading. I even, when I was at college – Sixth Form College – I spent time in the Royal Marine Reserves. And unfortunately when I went to join the Regulars they were – I didn’t pass the medical. So it was a case of, well what can I do now? And I think that was – it was very hard to take initially, but everything in life – I think you have to take the knocks, sometimes, when you’re choosing to do something that doesn’t go right, and you get an alternative, you come up with something different, and then you focus on it and go for it really. And I think that’s just the way you should really look at it and tackle it.

00:01:46 My Dad had been at sea. He originally started with a company called Union Castle. He did about three or four ships with Union Castle, before moving to Cunard. And it was – when he started, you know, he was talking about his – his you know – the career he had with P&O and also with Cunard, the times he’d had, the places he’d visited and the time – you know, the things he’d done in his time. He would regale these salty, you know, sea dog stories, and I thought – well maybe this is something that I could do. So I didn’t really choose to do it, however 18 years later I’m still here, and I’m still loving it. And I don’t regret a single moment.

00:02:31 Well the highlight of my career was probably when I gained my Master’s Certificate, which is the highest qualification you can get. That’s the – the – the pinnacle of the qualifications, so to speak. It’s a culmination of all the years of time at college and time at sea. You spend time, as you’re going through your cadetship, you’ll spend a certain element of time at college doing your theoretical side of things. And then the next pinnacle would obviously be in years to come, when hopefully I would end up with a Captain’s position. But to date, it’s gaining my Master’s Licence which was, you know, back in 2001, some years ago. But that was probably the monumental time so far.

00:03:14 I would like to be in a position that at some time in the future I could look back, or someone would, you know, turn round if they asked of that question – well has – who has inspired you within your own career? And if someone was to turn round and say – well Simon T has been an inspiration to me – at some point, whether it was just one person, that’s all, you know, I’m just looking at some point in the future, hopefully to have – have had a career where I’ve done my best, I’ve enjoyed my career, and I’ve had a certain element of helping someone else fulfil their dream. And that’s what I’m looking for really.

00:03:50 ENDS


Simon T is a Staff Captain on a P & O cruise ship. This wasn’t his first choice of career. He wanted to go into the armed forces but he failed the medical and had to rethink. “So I didn’t really choose to do it, however 18 years later I’m still here, and I’m still loving it.”

More information about Marine and waterways transport operatives

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

100%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Marine and waterways transport operatives supervise and carry out a variety of deck duties and operate and maintain engines, boilers and mechanical equipment on board ships, boats and other marine vessels.
There are no formal academic entry requirements, although some employers may expect entrants to possess GCSEs/S grades. Candidates are expected to pass a medical examination and have good eyesight. Training takes place at nautical college and lasts between 11-13 weeks.
  • Ensures that necessary fuel supplies are on board and inspects engine, boilers and other mechanisms for correct functioning;
  • Removes and repairs or replaces damaged or worn parts of plant and machinery and ensures that engine and plant machinery are well lubricated;
  • Stows cargo, assists passengers to embark and disembark, watches for hazards and moors or casts off mooring ropes as required;
  • Steers ship, under the supervision of a duty officer, checks navigational aids and keeps bridge, wheel and chartroom clean and tidy;
  • Performs other deck duties, including servicing and maintaining deck gear and rigging, splicing wire and fibre ropes, greasing winches and derricks, opening up and battening down hatches, securing gangways and ladders and lowering and raising lifeboats.
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