Dreams can come true!

Joseph Day (Master Mariner), who is a Safety Officer on the Bibby Wavemaster 1, shows how you should never give up, even when faced with Chief Officer’s exams!

Becoming a Master Mariner has seen one of Joe’s dreams come true. Joe says he can hardly believe he is fortunate enough to do something he loves as a profession, let alone on a pioneering new vessel like the Bibby Wavemaster 1.

His journey to becoming a master has not been an easy one, he admits, and it certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement of his family, Atlas Professionals and Bibby Marine Services.

Going from ‘playing’ on a white fish trawler out of Shetland, getting very familiar with seasickness, to completing a few months of Royal Marines training, as well as working in fish factories and other ‘character building’ jobs, he then successfully completed a cadetship with Sealion Shipping, earning his OOW Certificate of Competency in 2008. Later, he joined Global Marine Systems, where he was laying subsea cables. This included laying telecoms cables between Trinidad and Suriname and a tidal project in Orkney. “This was a true challenge, we were working in 8-knot tides,” he says.

Cable laying

Joes has always liked working on technical ships supported with DP. “I really enjoyed my time there, working with DP – proper hands-on seamanship. I particularly like problem solving, using pragmatism where possible.”   

However, these projects took him away from his young family for many months at a time so he looked for more stability. Joe then joined Helix Well Ops UK. By this time Joe had realised that a seafaring life was inescapable. “I just love the sea, it is magnificent. You see the stars, the sunrise, beautiful clouds; it is humbling, awe-inspiring. After a few years it can become just a regular a job. But I still have a spring in my step and think it is phenomenal that I can do this as a vocation.”

Chief Officer

Joe wanted to progress even further in his career and decided to become a Chief Officer. He says although he has faced some tough challenges in his life, this was a mighty hurdle to climb. “It was a struggle, I was working on the ship, trying to save money, and at the same time studying in Glasgow. It also meant I was rarely at home. Without my partner Ali’s support I would never have got there, absolutely no doubt. Somehow, she found the strength to keep me going whilst juggling a very young family, work and studies of her own. I found it very difficult to pass the stability and navigation exams. But I stuck with it. One day she rang me on ship to say ‘Congratulations Chief Officer Day!’ I was elated!”

Master Mariner

Then early this year Joe decided to go for the ultimate challenge, he aimed to sit his final exam, the Master Mariner Unlimited. This time he passed the exam first time, officially becoming a Master Mariner on February 6. “I joined Bibby Wavemaster 1 that evening, it was quite a day!”

Joe says both Bibby and Atlas Professionals have been so supportive of him. “They are absolutely first rate and continue to have faith in me.”

He was very touched when Emma Campbell (Atlas Business Manager Renewables in Bristol) presented him with an engraved pen. There were even a few tears, he laughs.  

Wavemaster concept

Joe has been actually on Bibby Wavemaster 1, which is a new class of purpose-built, Service Operations Vessels with Walk-to-Work capability, since it left Damen’s shipyard in August 2017. “We sailed out and carried out commissioning trials, then went straight on to the Galloper wind farm and then to Total E&P Netherlands. She has proven herself in both the oil & gas and renewables sectors. Bibby Wavemaster 1 is very versatile, keeping operational time to a maximum, and she draws on all my experience.

Working as a team

“I find it fascinating that a naval architect had the idea for such a vessel and it has turned into reality. She has excellent seakeeping ability, and manages perfectly 11 knots astern, which is impressive. The Damen 9020 concept means she is very stable in pretty choppy seas, especially in areas where the wave profiles are similar to those found in the Southern North Sea, and this definitely makes it more comfortable for the crew. She is keeping her crew and clients happy!” 

Joe says that most of the crew is from Atlas Professionals and he really enjoys working with seafarers from different cultures and helping them come together and work as one unit. “We run together as a team, although we are different characters, have different skills, experiences, strengths and weaknesses. They are top guys and it’s really great how we all gel together.”