(22 February 2021) Merchant Navy officer cadet Sam Bailey has embarked on a month-long placement at Wightlink. The 22 year old from Romsey, Hampshire, is joining crews on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route to gain first hand experience of the ferry company’s lifeline service supplying the Isle of Wight during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During his time at Wightlink, Sam will also sail to Falmouth on board its flagship Victoria of Wight for dry-docking and refit at the A&P shipyard.
After learning to sail dinghies as a boy, Sam took a job as a deckhand on superyachts in the Mediterranean: “I got talking to the officers on board and found out about careers in the Merchant Navy. It looked like being a great life with lots of opportunities of travel, combining classroom study with several placements on ships,” he says. “I’m looking forward to learning more about an officer’s job in the busy waters of the Solent at Wightlink.”
Sam is now nearing the end of his three and a half year cadetship with Chiltern Maritime at Warsash Maritime Academy. Up to now, he’s spent time on a container ship in the Atlantic, a cruise ship in the Caribbean, a fisheries protection vessel and a windfarm supply ship. Experience on a busy Wightlink ferry loading and unloading vehicles every 40 minutes will give him fresh insights into the varied world of merchant shipping.
“My ambition is to work towards becoming a Captain after gaining more sea time,” says Sam. “I would recommend a career in the Merchant Navy to anyone wanting an interesting and worthwhile job with plenty of travel.”
Sam is the second cadet to join Wightlink in recent years. Jon-James Hulford-Funnell from the Isle of Wight spent two months with the company in 2020. In his post-placement report he wrote: “The officers and crew always provided challenges, opportunities, responsibilities and continuous support for my reports and tasks to be compiled within my Merchant Navy Training Record Book. A vital experience with regard to my future in the Merchant Navy.”
Chiltern Maritime Operations Manager Stuart Benge says: “We are delighted to be involved with the new cadet onboard training programme with Wightlink. The entire Wightlink team have been really welcoming, with Jon-James and Sam gaining valuable training and skills at sea including during the recent dry docks. Our cadets are fortunate to train with different companies and industries from tankers to cruise ships, adding Wightlink will provide even more opportunities for our trainees.”
Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield adds: “We at Wightlink are pleased to help educate the next generation of professional mariners by offering placement opportunities for cadets through Chiltern Maritime. The Merchant Navy offers a wide range of challenging and rewarding careers for young men and women.”