Maritime Radio Operators
There are some people out there who love the water and some who absolutely hate it with a passion. I have to admit that I fall into the latter category. The odd swim in the pool or water park is fine by me, but I draw a big thick line when it comes to the great wide open ocean. I don’t know if it’s because I get seasick easily, or because of films like this, this, or even this; but there’s something about being right-smack in the middle of a humongous body of water with no knowledge of what’s around or underneath you that gets me nervous.
Thank goodness for Maritime Radio Operators! They’re the people responsible for the receipt and communication of radio messages to and from ships and harbours. You can rely on them to warn sailors about incoming bad weather, relay vital information to the coastguard in rescues, answer navigation questions, and generally just make sure that the people out there having fun are safe.
There are no specific courses in school or university that one must take in order to become a Radio Operator, and truth be told, Radio Operators undergo their most important training after they are recruited. A lot of the training is highly specialised and is unique to the area that they’ve been assigned to, but common areas of training include radio broadcasting, geography, communication protocol, weather patterns and important call signs that they have to recognise and be aware of. To this extent, it would help greatly if the aspiring Operator had experience in working with computers or phone systems, boating, and/or radio procedure. And of course, a Radio Operator is nothing without his/her radio, so Operators are also trained in radio equipment maintenance and repair.A good Operator must ensure that the equipment that he/she uses is in tip-top shape at all times – a person’s life could depend on it!
Maritime Radio Operators are usually employed by a nation’s governmental marine wing, but they can also find employment with private ships and vessels or coast stations. If a private organisation is your thing, then you’ll have to study up on the aforementioned fields to sit your Commercial Radio Operator License exam (see a US equivalent here). In most parts of the world, you won’t be able to operate a private radio system without it.
I have to say that having someone always watching out for you on the water is very comforting. Radio Operators are employed in shifts around the clock to make sure that emergency calls, whenever they are made, are answered and followed-up on swiftly. It’s their business to remain calm in a crisis and be confident and organised with details and information. And yet, I still don’t think I’m game enough to go out to sea any time soon... Right now, I’ll stick to what I know – does anyone have an indoor pool?