I'm not sure if I've ever talked about how we (the Mates) divide our time aboard the ship....here's a little bit of a breakdown on how I spend my days... Watch schedules vary ship to ship. On U.S. Flag ships they are normally broken down into four hour chunks (12-4, 4-8, and 8-12). Each mate will have two watches per day (totaling 8 hours) and will work 4 hours of overtime - some ships actually have overtime - my ship is salaried which means I'm required to work a 12 hour day....if I work a 14 hour day today I work a 10 hour day tomorrow (in theory - usually you end up working more than you get paid for - especially when you are in and out of port often).
On a vessel with three Mates the Second Mate is usually given the 12-4. I get called at 2320 (11:20pm) - I make it up to the bridge by 2350 to assume the watch. I stand watch for four hours and get relieved at 0350. Then I try to go to bed as fast as I can. I sleep until around 0800. I would have to wake up around 0730 if I wanted to grab breakfast - but I usually skip it since it cuts into my nap. I get going on my overtime (we still call it overtime even though we're not making overtime wages...) from 0800-1120. This is when I do the majority of my work - I prepare charts for the next voyage; I correct all the charts in my folio; I get caught up with e-mail correspondence regarding any bridge components requiring servicing - basically anything that I couldn't get done while on watch. Lots of times the Captain will ask me for information and I'll have to do a bit of research for him....for example, they want us to go to blahblittyblah port - what is the draft restriction or how long will it take us to get there. At 1120 I head down to eat lunch so that I can relieve the watch at 1150 - then I'm on watch again until 1550 - which basically means I get off watch at four in the afternoon. This is when I try to get my blog done - and then I might go down for a snack....a light supper since I know I'll be asleep soon. I normally fall asleep around 1830 which means that I get another 5 hours of sleep before doing it all over again.
Pretty mundane, huh?!
Here's what got me thinking about this....we just changed watch schedules! We're doing the watch schedule I did on my last ship - and it's flippin' awesome!
I now stand a 6 hour watch and a 2 hour watch. I wake up at the same time but instead of leaving the bridge at 0400 I leave the bridge at 0600. I do 2 hours of overtime and then I'm back on the bridge at 0800 for a 2 hour watch. I'm off watch at 1000 and do another 2 hours of overtime which means I finish my day up at Noon. A straight 12 hour day!!!! Do you know what this means?! 12 HOURS OFF!
I honestly don't even know what to do with myself.....it's fan-freakin'-tastic! I now have time for the gym, the blog, the e-mails....AND a movie - all before getting 8 hours of sleep! Woot Woot!
Wanna know the best part? I'm awake for the Sunrise!
You do know what this means don't you....photos! Remember back in the day when I posted the secret to a good sunrise? Or when I showed you a couple good cloud days? I even shared an incredibly similar post full of excitement about being back on the morning watch!
*CLOUD PHOTOS COMING YOUR WAY SOON!*