The Driver of Titanic


Dec 4, 2000
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Cap'n Erik goes to sea in a ship...I run a boat and sleep at home every night. There are major differences between our training and experiences. I really don't want to make it seem that my lower-level license is equivalent to Erik's "big ticket." About all Erik and I have in common in our professional lives is a shared frustration with government regulations.

My intention in posting information about the license tests was to point out that passing any examination on the first try is more a matter of luck than skill or knowledge. The key thing is not whether a mariner passed on the first or tenth try--but that the individual obtained the license by passing the test.

--David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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I agree Dave. I wonder just how different are tests are. I would imagine that mine would cover most of yours, well maybe not. Navigation Rules would have be different not only for Inland and International but because of size. I don't have a "big ticket". I have piece of paper (that incidently I can't seem to find the orginal of) that says the government thinks I "have the brains to drive big things." That was a quote from my wife.

Passing the test is hard. It took me two tries to get one license. Others I got on the first try. I would agree that it is luck. A lot of being a sailor revolves around luck.

Erik
 
Jul 10, 2005
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I say that both of you Captian's have a lot of patience and skill to do what you do everyday. Be it in the ocean or in the great lakes. I commend you both.

Beverly
 
Dec 4, 2000
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You wonder why, Beverly -- last night I had the first watch (midnight to 3 am on our schedule) during a delivery trip of a 2-masted wooden schooner. There was a very hazy moon to our southwest and thunderstorms so far to the north that lightning appeared to be an orange glow. The water had just enough swell to give a rocking chair feel to the deck. Our course took us between the loom of lights on the shoreline and the stygian darkness offshore. We were alone, the head of a watery comet whose v-shaped tail extended backward to the horizon.

-- David G. Brown
 

Tracy Smith

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Apr 20, 2012
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Captain Lord attained his Second Mate's certificate at not quite nineteen. He gained his First Mate's at age 20 and then Master's and Extra Master's at age 23. He got his first command while a little shy of his 29th birthday.

I presume he passed each examination the first time, but I need to verify this to make sure. Either way, however, his advancement was rapid and impressive.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Tracy -

The ages at which Lord attained his certificates are par for the course. Most started their apprenticeships at age 13 - 14 and after four years sea time were eligible for their 2nd Mate's certification (meaning that, theoretically, they could have it by the age of 17-18). 23 is pretty much the typical age at which most officers who had come up through the apprenticeship system passed for Master. As Bisset describes in 'Tramps and Ladies', many sat for their Ex-Masters immediately after sitting for their Masters.

It's interesting that Lord declined to work for the WSL, given that their stringent requirements meant that he would have started as the Titanic's officers did at the bottom of the swagger line. Intriguingly, evidence has surfaced that one of the Titanic's officers *did* command a merchant vessel (I believe before he was 30, but would have to check the dates). Unfortunately this is part of someone else's research, so I can't elaborate.

I haven't looked at Lord's BoT certificates yet, but as I'm doing a swag of them for the Bell album's officers I'll have a look at his pass record.

~ Inger
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Will do, Tracy. I had hoped to do some work in this area over the next few weeks, but there's now a possibility I might need to dash down to Oz. Will see how matters pan out.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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If one of the Titanic's officers managed to swing a merchent command, I would certainly be interested in the details. If the histories need to be corrected (And it often does!) this would be a good time!
wink.gif


Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Erik - much of the information about the Titanic's officers and their pre- and post- Titanic careers is incorrect or highly incomplete. Take, for example, some of ranks given for the juniors during WWI - in at least two instances incorrect information is repeated all the time. It has also been said that Lowe retired immediately after WWI, never to go to sea again (snort!). There is a researcher who has managed to fill in some of the gaps in the career of one of the Titanic's officers where Lloyd's Captain's Register has holes, and apparently this particular officer did command at least one merchant vessel. I can't reveal more, as it's not my research.

~ Inger
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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G'day, O Nautical Type Blokes -

The researcher in question is indeed heading towards publication, but this is part of a much larger, non-Titanic maritime work, so I don't know how long that will be.

~ Ing
 
C

Cassandra Crowther

Guest
No expert on this, but I believe that Murdoch had been at sea a good twenty-five years at this point and had been an officer for twelve or more years at the time he sailed on TITANIC. From all I have read, I suspect most other officers would have done the same as Mr. Murdoch did.
 

Charmaine Sia

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Nov 25, 2001
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Just a note, Cassandra, twenty-four years, not twenty-five, from the information that I read above. But I suppose that that 1 year really doesn't make any difference at all.
 

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