By Matthew Smith

The Life of a Deckhand Aboard a Cruise Ship


When I was aboard the cruise ship, Mein Scheiff 6 I had an experience like no other. One thing that really peeked my interest was the life a deckhand aboard such a large vessel lived. I am currently a deckhand aboard vessels under New York Water Taxi, naturally I was curious what the difference would be and exactly how much  more responsibility they took on. As they guided us through just only a few things they do weekly, I was blown away. To hear that it takes 2 weeks to inspect fire extinguishers compared to my 15 minutes aboard the water taxi, blew my mind. We were also informed that they have to stay aboard the vessel for six months which is directed to them from their contract. From the point of view of someone like myself actually considering a job like this, at first I was scared but now I feel like I want to do whatever I possibly can to have a shot at becoming a deckhand on this or any cruise ship.  

My first official job

Image result for my first official jobHaving a job is something I always wanted, but more importantly I wanted a job I know I would be familiar with so I took a paid internship with my co-teacher, Luis Melendez in the  Work Based-Learning program. The benefit of me joining this program is all the work I would be tasked to do, I was already well trained and prepared to execute them properly. Throughout my time working with Luis and 3 fellow classmates of mine, I had one of the best experiences working in my entire life. It was the simple connection and bond I made between me and my co-workers. They went from total strangers that I passed by everyday in school, to people I would vouch for any day of the week. The Work Based-Learning Program is one I would always go back to.

My Experience at New York Water Taxi

Image result for new york water taxiMy time with the New York Water Taxi over the summer is something I’ll never forget. It all started with one man, Port Captain Rob Haywood. He gave me such a welcome to the company and gave me a sense of security. He made it very clear to me that if I had any questions or  problems to report straight to him and only to him. He made me feel valued and for a person that knew barely anything about me, it was very shocking.

It started off with basic level training with a special guy named Tymel. Tymel, for the next two weeks, trained us on everything. From how to a do a boat checklist to making sure we know how to tie a simple clove hitch. For a guy that came off to very chill and laid back, it was clear why he was a senior deckhand and why he was the person training us.

On the last week, they finally took me off training and sent me underway with fellow deckhands of the company. This was a scary first step but it was then that I felt great about my job. I knew I was going to mess up but accepting my mistakes and learning from them was going to be a process no one could train for.

I’m a senior in high school and work on the Water Taxi during the weekend. This is something I love and I’m going to keep doing as long as I possibly can. I think it’s amazing to be in high school and have found a job I love and am willing to do for the rest of my life.

Time to Look for Colleges…

Image result for nyuAs our senior year begins, all of us have one gigantic question that’s on our mind; which college do we want to attend? Going to college for some of us is a big deal. It’s the start of our true adult life, for others it’s time where we want to discover more about ourselves or where we want to be for the rest of our lives. For me college is something I take very seriously. I want it to be an experience where I can finally learn to take care of myself without my parents over my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything my parents do for me but eventually i’m gonna have to grow up.

My two top college choices are NYU and SUNY Maritime. I’ll tell you why, I want NYU simply because it’s such an amazing school academically. Also, when I enroll into the school it will be 100% free only because my father works there. Now I don’t know if I want to go to either of these school, but I do know there options I would be more than happy to be at.NymcsealCMYK3D_news_web

My Time Aboard Hornblowers Ship….the Serenity

Snapchat-958758141The Serenity was a ship that takes your breath away at first sight, but its the crew that gives you the complete welcome onto their boat. When we boarded, we graciously received welcoming remarks from all crew especially the captain. Captain Jose gave a very simple but effective overview of what its like when the vessel is underway. He broke down the benefits of not being apart of the Union and the things all Hornblower employees benefit from. By saying all the pros and cons you wanted nothing more but to work for them. This trip has done a lot for me. It inspired me to hopefully become a future deckhand for this company and to open eyes to companies beyond them.

My First Marine Internship Interview


When I first sat down with Internship Coordinator Estefany Carmona, I was very nervous but I felt quiet prepared. I knew I was very hard working and I felt this job was meant to be mine. I gathered all the information nesscessary and I felt as if nothing could go wrong. When I finally met with her, I was asked questions that I never thought were gonna mean something to someone. She asked me about what I do in my classroom and what I took away from it. I wish I had prepared for her questions ahead of time. For example, she asked me what was a strength and a weakness of mine. I felt as if my interview went really well and it couldn’t have gone any better.

My First Tugboat Bridge Simulator


My first time using this tugboat simulator gave me an array of emotion. First I was excited. I had never experienced anything that was as complex but also as beautiful as that simulator. As I proceeded through my rough water simulation, I encountered several moments where I was frustrated. I didn’t know how to how to control a twin screw Z-drive propeller. Captain Andy Chase assured me, that not only was I overreacting but that if I take things slower and handle things with care, I’d do an amazing job. After simulating a twin screw Z-drive tugboat, I was able to teach other classmates on how to handle and maintain the tugboat simulator.

CPR…Hollywood verses Reality

IMG_9568Many times we look at movies and view them to be exactly like real life. In class, my teacher Aaron demonstrated the dangers of performing CPR wrong. The first danger we were introduced to was potentially breaking the person’s ribs. CPR is also only to be used on people whose hearts have stopped. If you do CPR on a person with a beating heart, you could stop their heart. You could kill someone by practicing CPR on them.

This presents an obvious issue when filming a scene where someone’s heart stops. The chest pumps are a safety hazard. Often, they will cut the person’s body or head out of frame so that it’s not a living human going through it.

The other option is to perform the CPR wrong, by bending their arms as they pump. There’s a danger in that too, as people learn from movies how to do CPR. Then, when someone’s heart actually stops, they won’t know how to do CPR correctly.

In movies, they always have that last chest hit and the person magically gasps and gets up off the floor with ease. Well, in real life that person would probably have broken ribs and punctured lungs.


Maneuvering Privateer’s Crane

Our day started when we went underway to the South Street Seaport Museum from Governors Island. While underway, we received a notice from Captain Aaron to make sure we know all of the safety equipment and procedures we use while the crane is in operations. The safety equipment includes hard hats and gloves to keep our head and hands safe when handling any load from the crane. The procedure for the crane operations is to always stand clear of the crane. You must also insure the crane hooks and cable is always straightened and never loose. Failure to do so will result in the cables being unloosened and a need of a repair man.

As we came along side South Street Seaport’s vessel, the Wavertree and stood by for the instruction. When hauling the anchor out of the water we followed procedure. We ran into no difficulties and completed the task in under a hour. In our debrief our the day, we all agreed that even though we were presented with a messy or difficult task, we not only completed it but did it with everything we had.