As a Brightlingsea Harbour apprentice, I work in various roles within the harbour and with local marine service suppliers, gaining as much experience as possible to complete my training. I am part of the nationwide British Marine apprentice scheme supported by Paragon Skills, who provide my educational support whilst I am here. I am undertaking the 18-month Marina and Boatyard Operative (Level 2) apprenticeship. I am one of the few females entering the industry on this scheme of which I am incredibly proud.
I cover a lot of the safety checks under the supervision of the Deputy Harbour Master; such as weekly testing of the fire alarms, fire extinguisher inspections, flushing through of the taps in the marina and much more! One of the first tasks I had to complete for my apprenticeship, to be able to work afloat, was my RYA powerboat level 2 and VHF courses. I completed these with Essex Marine Training around Brightlingsea Harbour and the Colne Estuary. I was then able to work on the water, which meant I could really start to complete some of my training. I was soon confident enough to skipper the water taxi, foot ferry and harbour tours after some further training with the Duty Harbour Masters. I’ve also learnt how the office side of the harbour works, taking ferry bookings and dealing with customers when they want to pay their mooring fees. I also have input into mooring allocations which is helpful as I learn where all the boats will be in the upcoming season.
The best job is the water taxi; I get to know each mooring holder, where their boat is allocated and the name. A Brightlingsea Harbour apprentice has many different roles and challenges; there are jobs that I do not enjoy as much as others, these are typically the ones that are very repetitive such as pressure washing the pontoons, I like doing different jobs within the day which really makes the time go quickly!
Each week we have a fuel delivery, and I help manage the fuel stock levels as one of my many roles. I will go up to our fuel berth and assist while the fuel is dispensed. Once complete, I lock up and complete the paperwork. Another role I have is to remove all fixtures and fittings from the pontoons over Winter, so the pontoons can be serviced ready for the following season. This means removing over 250 nameplates and space markings, and then in 4 months’ time, I get to put them all back again!
I complete much of my apprenticeship here at Brightlingsea Harbour, though there are several tasks I am required to undertake which I need to go to other places to do. In October 2020 I spent two weeks away from the harbour working with The Pioneer Sailing Trust and Morgan Marine which increased my skill set, I learnt different methods of work and adapted to other people’s ways of working. I had a fantastic time at both, and really hope I can spend some more time at both before completing my apprenticeship.