For some time past it has been my intention to commit to record because it could be of interest, and more so because it must be a reflection of time and the rapidity by which that time so easily and quickly fades.
Elsewhere I have recorded some aspects of my father’s life, but as it is my intention for the written record representative in some of his maritime experiences in the form of that matter that any sailor worthy of his hire would be reluctant to lose his discharges.
The importance of these was proof that he had spent such time as required or was appropriate at the trade of sailor-ising as a prelude to acceptance of his application to sit for, and get, those first steps to the chain of command of a ship of whatever nature, either high or low. The terms used as high or low are to a degree irrelevant – the question in its ultimate is command. Admittedly there has been an erosion of the power that’s implied, just as there is and always will be the question of worthiness and the ability to carry out that position because of merit. Some men have spent a lifetime as mate for a variety of reasons, whilst others, because of shipping company policy, are selected because that is the policy of operations.
At one time, now no longer prevalent, the master was considered the equivalent of God and reigned supreme once freed of the confines of harbour and the land. So without further ado let’s get on with this tale.
By Barney Daniel – March 1995