Are you heading offshore soon for the first time? Below, learn what to expect when you depart for your vessel!

Over the course of my offshore career, I have bounced around to almost ten different offshore drilling rigs. Each one became home for a period of time in my life. Although each ship was different, the process of joining a new team started off pretty similarly.

I want to note that I worked exclusively on drill ships in the Gulf of Mexico, but my goal for writing this article is to provide some insight into the arrival process on any new vessel. Below, I will walk you through a generic on-boarding process based on my experiences offshore.

Day 1: Welcome! You’re Exhausted.

Today is going to be a long day. You were picked up and dropped off at the heliport at an ungodly early hour. You flew to the rig and on that flight you met just some of the people you will work with out there.

Once you arrive on the rig, you will watch an on-boarding/induction presentation by the medic. This is when he or she will fill you in on basic operations and you will get your room assignment.

Since you are new, the medic will take you and the other newbies on a rig tour. You will also get to grab some food and drop your bags off in your cabin. On the tour, I always like to take note of the gym, female locker room, cinema (or wherever daily meeting are held), and the galley/mess hall. As far as the ship’s accommodations go, those are usually the places I will frequent. Then you will be set free in your new and unfamiliar floating abode.

An example of “backyard” views provided in your new home.

Following Days: Get the Job Done and Know Your Co-workers

Over the following days, you will work to do your job and through that meet some fellow co-workers. This is nice because, unless they were new and just flew out with you to the rig as well, they should know this place a bit better than you do. They should be able to answer any questions you have and will hopefully introduce you to some people on the vessel.

As far as social settings go, outside of your work, I tend to meet and interact with other people in the mess and the gym. In my experience, people have always been very friendly and helpful. When you are in the mess or the gym, you and the people around you are on break, making it the best time to meet your new “neighbors.” I recommend introducing yourself to others and asking about what they do on the vessel. It is an easy way to start a conversation.

Work Perk: An Offshore Sunset

Pretty Soon, You Will Find A Routine

I know that it can be overwhelming being thrown into a bustling new environment, yet over the course of your stay, the unfamiliar faces and places will slowly become your new normal.

I implore you to make the most of your new environment! Find out what you like best about your new rig. It could be the cabins, food, gym, people, sunsets, internet speed, or even all of the above. Dive in and enjoy adding a new experience to your life’s resume. Before you know it, you will be able to iron out a routine on your new vessel.

What has been your personal experience?

Feel free to share tips, your own personal experiences, or any questions you may have about heading to a new ship in the comments section below. Thanks!

Julie Taliaferro
About The Author: Julie Taliaferro

Julie Taliaferro is a Senior Mudlogging Geologist in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2014, she graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. Since then she has been working on deepwater and ultra-deepwater exploration and development projects. In her three years working offshore she has had the privilege of meeting many inspiring women. With Women Offshore she hopes to help foster a community which connects, encourages, and advances females in this field. She currently lives in Lafayette, Louisiana and her hobbies include traveling, cycling, and cooking.

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