Who's navigating? From Dynamic Positioning to marine consultancy

09 Feb 2024 The Navigator

Tow Master and Marine Consultant Tom Feakins discusses the career opportunities that his DP training has given him

What led you to pursue a career at sea?
Initially, I went to work at sea as an AB as it was a good opportunity to both travel and work. Once I started at sea, I realised that I really enjoyed the work, culture and learning a great deal from different ship types. I then went on to study for my OOW and by the time I had my Master’s Certificate of Competency, I had worked on a wide variety of ships, including as an Senior Dynamic Positioning Operator (SDPO) in the North Sea. I now run a marine consultancy business. Working at sea for me has been, and continues to be, a great career, with many opportunities.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time? Ten?
In five years’ time, I aim to still be working as a tow master and marine consultant with increased project and tow exposure Also to be providing legal advice on shipping disputes. I have recently started work on a few projects with The Nautical Institute, which is enjoyable and allows me to put back time and enthusiasm into an industry that has provided me with so much. Hopefully this will also develop n the next five years. I am also keen to assist wherever I can in spreading the knowledge of careers at sea to others, including the opportunities that DPO training can bring.

What do you think are the main advantages for ships operating a DP system?
For prolonged, accurate position-keeping, DP is very good. However, I would also say that DP operators need to have good knowledge of ship handling in order to fully understand the vessels they are working on. I was fortunate to work on ships before DP was quite as prevalent as it is now, so I learnt how to drive ships manually and then went on to discover how DP was able to help with this.

What career opportunities and openings have your own training and skills in DP provided you with to date?
My SDPO experience provided me with a wealth of knowledge about DP operations. This has been very useful in helping me understand the risks and opportunities around towing, decommissioning and marine operations in the oil and gas and wind industries. DP is an extremely interesting part of the maritime industry, and one which exposes operators to a wide variety of vessel types and operations.