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01 Feb 2021 The Navigator

Cruise ship Second Officer Kruskayta Arellano talks about breaking down cultural barriers at work and why navigators must keep sharing their knowledge for the good of everyone involved

Name: Kruskayta Arellano
Current Position: Second Officer

What interests you about a career at sea?
I like the idea that we can transport multiple goods, sail long distances and make the most incredible experiences for guests while they are on board our ship. It is incredible how a little team can work together to move and operate a huge ship, breaking down language barriers and learning how to coexist in a relatively tiny, multicultural place with people whom you have never met before, but will soon become your second family. This is a profession where you must learn multiple things and develop multiple skills that you employ every day. It’s like doing a little bit of everything!

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Ten?
I see myself being more confident, doing my best to share the knowledge gained through the years with other people and contributing to a better environment on board. In five years, I will be hopefully signing up for my Master’s licence and very happy to continue enjoying the life at sea and keeping myself updated with the shipping industry. In ten years’ time, I would like to have command of a vessel. I really would like this to happen in a cruise ship so I can carry on learning more languages and experiencing different cultures.

How has mentoring helped you in your career?
Mentoring has helped me to increase my confidence. I enjoy the freedom of having conversations between partners, supervisors and with the whole crew, as well as making connections that increase everybody’s knowledge. It is good to be able to forget about the fear of speaking up or being judged. Instead, mentoring helps us to open our minds, giving us different points of view to help improve the safety culture, increase efficiency in different fields and understand why we do some activities in a certain way. As soon as we take at least ten minutes out of our day to share our knowledge, we see a huge improvement in our lives. It is possible that sometimes we do not even notice how much we are helping each other and how many barriers we are breaking down.

How can experienced navigators help those coming up behind them to improve on their knowledge and skills?
I think that experienced navigators can try different techniques to create and develop a team who feel confident about sharing doubts and ideas with each other. That way, everybody will have a voice that will be heard and analysed; the environment on board will be healthier and everyone can enjoy higher levels of confidence, efficiency and safety. For example, experienced navigators could invite other, less confident navigators to have a chat which, little by little, will move them out of their comfort or shyness zone and encourage them to share their own experiences and opinions. Once, when I was working on board a vessel, we noticed that scheduled meetings were not working well because people felt bored and tired of how they were being run. We tried to change the way we ran meetings by keeping to the topic at hand but also introducing other activities. We made up some cards and balloons with messages, safety signs and questions inside to help keep people’s attention and interest in the issues and topics around them. We got positive results and many of the people involved realised that they had been losing their wider awareness about life in their second home by just focusing strictly on their job schedules and not staying aware of everything else going on around them.