If you are having an internship in an offshore company and you are getting ready to start your first hitch as a roustabout, getting used to an offshore life on a production rig or drilling platform is a big adjustment, not only for you but also to your family. Here are some few tips from professional offshore rig professionals on how to ease work transition.
Don’t go offshore without a support network
If you are planning to work offshore, you need to have the full support of your family, either it is your mother, father, brother, sisters, spouse or children. You need to discuss your plans to the people closest to you, for any emergencies that will arise while you are working offshore. It is essential for you or your family to feel comfortable while you are working offshore. If you have some uncertainties and pressures at home, you need to think about your career choices. For the companies, they need to acknowledge the worker’s need to continually contact their loved ones vie satellite phones or the internet either using FaceTime or Skype. It is imperative for workers to have a support network and overcome the long-distance limitations. For people working offshore, even if they have a stable relationship, it is essential to plan in case there’s something bad that will happen at home while you are away. Your family and friends should have to pull together by themselves while you are offshore. You have to make sure that the company or employers know how to contact your family members in case something happened to you. Your family members also need to know your company’s contact numbers, for emergency purposes. If you are a supervisor or above, you probably have a satellite phone at all times, but for people that are directly involved in the drilling operations, their family members can’t directly contact them, so the safest way to talk to them is by their company or through their supervisors.
Get ready to pay your dues
Working offshore is a physically demanding job. It is not like working in the office, working from 8 in the morning and going out at 5 in the afternoon, Mondays to Fridays. It is not a usual work hour, especially for newcomers. If you are new at the job, you need to prepare yourself to work at least 12 hours a day, six days a week, rain or shine.
Offshore oil and gas drilling facilities are very noisy. Constant exposure to these noises can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. According to a Houston-based CSTI acoustics principal, Bob Bruce, 85-decibel A-weighted criteria are common hearing conservation (www.noisehelp.com can explain further what dBA means and what is its importance.) Production area will be 80 to 90 decibels A, and reaching 100 decibels at the maximum near major equipment like big compressors. Levels above 100 dBA are typical in areas near supply vessel platforms, fire water pumps and flares. Inside decks, cabins and sick bays can go from 40 to 50 dBA, 50 to 55 dBA for offices and mess hall, and 60 to 70 dBA for electrical, laundry, warehouse and muster areas. For areas that reach 80 to 90 dBA, people need to wear protective gear for hearing, and for areas with levels above 100 dBA, you need double hearing protection. Work schedule and environment is very unrelenting. People at the bottom of the work hierarchy will have long working hours and requires significant adjustments. As a newcomer, and possibly a bottom-feeder, you will need to work your ass off to gain your employer’s respect and prove what your worth is. Expect tiring, long working hours on the frontlines and participating deck training and safety meetings. You will be given 13 hours of shift per day with pre-tour meetings with your back-to-back co-employees.
Respect each other’s personal space and time
According to some offshore living quarters manufacturers, a quiet area is a privilege on offshore facilities, and there’s a big chance that you will be sharing living quarters with a co-worker. If you follow a few simple rules and living etiquette, it will pay dividends when it comes to camaraderie. The workplace will be a much happier place if you respect other people’s personal space. Always clean your room because there’s a big chance that you will not be the only one living in your quarters. Make sure to be quiet in your room because sleep is a sought-after commodity offshore and you want your roommate to have a good night’s sleep as much as you.