Meet Andrew Dick, Field Engineer, Dundee
In Part 1 of our offshore engineer series, we meet Andrew Dick, 56, who graduated from Bannockburn High in Stirling in 1977 and has been one of Capital’s engineers since June 2012.
In these five years, Andrew has built upon his experience. This includes a daunting trip to a platform during high storms, when his helicopter was going in every direction before landing with an almighty thud, dispatching Andrew for his stint. But this is fairly standard in the day and the life of an offshore engineer!
A typical day
0500 – 1200
My wake-up call on the platform comes all too early at 5.15am. Accommodation tends to be shared, with each cabin having its own wash basin, with shower and toilet facilities nearby.
I get up and get ready for the day before heading for a quick breakfast at 6.00am in the canteen with the other engineers. Fresh food is regularly delivered to the platform by supply boat or helicopter. So things like fruit and veg are readily available, and each meal is prepared by kitchen staff.
I am responsible for the repair work of our offshore clients’ photocopiers and printers. So straight after breakfast I attend my daily safety meeting with the team, before queuing for a work permit, then on with the day’s work.
1200 – 1800
The platform food is one of my favourite parts of the job! As I burn lots of energy, I look forward to a hearty lunch at midday, before carrying on with on-board maintenance, and revelling in being away from the stresses on land. Just getting a trip away makes the job worthwhile!
1800 – 2200
At 6pm, I change shifts, by doing a full handover, before heading to the canteen for a good dinner. The usual working pattern for offshore engineers is a 12-hour shift, and it is normal to spend two or three weeks offshore and then two or three weeks onshore.
At 7pm, I can start to wind down. Most offshore installations have good leisure facilities for the employees on board. I will use the sauna if the platform has one to ease any sore muscles, or watch TV or read. Then I’ll head to bed at around 10pm.
Life at sea
As the holidays draw near, I remember a time I got stuck on a platform over Christmas. The food was the best I have ever had! Just a shame for the family, whose only interaction with me that day was over FaceTime!
There is no mobile phone signal offshore, however there are ample card phones. All the platforms have broadband internet and WiFi for emailing and making Skype and FaceTime calls.
These types of sacrifices aside, I love the benefits and the excitement of working offshore – not to mention the cooking! There is very little grief or pressure – life tends to be very relaxed. I would say to any young person looking to work offshore to go for it. It’s an illustrious career move, and a very rewarding one.