Becoming a tender driver is not an easy task. You must complete a rigorous driving course and pass two examinations. On Aug. 21, 12 crew members (quartermaster, sailors, LBA’s, cadets) all began the course for their certificate.
The entire course was under the excellent supervision of Jan J. Westerbeek, the well known and very experienced first officer of ms Zaandam. Everyone who wants to be a tender driver must complete two LMS courses, followed by five theoretical classes, three practical classes and then pass a theoretical and practical exam. The eight classes account for 10 hours of theoretical and six hours of practical classes. You can see it’s not easy to be a tender driver, but that’s a good thing. When you are a tender driver, you are the captain of a vessel, which means lots of responsibilities.
As a tender driver you have the responsibility of a 12-ton vessel with 70 to 80 passengers. You also have to know the rules of the road to avoid a collision, in addition to being able to deal with a fire or another emergency.
On Sept. 12, all of the potential tender drivers had their theoretical exam. A pretty hard theoretical exam was made by Jan, testing the students on everything covered by the course including basic navigation, inventory of the tenders, what to do when there is a fire on board, collision avoidance and many other things. During the maneuvering examination on Sept.19, the group was divided into two sub groups and with one group a time we get in to the tender to show our skills in maneuvering a tender. To pass the practical exam we had to do four different maneuvers including tender docking against the platform and maneuvering between the hooks and blocks.
Once completing all of the courses and passing the two exams, Officer Westerbeek, together with an independent observer, decide if the candidate is capable of handling the tender and its responsibilities. If so, the candidates will receive their certificate. From the group of 12, 10 crew members received their certificates during a nice ceremony with Captain Andre van Schoonhoven as the entire deck department looked on.
After four weeks of training and unsurpassed energy from our instructor Jan, Holland America Line has 10 brand new, well-trained tender drivers. Congratulations!
Ioana Cheregi is Zaandam’s human resources manager.