The profession of a radio officer is a very important profession in the maritime field; but it’s something that has been going low for quite a while in today’s times. A radio officer is a person who helps to monitor and keep track of the communications aspect in a ship. The name ‘radio officer’ came into existence because in the olden days, there used to be radios which were used as tools of communication between the coast guard and the ship.
As a part of merchant navy jobs, the profession of radio officers involves a lot of requirements. Individuals are required to have a basic high school certificate to apply for the post of radio officers. In addition, individuals also need to clear written examinations to get the licensing for the post of a radio officer. Such licenses are known as the ‘Radio-Telegraph Operator’s License.’ There are specific grades assigned to this license which are known as ‘First Class’ or ‘Second Class.’
The licensing exam is a very extensive exam as it encompasses subjects like ‘How to send and receive messages through Morse code’, ‘The different marine rules set up by coast guards of various countries’ and most importantly ‘The operating system of the coast guards and other naval authority in different countries.’ The reason why these subjects are included is because as a radio officer, a person will be required to operate not just in local waters but also in international oceanic and sea-limits as well.
In today’s times, the radio officers’ job, as a part of the merchant marines has become much more varied. A radio officer, these days has to work not only with radios but also with advanced and essential gadgets like computers. As merchant marines, radio officers also get regular reports about the weather in the oceanic and sea areas where the ship is positioned.
It has to be noted that the profession of radio officers is something that requires round-the-clock alertness and vigilance. This is why radio officers work generally on a shift system. The shift system includes two-three four-hour rotations in a day. This four-hour rotation is conducted once in the morning and once in the evening, giving a radio officer a gap of at least eight hours in between.
Radio officers, it has to be understood are not just a part of passenger ships. They are also essential in cargo vessels because of the very nature of the ship. In addition, ships utilised solely for the purposes of oil drilling in the high seas also employ the services of radio officers as a part of merchant navy jobs.
However, one major problem when it comes to jobs in merchant marines like that of a radio officer is that the pay is not so good and the scope of getting a promotion is also not that much. Keeping these aspects in mind, one has to decide whether one wants to take up the profession of a radio officer or not, especially in the time where they have almost become obsolete.