For me to have a career at sea – the sense of independence and wearing a uniform – for me it was an ideal job. I was absorbing everything and every day was a learning experience.
I think that you learn things the hard way from years at sea; captains don't hold back. They tell you in a forthright way what they want. At sea you have to do that and that's the approach I try to convey in the book as well.
I think to make a move ashore you have to be noticed by your office team. You have to perform. From my point of view I don't think my exam results alone made a difference. I was the youngest captain in the fleet – I was 29 when I got my first command – so people already knew about me.
People took notice of my performance. I had an invitation to join the office before I even had my exam results; one of the superintendents said to me 'you're a good guy, why don't you join the office.' Then one year later my exam results came out and they put my results and my CV together and took me in.
It was quite a big decision to come ashore. My childhood dream was to become a ship's captain, so to give it up was not so easy. It so happened that my wife and I had a child and she was on the way when I got the offer so it made sense to take up the offer. It was influenced by a personal decision.
I get a lot of requests for advice when people want to move ashore. My first question usually is: 'Well, what do you want to do?' They then say: 'I don't know, maybe this, maybe that.' I was like that. I was not very clear on what I wanted to do. I did a course in chartered shipbroking, I also have a master's degree in business law and one in business management but what I do is quite different from what I studied.
Officer to shoreside: crew superintendent, and author Captain VS Parani
Experienced seafarer Captain Parani shares his experiences and advice on making the move from ship to shore.