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A day in the life of an Offshore Crane Operator

Posted by: Matthew Spells

Kevin Tate is a Senior Offshore (Stage 3) Crane Operator who has worked at Bourbon, a world leader in marine services for offshore oil and gas, through WRS since 2014. Kevin’s 16 year career in the Offshore Oil & Gas and Maritime sectors means he’s an invaluable part of the team. He is currently working off the coast of Angola on the Kaombo project on the ultra-deepwater offshore Block 32. I spoke to Kevin recently to talk to him about his career and what it's really like to work at sea as a Crane Operator.

Hi Kevin, briefly sum up your position – what does it entail?
As an Offshore Crane Operator the role is a challenge every day! No day is the same; you have to deal with the Client asking questions about different lifts there’s a lot of problem solving. I have to maintain the crane and make sure it’s 100% ready for the project, including filling all paper work out before you even start the Crane then Operating to the very high level of skill that is expected.

How long have you worked as a Crane Op?
I have worked as Subsea Crane Operator for the last 16 years at least. I have experience in Oil and Wind energy and the Salvage industry.

What are the hours like?
My shift is usually 12 hours, from 12:00 Midday to 00:00 Midnight but as Senior Crane Operator, I have to go to morning meetings so I will start around 10:30. My rotation on the Bourbon 803 is 7+ weeks.

What challenges you in your role?
My Favourite Offshore Lift is ( Ship / Ship ) as it’s a Challenge.

How are safety procedures followed on board?
Safety on board the ship is always key for the whole team, from updating risk assessments and lift plans to toolbox talks, using only certified rigging and working with highly trained personnel around me.

What is it really like to work at sea, and how do you relax?
Working at sea is very hard, but there are plenty of things to do like going to the Gym or relaxing with a film with the guys after work.

Whereabouts in the world have you worked in the past?
I have worked all over the world, including: China, Sri Lanka, Gibraltar, the Azores, Singapore, Holland and Germany to name just a few.

How does WRS support you in your position?
WRS are very good Company to work for, as if you have any issues they are always more than happy to help.

If you weren’t an Offshore Crane Op, what other job would you do?
I have worked in the past in the Salvage industry which you have to do more than one job, not just Crane Operating. I have enjoyed being a Commercial Diver / Welder and always gave 100% in whatever I was doing.

What advice would you give to an aspiring seafarer or offshore worker?
My advice to anybody starting out in the offshore industry would be, if someone is spending the time to give you advice, take the time to listen and do not think you know everything just because you have the certification.

Thanks a lot for your time Kevin, hopefully your answers will be useful for some aspiring offshore or maritime workers out there.

If you're looking for your next move in the Marine industry, or your business needs support in sourcing and managing crew, please Contact the WRS Maritime team on +44 161 925 2626 or email us on   

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