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My name is Ian Martin and I am one of Hulls Maritime History Tour Guides and an ex Merchant Seamen.

Most of you reading this will have no doubt have learnt to drive at some point but did you know that as a seaman working in the deck department we had to pass our driving test on a ship!

Most Hull Seamen would have received twelve weeks initial training before joining their first ship.

I went to the Vindicatrix, an old sailing ship berthed on the Sharpness canal in Gloucestershire. There we were taught basic seamanship such as rope splicing and boat handling.

It was a very hard course especially in winter when I was there. After the initial training we had to pass several more exams in order to become an Able Bodied Seaman. I took my Lifeboatmans Certificate in Sydney Harbour Australia, where we had to launch a lifeboat and navigate it safely around the harbour.

Over 70,000 boys passed through the Vindicatrix and during the War many of them lost their lives on the Atlantic convoys and most of them were only 15 years old.

If you would like to know more about Hull's maritime history please join us on one of our free tours starting on 10 February 2024.