Film ID:
YFA 1451



Visitor Tabs


This is a documentary film promoting the Merchant Navy as a career. It follows the footsteps of a young new recruit, Charlie, as he works on the ferry the Spero, going from Hull to Gothenburg.  It's part of the series Working Together, a series which took an in-depth look at a wide variety of occupations.

Opening Credits:  Yorkshire Television Production
Working Together - The Merchant Navy

A 17 year old school leaver, Charlie, unpacks his bags in his accommodation on the Spero ferry, on which he has just arrived. He explains that he saw an advert for a deck hand with the Merchant Navy and went for the job. As the Spero is being untied, Charlie explains the background to his getting the job. The narrator provides information on the Spero, its ferry service and the crew, with the Spero being towed out of dock. The tug boats untie the tow ropes, and the Captain of the Spero gives directions. Charlie looks on as the helmsman steers the ship, and then, under guidance from the helmsman, takes over the helm himself.

The ship steers a course through a gale force 8 winds. Passengers get served in the restaurant, and a steward gives an account of his job as the kitchen workers prepare meals. The rubbish packaging is slung over the side into the sea. Charlie paints the outside of a cabin with another crew member, who explains the problem of seasickness (eating bread helps by bringing up the bile in the stomach, which causes the sick feeling).

In the engine room the engineers do their routine checks. The narrator explains the workings of the engines and what happens if there is a fault. One young engineer, smoking a pipe, explains his job. The second engineer explains what he has to do to move up in his career. Another crew member recounts how all his family have been at sea, and that he was on a trawler coming out of Hull for three years before joining the Merchant Navy in order to see the world. He shows Charlie the keys he has to use on the clock that is carried during fire patrol.

As the Spero comes towards port Charlie pulls out the rope, the mooring line, for docking. A tug comes alongside and a second Captain comes aboard for steering into dock. A tug eases the Spero into position and a crew member shows Charlie how to fold the mooring line for throwing onto the shore, which he does. The mooring line is tightened. The Blue Peter flag is flown to show that the Spero is leaving within 12 hours. Whilst in port a lifeboat is lowered for testing, and the sides of the ship are painted. As Charlie, in civilian clothes, has a look at the docked sailing ship the 'Viking', the narrator states that the way is open for Charlie to progress all the way to Captain. Charlie continues on a walk around Gothenburg while ashore, declaring that he would eventually like to see the world.

End Credits
Research Mary Robin
Cameraman Charles Flynn
Sound Recordist Stan Ellison
Film Editor Graham Shrimpton
Produced and Directed by Graham Watts
Acknowledgement to the Ellerman's Wilson Line, Hull.