At the age of 22, Drenaud Moncur is living his dream.
Months after he earned his first Certificate of Competence as an Officer of the Watch – an unlimited license that allows him to be engaged as a navigation officer sailing on any sized vessel – he is now a second officer on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas.
Moncur said he fell in love with the sea as a preteen and has worked to pursue a maritime career ever since.
“I’m now living the dream,” he said.
“It’s the perfect job. I have no complaints. I can do this for months and months and months without getting tired. It’s the perfect career.”
Moncur officially joined the Royal Caribbean team in July.
“The second officer is a part of the bridge team, navigation is a part of it, but we also deal with lifesaving appliances onboard and firefighting equipment,” he said.
“We’re responsible for checking all of the rescue boats, lifejackets, life rings and making sure that everything is up to standard, maintaining and inspecting them, as well as holding a watch during hours of darkness on the bridge.”
At sunset, Moncur goes up to the bridge to carry out his watch until another second officer relieves him at midnight.
Moncur is a 2016 graduate of the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC). He participated in the program during his last three years as a student at Aquinas College.
Though, initially, his goal was to become a member of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), things changed when he joined the BMCC.
In seventh grade, Moncur became an RBDF Ranger. However, it was not until his exposure to the more in-depth instruction in areas such as navigation, rules of the nautical road, seamanship and vessel husbandry, which he received in the BMCC, that he was sold on the idea that this was his calling.
“I fell in love with the sea,” he said.
Before he got confirmation of his Royal Caribbean posting, Moncur worked as a deck hand on a local tug boat and cargo ship. He said those jobs helped him pass the time until cruise sailing resumed.
Moncur has been preparing for a life on the sea for nearly half of his life.
In addition to the classroom instruction, students in the BMCC receive additional exposure through field trips to sites involved in shipping as well as presentations from industry professionals.
Upon completion of his high school studies, Moncur went on to attend the Marine Institute of Memorial University in Canada where he was able to participate in a four-year diploma program, which included three years of classroom instruction, supplemented by one year of sea time on some of the largest vessels in the world.
In his case, he was assigned to a roll-on/roll-off vessel, ships transporting bulk cargo as well as two seismic vessels. He was particularly excited to have received experience on a PANAMAX vessel, the largest that are allowed to transit through the Panama Canal. All of the necessary Transport Canada examinations were completed prior to the end of the third year of instruction and once the requirements for the sea time were satisfied, he was allowed to sit the mandatory oral examinations. He successfully completed all of his license requirements on February 25, 2021. The Canadian qualification is easily transferable to a Bahamian Certificate of Competence.
He went on to attain his bachelor’s degree in maritime management earlier this year.
During his studies, Moncur traveled extensively. Already, he’s been to Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Brazil, and across the islands of The Bahamas.
“Traveling around the world is amazing,” he said.
“Being able to experience different cultures, even though it’s for a short period of time, it’s great.
“It’s basically free, they’re paying you to travel. And the interesting thing is with some ships, especially cargo ships, you never know where you’re gonna go next.
“The travel has been amazing. It’s been a cool experience. I got to visit a lot of great places that I didn’t even know existed. So, it’s been pretty good.”
Adventures of the Seas’ current route takes Moncur from Nassau, to Freeport, to the Berry Islands and on to Mexico, before returning to Nassau.
Moncur said he couldn’t ask for a better gig and that he couldn’t have done it without his parents.
He recalls that it was his father, Drenaud Moncur Sr., who helped him to pursue a career in the maritime industry.
He said when he told his father his dream of becoming an officer, his dad took steps to get him enrolled in the maritime cadets’ program at C.R. Walker High School as the program was not offered at his school. He said his dad also helped him get involved with the RBDF Rangers.
Moncur added that his mother was a constant source of encouragement and also sought to introduce him to the “right people”.
He encouraged more young people to join the BMCC and pursue a career in the maritime industry.
The BMCC is sponsored by the Ministry of Transport and Local Government in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and functions under the auspices of the Bahamas Maritime Authority.
It is open to students in grades 10-12 and seeks to introduce them to various aspects of the shipping industry with a focus on a career at sea in hopes that participants will see this as a viable career option. There are also a number of employment possibilities in other aspects of the local shipping industry as well as the opportunity for entrepreneurial ventures that are available to the cadets upon completion of the program.