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Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth sailin', May 9, 2006
This review is from: From the Bridge: Authentic Modern Sea Stories (Paperback)
We often hear in the media, stories about piracy on the high seas, port security, marine trade, sinkings and oil spills with loss of life - happenings on the high seas that occur daily around the world. And yet, though the sea is the highway upon which our commerce flows, upon which we take our holidays, through which we are able to buy goods produced around the world, we hear and know very little of the women and men that make all this possible.

Well, we don't have to wait any longer. Captain Kelly Sweeney, has condensed these issues and many other stories into a mere 187 pages that not only informs the reader but entertains as well. From life at sea, to laws, marine licensing and technology, we are treated with real-life anecdotes of what it is like to sail at sea, on research vessels to oil tankers, huge car and asphalt carriers to lowly tugs, issues at sea and on land - and he does it in a manner that is quite accessible to the layperson, but technical and sophisticated enough to interest and be of direct relevance those who have made working on the high seas their life.

Captain Sweeney doesn't over-dramatise issues - he tells them as they are. If you are looking for some over-the-top, mission impossible on the high seas, creative fiction, this book is not for you. While we are riveted with his tales of piracy and danger, we are sobered with the lessons learned. We are appalled at the likes of "Captain Screamer" and questionable orders in high tension situations, we are likewise heartened by the ethics, professionalism and sheer hard work of everyday mariners.

This book gives us a peek into the world of the merchant marine - a glimpse of a world that most of us know nothing about. Captain Sweeney humanises the industry while tackling serious issues that obviously need to be addressed. He cajoles us, entertains us, makes us laugh and gets us angry - and hopefully leads us and the people in the marine industry to demand the changes that are sorely needed, and recognise the incredible contribution that the people in the merchant marine make.

On a structural note, if Captain Sweeney revises this first edition or comes out with a follow-up, more pics would be great and a glossary of nautical and technical terms would be invaluable. In fact, I hope he does come out with a sequel - I would gladly order a copy now.
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Location: Alberta, Canada

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