What to Bring your First Time Offshore?
A common question we get from oilfield workers is what should they bring the first time they go offshore. We wanted to cover the basics so you don’t get caught with your pants down, like I did.
But first, a story. I was still a wearing an orange hard hat on my second offshore hitch. I was still a trainee and a little bit nervous about what was going on all around me. We were on a production platform that was doing some workovers, and the production platform and living quarters were separated by a catwalk. We had just finished a 30 hour SCSSV installation marathon, and the guy who was training me went inside the production quarters to write some reports. I went into the portable building to take a shower. That’s when all hell broke loose.
I was standing in the shower, washing away 30 hours of dirt, grease, and whatever else kind of hell is unleashed on the drill floor when the lights suddenly went out. Suddenly, an alarm started blaring, and I thought, “Oh shit! Abandon ship!!!” I stumbled through the portable building buck ass naked tripping over my work bag, but I finally found my way to the door. I ran down the stairs onto the deck of the platform, and saw a couple guy walking around like nothing was going on. Now, I’m scared shitless because I think we’ve had a blowout, H2S is slowly taking my sense of smell away, and I’m going to dive into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and battle the sharks and barracudas. Oh, and I can’t swim.
So as I’m standing in front of half a dozen seasoned oil workers dripping wet with only a pair of shower shoes on, I asked what the hell was going on??? To which they laughed and told me that the power went out and the generator alarms were going off. No big deal. And I look as green as any rookie who ever stepped on board.
That alarm went off seventeen more times before I left. And I was just as embarrassed every time.
Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down: Here is What You Need to Take With You
- A hard hat – surprisingly if something falls directly on your head from high in the derrick, you’re probably going to die. Hard hats are made in hopes that the object will glance off the side of the hat. With that said, a hard hat can save your life! Make sure you are wearing it properly.
- Steel Toe Boots - The cold honest truth… Your toes are bitches. You drop something heavy on them, they’ll break. I don’t care how manly you are. Steel toe boots my save those little babies. The calcium bromide in drilling fluid can shrink leather boots, so you may want to get rubber boots if you work on the drill floor. Some Dr. Marten steel toes are sure comfortable though.
- Gloves – There are all kinds of gloves out there, and the ones you choose really should depend on the type of work you’re doing. The dot gloves are great if you go through a couple pairs a day / week. Ghost gloves are awesome if you don’t need much protection, and you need to use your fingers to screw in fittings, and Ergodyne gloves are some beasts!
- Offshore work bag – You need something to pack all this shit in. Get a Bad Ass Work Bags, no questions asked. If not, you’re a sissie.
- Toiletries – You don’t want to be known as the nasty, smelly, bad breath dude that nobody wants to hang around. Take some toothpaste / toothbrush, body wash, shampoo, shower shoes, deoderant, and maybe some finger nail clippers.
- Cover-alls – Most companies provide them. Some provide Nomex fireproof ones. They suck. They are hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. If your company doesn’t provide cover-alls, bring some old shirts and jeans.
- Underwear – bring t-shirts, underwear, and socks. Make sure you have at least three pairs so you don’t have to do laundry every day.
- Life Vests – If you’re going to a production platform, you may need to bring a life vest.
- Dramamine – Get seasick? You need this!
- Tools – Bring whatever it is that you need to complete your job. Double check this before you leave. This can get you fired.
That’s it. I hope this saves you the headache of being offshore and missing something important. Good luck!