A sailor’s life for Mardi

Eden teen Mardi Longford enjoyed her recent work experience with the Royal Australian Navy so much, she now has her sights firmly set on a navy career.

The year 10 Eden Marine High School student, who ‘grew up around’ her dad’s fishing boat, was a fan of Australian television drama Sea Patrol.

She credits the show, set on the fictional patrol boat HMAS Hammersley, for her interest in becoming a sailor.

“I always watched Sea Patrol when it was on; I loved it,” Mardi said.

“The crew seem to have such a great friendship on the boat, and worked well together.

“I’ve grown up around boats, dad used to be a fisherman and I don’t get seasick so it all kind of works for me.”

In mid-March Mardi got to taste navy life when she successfully applied for a work experience placement at HMAS Albatross in Nowra.

The pace was hectic.

“We spent our first day at survival school,” Mardi said.

“At survival gym we got in these massive overalls – they were so heavy and hot.

“We had to do a jump off this massive platform.

“It was a bit scary.

“We had to climb into a life raft and it was so hard. We had inflated lifejackets on and our overalls were so heavy with water. 

“You’ve got to basically pull yourself out of the water to get into the life raft.

“Then we had to bail out the life raft and then we were winched up out of the water as if it was a helicopter rescue at sea.

“That was just one day!”

On her second day, Mardi learnt how to safely put out fires, experienced a flooding ship simulator where they were expected to fix the holes and stop the flooding.

Day three was spent at HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay.

The students climbed the indoor rock wall, competed in swimming activities and attempted to finish the above water obstacle course.

Day four was spent at all the different squadrons, getting to look at and sit in all the different times of helicopters.

The final day, day five, the students went and spoke to the Boatswain mates on base and learnt how to strip guns and march around the base.

“Lunch was my favourite part of the day – it was awesome! Mardi said.

“I was so exhausted by the end of each day. I would talk to dad a little bit and then fall asleep in our motel.”

“It was really cool. I loved it.”

“I’m in year 10 now.

“I want to be a boatswain’s mate. You only have to complete year 10 English and maths.

“I don’t know if I’ll finish school, I’ll just see how I go…”

To find out more about applying for work experience with the Royal Australian Navy follow the link http://www.defence.gov.au/workexperience/whatsonoffer/nsw/hmas_albatross_training.htm