A boys dream came true



Passport photo R.C. Visman – 1966

…I wanted to sail from an early age.
My parents allowed me to go to sea, but behind the mast.
My father was inexorable about that: the man was right.
And so I went for another two years to the driver school ‘Maarten Tromp’ in Den Briel.
In October 1966 I got my VD (provisional diploma) and applied for a job at Bureau Wijsmuller.



Together with my father I often went to the head of the harbour in IJmuiden.
We then passed the jetty where the harbour service tugboats were moored.
My father came from IJmuiden and knew several men who sailed on these ships.
I wanted to sail there too, that was my ideal.



But what did I know about sailing and life on board these ships?
Ships that were even bigger than those at the jetty, real oceangoing tugboats.
Where did they go and what kind of work did they do?
Yes, towing all kinds of things that float that I could understand, but further…?

A boy’s dream came true and on 24 November 1966 I descended the engine room stairs to begin what I had learned for:

“Ship’s Engineer

There I finally stood on the plate in my snow-white and still crackling boiler suit; the work waited and would continue to do so.

Under a tank lay the Chief engineer, who looked around and called to close the valve.
Amazed I looked around me.
Everywhere I saw valves.
He shouted “That yellow one”.
It got easier already, there were four of them.
Angry the man came from under the tank and turned the valve himself close under the curse: “nowadays they send everything to sea”.

I still had a lot to learn.

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