MERCHANT Navy officer cadet, Sam Bailey, has embarked on a month-long placement at Wightlink.

The 22-year-old from Romsey, is joining crews on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route to gain first hand experience of the ferry company’s lifeline service supplying the Isle of Wight during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

During his time at Wightlink, Sam will also sail to Falmouth on board its flagship Victoria of Wight for dry-docking and refit at the A&P shipyard. 

After learning to sail dinghies as a boy, Sam took a job as a deckhand on superyachts in the Mediterranean.

He said: "I got talking to the officers on board and found out about careers in the Merchant Navy. It looked like being a great life with lots of opportunities of travel, combining classroom study with several placements on ships.

"I’m looking forward to learning more about an officer’s job in the busy waters of the Solent at Wightlink."

Sam is the second cadet to join Wightlink in recent years. Jon-James Hulford-Funnell from the Isle of Wight spent two months with the company in 2020.

Wightlink Chief Executive, Keith Greenfield, added: “We are pleased to help educate the next generation of professional mariners by offering placement opportunities for cadets through Chiltern Maritime.

"The Merchant Navy offers a wide range of challenging and rewarding careers for young men and women."