Onboard the Ocean Viking – Guillaume’s Diary: “Marseille has arrived and Marseille has left”

Guillaume is an SOS MEDITERRANEE rescuer currently onboard the Ocean Viking for his second mission. He tells us about his daily life and work on board.


“Marseille has arrived and Marseille has left. The Ocean Viking is sailing in a sea that hesitates between horizontality and verticality. We are like puppets wobbling on board between our beds and our seasickness medication. The light of December brightens up the Calanques of Marseille in the morning. This is the first day of mission. Other days will follow. We start from the beginning: trainings, meetings, maintenance work, checks… Stretcher trainings, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). We double-check what has been checked, we prepare for the worst. When the Mediterranean Sea allows us to do so. 31 crew members get accustomed to life at sea and go with the rhythm of the sun and moon. Forget Saturdays, Sundays… all days are alike. The weather offers us a few hours of training with our rigid-hull inflatable rescue boats in the water. Overalls/lifejacket/boots/helmet/headlamp/gloves. We are loyal to the UHF radio installed on our chest. We look straight ahead; we must speak loud and clear.

I am part of the deck team, in-between the bridge (coordinating the operations) and our rescue boats intervening in the water. If the team needs a “banana” (flotation device), we will launch a “banana”; if they need a raft, we will throw a raft; if team members need to embark or disembark from the rescue boats, we will be here for them. Each of one of us knows and trusts each other. Corsica and Sardinia are not far away, the Libyan search and rescue area a little more, after Good Cape. That’s where we’re going.”

Photo credits: Laurence Bondard
Read the complete diary.

Guillaume is a 33-year-old French member of the SOS MEDITERRANEE team onboard the Ocean Viking. Before becoming a seafarer, Guillaume worked in paramedical centres for rehabilitation through sports for physically or mentally ill people. He believes this experience gave him the opportunity to get close to people in need, to feel their sensitivities, understand and help them. In the past two years he has been a seafarer and a skipper working on charter boats and delivering sailing boats across the Atlantic. Aside from this, he also had different professional fishing experiences as well as sailing traditional ringing sailing boats in Brittany and Normandy, which he did until he joined SOS MEDITERRANEE in 2019. Guillaume became part of the Search and Rescue team on the fourth mission of the Ocean Viking in November 2019.