The Executive Council (EC) is constantly evaluating our successes – and debriefing our challenging moments – to determine how we can replicate what works and change what doesn’t. As a result of a recent evaluation of a ship decommissioning, the EC recognized that we had no defined requirements for the selection of First Officers, and ensuring that they were recognized as the second in command of ship.
A new bylaw has been created to solve this confusion, with three main points:
- First, that a Commanding Officer of a vessel must have the appropriate authority to choose the First Officer of the vessel.
- Second, that a First Officer must be a member in good standing with a minimum of nine months experience since graduating from the Academy, OR six months experience and experience acting as a Training Officer in the Academy.
- Third, that a First Officer is the ship’s second in command even when other players – who may have a higher rank more experience – is assigned to the ship.
As part of drafting this bylaw, the two Councils – in coordination with First Officers from ships in the fleet – has drafted guidance about the rights and responsibilities of First Officers. This guidance is made available to new First Officers upon appointment to the role, in addition to our detailed “Lt. Commanders Training Manual.”
While the UFOP Constitution defines our group’s structure and elements, the bylaws are clarifying additions which help guide our day-to-day work and ensure that important rules have the weight of community law.