An oceanic crossing not only demands steely nerves and a strong constitution but also the meticulous planning and preparation expected of a military commander.
The experience of being "underway" on any size vessel is unique in itself.
You must prepare for the worst and pray for the best.
In order to be prepared all interior crew need certain objectives, instructions on how to best stow their vessel, and a basic schedule. Common mistakes occur when the boat is not stowed properly.
Once the weather turns it ls difficult or often impossible to rectify damage.
Before each crossing the crew will receive specific instructions from the captain regarding projected conditions, voyage plans and scheduled safety drills.
lf weather permits, this is also the perfect time to complete all of those projects that were not tackled during a busy season.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVES:
- Keep the boat safe
- Keep yourself heaIthy
- Practise safety drills
- Learn about your vessel
- Keep the boat clean and tidy
- Help where needed
Often if it is very rough, some crew will "camp out" in the most stable part of the vessel, which more often than not is the guest area. lf this happens, keep it tidy and respect everyone's space. Only allow water (with the exception of bread or crackers for those who are seasick) in this area and be very careful if allowing crew to sleep on owner furniture, which should be well protected for very obvious reasons.
Often crew will bring thelr mattress and bedding up from the crew area and sleep well wedged in on the floor. This is the best solution.
Work away at tasks as appropriate. If you have questions, consult the captain. Be kind and understanding, keep smiling and enjoy the experience.
The following list is a basic example of the normal routine, all interior crew perform when the boat is preparing to cross.
Because every boat, is different and the dÃ©cor and perfection of retainers vary, the chief steward/ess must develop the routine that works best and most efficiently for the vessel.
Stowing material is worth its weight in gold on a boat. Keep all old spare towels, bubble wrap, old cushions and pillows, etc. to use for stowing. lf on board, runners and furniture covers are put in place for the crossing. This protects carpet and furniture and prevents headaches if there is an accident in guest areas.
- Wrap glasses and soap dishes and place in cabinets.
- Place any loose items securely in cabinets.
- Fold towels neatly and put in cabinets under sinks.
- Check cleaning materials or toiletry items are secure.
- All toilet seats are down.
- Wrap handheld showerheads and place on floor or make sure they are in their holders.
- Secure rubbish bins.
- Secure doors in closed position.
MASTER AND GUEST CABINS:
- Check bedside items are secure and in drawers.
- Check desk and vanity items are secure and in drawers.
- Secure flower vases and potted plants.
- Check wardrobe doors, cabinet doors, drawers, etc. are properly closed.
- Secure desk and vanity chairs. Wrap and place on floor where they will not move.
- Strip beds, put blankets, pillows, and scatter cushions in the wardrobes, fold bed cover in half or stow in closet.
- Tighten up bookshelves and wedge books together so there is no movement on shelves or remove books, wrap in towels, and place in secure corner.
- Secure items inside cabinets and cupboards; place towels over crystal and china; and wrap loose items. There should be no room for movement.
- Wrap decorative items and secure with towels, place in cupboards or on the floor in a safe corner out of the way of foot traffic.
- Secure dining room chairs to the dining table. If fortunate enough to have a table pad with chair securing straps, use that.
If not, cover table with a very thick pad, turn chairs with the seat facing out, and tie chairs around the table. Make sure the chairs are secured in such a way that they cannot damage the table.
MAIN SALON, OWNER OFFICE, ALL LOUNGES AND LIBRARIES:
- Secure cabinets and cupboards, and wrap loose items: there should be no room for movement.
- Secure games-table chairs same as dining salon chairs.
- Secure loose furniture. Wrap and move to corner section of the boat and out of foot traffic.
- Tighten up bookshelves and wedge books together so there is no movement on shelves or remove books, wrap in towels. and place in secure corner.
- Wrap decorative items and place in cupboards.
ALL PANTRIES AND GALLEYS:
- Secure cabinets and cupboards; place towels over service pieces, crystal and china; and wrap loose items. There should be no movement.
- Secure items in bars.
- Secure items in refrigerators and freezers.
- Stow in cabinets any loose appliances.
GYM, EXERCISE ROOM AND SPA:
- Secure cabinets and cupboards; place towels in cabinets; and wrap loose items and stow in cabinets.
- Secure loose weights by placing in a container or tying together and placing on the floor.
- Wrap and lay down any equipment that is not secured to the deck.
- Check that all sauna or steam doors are secure.
CREW MESS AND GALLEY:
The crew should be responsible for their individual spaces.
- Secure cabinets.
- Secure refrigerators.
- Secure appliances.
REMEMBER THAT OFTEN DECK AREAS ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE IN ROUGH SEAS S0 THESE AREAS MUST BE PROPERLY STOWED.
- Secure deck bars and refrigerators.
- Wrap and stow bar glasses, plastics, glass and equipment.
- Place liquor in secure area.
- Remove items from deck refrigerators.
- Secure used bilge areas and storage areas.
- Take notice of free-hanging light fixtures and chandeliers. Often these are removed from the overhead before leaving the dock by the engineering department.
- Ensure pocket doors are secured with latches, if present.
- Check refrigerator doors that are not "built in" or do not have strong latches are secure (the smaller refrigerator doors are prone to swing open).
- Go for frequent walks or crawls around the boat.
- Check for water leaks around the pcrtholes and doorways.
- Check for doors swinging or things moving or banging.
Wardrobe and shower doors sometimes have a habit of working themselves loose.
DAILY INTERIOR WATCH - DUTIES UNDERWAY:
- IF POSSIBLE (Excluding Bridge Watch Duties)
The chief steward/ess or captain will assign these daily duties to one or more of the interior crew. These duties can change based on the status of the sea, and the captainâ€˜s orders.
- Check all areas of the boat including all cupboards, cabinets, doors and latches on refrigerators.
- Morning laundry duties, as possible.
- Clean entire crew area, including crew mess, hallways, laundry room and control room.
Remember that the boat is operating on a 24-hour schedule so be respectful of those resting.
- Sweep/mop appropriate areas.
- Vacuum all carpet areas. Be aware of sleeping crew!
- Restock food items, dry stores and paper items.
- Wet wipe crew stairwell, entrance and stairs to bridge.
Include the walls, handrails, windows and floor.
- Empty slop bucket and clean (if applicable).
- Place all rubbish in the garbage locker and record if applicable.
- Clean bridge approximately 10 a.m.
- Set up and take down crew lunch.
- Special projects as time permits.
- Clean bridge approximately 5.30 p.m. (wipe all wood, clean windows as possible, sweep floor, clean all electronic items, polish all chrome, empty rubbish bins, wipe over floor, and check with captain for additional requests).
- Set up / take down crew dinner.
- Empty slop bucket and clean (if applicable).
- Restock foods and beverages as needed for early breakfast.
- Guest areas: pour water down all drains and flush all toilets.
- Run coffee machines.
- Check emergency window latches.
- Make sure all is secure on the interior.
- Special proiects as time permits.
If a crew member becomes sea sick the best thing for the stomach is water and plain carbohydrates. Yes, back to the basics. Gingerale and ginger biscuits help but WATER is essential.