The following are conversation fillers that yacht crew use when speaking to other yacht crew in the frequency range of ‘often to way-too-often’ (O~WTO) because of a lack of: imagination, interest, sobriety, sleep, ability to concentrate, or having anything in common with the person with whom they are conversing.
Make it your personal challenge when next speaking to someone you: don’t care about, are seeing double of, can’t hear, or don’t ever expect to see again ever, to not ask the following:
- What’s your itinerary?
There’s a reason the word ‘itinerary’ is generally used to refer to a typed, rigid, contract of conveyance of your person from one location to another. It is dry, boring and devoid of the joie-de-viva-las-vegas that your life should have. The only thing worse than asking this question is being under the illusion that you can accurately answer it. Also bad is having to ask it twice. It’s the funny thing about this particular question; no one ever listens to the answer.
- What size is it? (Referencing a yacht in this case, though a risky query in general)
When it comes to the size of yacht other crew work on, any question that starts with: how big, how many meters, how long, how many feet, etc. comes across as you asking for a measurement that you are planning on using to build yourself a box of preconception with. Yeah, we get it, you input this crucial dimension into your algorithmic-answer-predictor (patent pending) to render the rest of the conversation meaningless. From that one number you already know everything you ever wanted to know about that person’s life. Further mouth-move-make-sound equals time-waste. Nice one Robochat.
- Are you private or charter?
There’s a theme to this. If you are using short forms of questions that when fully sounded out are boring, than you are trying to (badly) hide that fact. For example this query, when expanded, is actually: Is the yacht on which you are employed registered with flag state as a Private or Commercial vessel with the respective privileges and encumbrances so entailed? Rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? Unless you are an ISM manager or a Port State inspector there is no reason to ask such a morbidly boring question, and even they should keep it to business hours (crisis situations excepted of course).
- Who is your owner?
There are a couple of problems with this one. It’s the undisputed winner of the ‘Most-annoying-question-crew-get-asked-by-non-crew’ competition year-on-year for the last four decades. And yet crew will, in a desperate moment of dead air, occasionally jab each other with it. But beyond this, it is – again – a short form of a longer question. Expanded: Who is the owner of the yacht you work on? If you happen to have a good reason for needing to know this (the only example we can think of is a terrorist has strapped a bomb to your entire extended family and the password to defuse it is the name of the owner of the yacht the crewmember you are speaking to works on) than at least resist the laziness to shorten it to: “Who is your owner?” Resist it in the same way you resist the laziness to think of yourself as simply being ‘owned’. You do resist that right? Right?
- What do you do onboard?
This actually isn’t that bad of a question. It’s simply the on-the-water equivalent of, “Sooooo, what do you do for work?” Except that since yachts are as much a living space as they are a workspace, a person who is asked this should feel free to answer it with complete and open honesty. “I run naked to the laundry to get my favorite underwear from the dryer on the chance that no one else is up yet.” Is perfectly acceptable. “I stare out the porthole and try to remember the last time I smiled”, while a piercingly sad answer, may well be accurate. Be honest. Always be honest.
So lets agree that this particular question can still be asked, but crew so-asked will all try to answer it with more than simply: I’m the Chief Engineer. At least try: I’m the Chief Tool-Counter-And-Recoverer-Of-Missing-Tools-And-Giver-Of-Lectures-To-People-Who-Took-Those-Tools. That’ll also look better on your CV.
Have a question you’d like to add to the list? Send it in as a ‘comment’…