Majority Of Chief Officers And First Mates Admit They Wouldn’t Have Worked For Themselves


“If I’d had to work for a chief officer like the one I am now, I’d have told myself to go get fucked. Straight up.” Says chief officer Dirk – ‘The Jerk’ as his junior crew confessed to calling him – Carroway. “That’s the unvarnished truth. And I know varnish.”

A recent survey of chief officers and mates on vessels around the world, conducted by The General Alarm, indicates that the majority of participants agree; they just wouldn’t have stood for themselves.

“I ask a lot of my crew, and not a whole lot of myself.” Admits Dom Juan, first officer on a 73m motor yacht. “I’m usually the last one up in the morning, first one to knock off in the afternoon, and am fond of parcelling out lengthy job lists just before departing in the crew car at 10:00 a.m. for the rest of the day.” Asked for a specific example of a task or situation in which he asks more of his current crew than he would have been willing to give when he was a deckhand, Dom readily describes what he’d have done to a mate who requested that the tender be detailed after the mate had used it to go wakeboarding. Suffice to say the description of his likely actions, while detailed, did not involve the tender – or cleaning – in any way. “But not the kids these days, oh no. If I ask them to do something silly or annoying they just stare into space for a couple of seconds, take a breath, and then get stuck in. And I’m alright with that. I don’t mind long looks of defeat and self-doubt as to why they are here in this place with me. As long as I get a clean tender to go wakeboarding in.”

In the survey, 86% of respondents indicated they would have never taken a job working for themselves in the first place, were this hypothetical situation actually possible and they had known in advance they would be working for an older, lazier, more jaded version of themselves.

“If I know anything, I know myself.” States Shannon O’Shannon, mate on a large sailing vessel. “And I’m a real dick to work for. I don’t know how these guys do it. My work lists are so counter-productive and poorly thought out that sometimes they annoy even me, and I’m not the one doing the jobs.” Asked later to verify this claim of ill-conceived tasking, Mr. O’Shannon’s deck crew readily agreed that this was indeed the case.

In a follow up question at the end of the survey, the respondents were asked if they found their answers revealing. “I absolutely do,” Says Dirk (you know the rest) Carroway, nodding vigorously. “Knowing how much of a pain in the ass I am as a CO serves as a useful reminder that I never, ever, want to be a deckhand again. Really, when I think about it, that’s always been my motivation to keep climbing the career ladder. I guess you could say I’m trying to get out from under myself.”

4 thoughts on “Majority Of Chief Officers And First Mates Admit They Wouldn’t Have Worked For Themselves

  1. These guys that were interviewed should be fired!

    If you design poorly counter preductive worklist/duties, then i’m sorry, you’re either a dushbag or just plain stupid.

    A chief officer/mate should lead with example and not like a cocky bastard.

    Yes, there is the fact that you’re in charge and of high rank.

    Bottom line is….a happy crew is fun to work with and it makes for a quicker easier charter.


  2. Jean, read between the lines bud. Dom Juan? Shannon O’Shannon? Don’t take life so seriously. It’s just a job. The article is a farce. Like most of them on this site. It’s called trolling. Have a good day now.


  3. I agree with MICKP. But these stereotypes are in existence and absolute proof that people reach the pinnacle of career by arriving at the point of incompetence and staying there until retirement. I have seen a lot of people in all departments that reached positions of chief stew, CE, CO or captain but have no place there. I know a CO – captain to be, that should NEVER be in charge of a boat and should NEVER be making any decisions when s**t hits the fan. He is a GREAT 2nd officer, really knows his stuff, but by passing exams, sea time and good relations with captains he advanced to the position he is now. When things happen and the wagon starts going downhill I feel sorry for people in his care as he has disastrous way of making decisions (when he does not freeze). Same goes for chief stew I know, some chief engineers, ETO’s, etc.. And as regards the stereotypes described here, I am sure there is no Dom Juan and Shannon O’Shannon but I am sure these are real people. I respect all officers and their knowledge and status, but some of them are definitely overstepping their level of competence. I am engineer myself and do my best to rise to expectations not of captain or manager but my own – and those are much harder to fulfil. If all would do the same I believe we would have much better working environment.


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