New Record As Engineer Declares He Fucking Hates Boat 5 Min. Into Work Week

mushcloud

“All I ask is for a goddamn coffee and 48 seconds of peace and quiet to throw it down my throat before the entire boat breaks and the crew ask me questions that have no answers.” Says an agitated man in blue coveralls, fists clenched and elbows tight against his sides; rocking back and forth with alarming speed on a swivel chair in the engine control room of a yacht. “One fucking cuppa!”

We are only 5 minutes into Monday and Oscar Mike, Chief Engineer on the M/Y 99 Problems, has already called time on the week, a new personal best. Or worst. Here’s the play as it happened:

07:59: While hunting for a Nespresso capsule that isn’t a fucking decaf, an alarm sounds. It’s the air conditioning system. Common enough, but the alarm is a new one that reads: ‘I give up, you are on your own. I’m sorry. I promise we’ll meet again someday, I just don’t know when.”

08:00: While trying to find this alarm in the manual, the head of interior informs Oscar that there water is coming out of the overhead panels in the master cabin. In response to further questioning she uses the word ‘fall’ after the word ‘water.’ Oscar runs up the stairs, slips midway, and barks his shin. He takes it rather well all things considered; only threatening to kill idiots who engage in intercourse, not everyone.

08:01: Arriving on scene in the master cabin Oscar is completely unable to assess where the water is coming from, because it is coming from everywhere. That there is absolutely no way it should be pouring out of the ceiling doesn’t seem to be stopping it from pouring out of the ceiling. One thing he is able to immediately determine is a timeline on getting this fixed: The Rest Of His Life.

08:02: While other crew scramble for drop cloths, buckets, wet vacs, and new jobs, Oscar makes an unsettling discovery. The water smells like shit. Oh yes.

08:03: A deckhand interrupts Oscar’s quiet, unhurried deliberations over the possible scenarios that have led to him standing in the epitome of luxury under a poo shower, to ask him if he has seen the keys to the tender. Oscar indicates that to the best of his knowledge he has not, and kindly suggests the junior crew member check his rear end, and failing that the rear ends of his departmental colleagues.

08:04: In an attempt to ascertain how the shit stream has managed to find it’s way onto the 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, Oscar tackles pulling down the overhead panels. It takes 13 seconds for him to confirm what he suspected: this is fucking impossible. The overheads have been secured to the ceiling with a combination of 5200, wood glue, blind rivets, horseshoes, black magic, and dragon’s scales. He stops, and ponders the terrible, timeless beauty of an endless stream of poo-water pouring for eternity unchecked and says:

“I fucking hate this boat.” The clock reads 08:05.

10 Life Hacks For Yacht Crew

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Print Ad by DM9-JaymeSyfu Makami, Philipines

  1. Never clean up after yourself. That way you never have to clean up after yourself.
  2. If you’re an engineer; wear a look that says, ‘I eat people who ask me questions.’ That way most people won’t ask you questions. And those who do you can eat.
  3. Marry the Captain.
  4. Say you’re going provisioning and then never come back.
  5. If you’re the Captain always come in to work late and leave early. This will keep the crew on their toes as they’ll be surprised when you’re there.
  6. Stay on one boat for years and years and never progress so you can get your early-midlife crisis out of the way and move quickly on to your mid-mid-life crisis.
  7. Saw your tooth brush in half so you have more room in your cabin for cameras and sunglasses.
  8. Always mention previous boats you worked on in a favourable light as compared with the one you’re on now. This will piss people off.
  9. Get smashed early and often. This will make even the most mundane of tasks the next day a huge challenge.
  10. When you’ve had enough don’t move on to a new job or career, just stay on one boat and be bitter, it will save you an airfare.

9.5 Reasons For Yacht Crew To Push Through The Last Trip Of A Long Season

AP Photo - Rene Perez

AP Photo – Rene Perez

As anyone who’s worked a job where busy season coincides with summer knows; August is ancient Greek for ‘bone-tired and over it’; though many shorten this to ‘I have fucking had it.’ It’s a hard month but at least it only has 31 days. And is stonkingly hot. And comes on the tale end of July, which is Greek for ‘I’ll give you something to cry about.’ Need a reason to climb out of your bunk? Or not get in it? Here are 9. And a half.

  1. You made it this far. Giving up now would be like having climbed the mountain (of guest sheets), fought the (Russian) bear, forded the river (of expensive wine) and solved the riddle (of Italian jetski regs) only to give up just as you’re about to be rewarded with your tribal name (like He-Who-Internalizes-Great-Frustration, or She-Who-Laughs-Hysterically).
  2. Everyone says you won’t make it. Like everyone. They come into our offices (yes The General Alarm has offices, globally and in many other places) just to tell us, “Hey, you know that person reading your list right now? Never going to make it through this season. Not ever. They just don’t have what it takes. They’re probably crying right now. You should give them a tissue. And a hug.” Here. Now get back out there slugger, and prove this idiot who is sitting in our offices uninvited, eating all our mints, that they’re wrong. (Just so you know, I hit them in the face for you. No, open-handed. But I didn’t warn them, and my hands are pretty cold).
  3. If this was a marathon, you’d be lost, and there wouldn’t be any other runners, or spectators, or actually any race at all. You’d have just started out for what you thought was a Sunday stroll and are now sweaty and really tired and your feet hurt and it’s either Friday or Monday you aren’t really sure. But as everyone knows, the best thing to do when lost is stay in one place. And scream for help.
  4. You have no way of getting ashore dry. Definitely not with your laptop and luggage. Push through until you don’t have to pay the deckhand €1000 to run you to the dock in the tender at 2:00 AM.
  5. You don’t know where you are. Which makes it hard to work out where you’re going.
  6. You miss your friends. You miss your family. But they think you’re happy, because your Facebook posts say so and show photos that only happy people take. If you leave now you’ll have to tell your mama you were sad, and that the good life wasn’t good. This in turn will make your mama sad. Don’t make your mama sad.
  7. Your memoirs are going to suck if you don’t at least try to hook up with Kelly at the end of the season. After going on and on for an entire chapter about how you basically stalked her around the boat for three months, if you don’t do this you will never enjoy 104 weeks at the top of the NY Times bestseller list. Get with Kelly for your future.
  8. You think the basic premise of yachting is lame, and the business in general is pointless. So is everything if you pull it apart enough. Deal.
  9. You think you might kill someone if you stay. Legitimately. As in you’ve made a plan on graph paper and thought about how you’ll dispose of the body and have practiced looking surprised when someone says, “Hey have you seen that dickhead Brock? He’s late for his shift and there’s a three foot wide trail of blood down the crew corridor.” If you leave you won’t get to make good on all those hours in front of the mirror, and that would be a waste.

The half: You signed a contract and want a good reference. Yeah, well, it’s true. 

10 Yacht Crew Starve To Death After Chef Leaves Boat For One Hour

CASTAWAY, from left: Amanda Donohoe, Oliver Reed, 1986, © Cannon Films

CASTAWAY, Amanda Donohoe, Oliver Reed, 1986, © Cannon Films

“I left it all ready. All they had to do was put the burgers in the bun. I even sliced the tomatoes for them.” Said a tearful yacht chef as she was led away for further questioning by the local police after a tragic incident which resulted in the deaths of 10 members of a yacht crew.

Early reports indicate the chef, an 8-year industry veteran who supposedly had never killed anyone before, had simply left the boat to attend a one-hour yoga class. It was one hour too long.

“It appears the captain tried to use a fire-ax to access the main galley fridge.” Said a local fire-fighter who responded to the call. “We also found a member of the engineering team with a blow-torch and a raw sausage in the engine room, but he seems to have been unable to light it, probably due to being too weak from hunger. It was a terrible scene. Even after all these years you don’t get used to something like that.”

“This could have been prevented.” Says Jamie Oliver, an ISM consultant who specializes in galley safety. “Usually we advise any vessel chef or cook who is departing the boat for a period of time greater than 30 minutes to leave emergency rations on hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a giant pot of spaghetti bolognaise will often do, or failing that a dozen pork chops in a pinch.”

A recent report by the MAIB, released just last month, highlights the dangers of Sudden and Spontaneous Starvation at Sea (SSSS). The report details the events that led to the deaths of 29 crew members on the oil tanker ‘Black Dawn’ after dinner was five minutes late. The immediate cause of the tragedy has been attributed to the cook taking a phone call from his brother, although questions have been raised about a lack of training that leads to crew being unable to feed themselves.

“A good vessel familiarization should include a demonstration of how to turn on the range, and basic instruction in emergency food-accessing devices such as a can-opener.” Advises Mr. Oliver. “Sudden and Spontaneous Starvation at Sea or SSSS,” here he makes a hissing sound, “Is a very real problem and one that should be taken seriously. Why in the hell are you laughing man?”

For the time-being most flag states are issuing emergency guidance on the subject, advising that packets of crisps of a variety of flavors be stowed at a distance no greater than 3 meters apart along all thoroughfares and in all accommodation spaces. Alternatively, for vessel’s concerned with the long-term health of their crew, the emergency feeding stations may contain fresh fruit, but these will have to be subjected to weekly checks.

“It is just simply unacceptable that in this day and age we have seafarers dying mere meters from sustenance.” Concludes Mr. Oliver. “Something has got to be done. And clearly that something isn’t expecting adults to know how to feed themselves.”

What Yacht Crew Most Hate To Hear

“Provisions are here.” At 8:00 AM. On a day off. When you got back to the boat at 7:00 AM. And lost your flip flops. And your sunglasses. And your dignity.

“My sister is getting married in July.” If you’re a captain. With a full charter schedule booked. And the person saying this is your chief stewardess.

“The boss is coming on Friday.” When you’re an engineer. In the middle of a busy yard period. And it’s Thursday.

“Are you sure about that?” If you’re a chief officer sitting your Master’s oral exam. And you think you’re sure. But you’re not sure. And if you don’t pass you won’t get the job. And everyone will laugh at you.

“12.” When you’re a stew, and that’s how many smoothies you’re being asked to make. And they’re all different. And you’re out of bananas.

“Is that a rock?” When you’re on watch. Going full chat. And your watch partner is pointing directly ahead. And it is rock.

“The tender isn’t there.” If you’re part of the deck crew. And the tender should be there.

“I fucking hate her.” When you accidentally overhear a conversation. And you’re her.

“What’s in this?” If you’re a chef. And you’ve just said what’s in it. To everyone. Individually. As they came in one by one for lunch.

“The rest of the provisions are here.” At 08:30 AM. On that same day off. When you just climbed back into your bunk. To die.

Feel free to put your own thing(s) you hate to hear in the comments. You don’t have to be a yachtie. We’re equal opportunity. 

Every Problem On Every Yacht Caused By One Thing

Alfred Hitchcock taken by Gjon Mili, 1942

An in-depth survey of yacht crew has confirmed that there is one single thing responsible for every single problem on all boats: The previous crew.

“I’ve been master of over a dozen yachts, and every time it has become clear within five minutes of joining that the captain before me was worse than useless and the entire operation would have been better run by the goldfish now floating belly-up in a dirty tank in the crew mess.” Says Steve Adore, a 30-year veteran of the business. “Accounts in disarray, maintenance not being done on the machinery, crew acting like baboons from broken homes. In a word; chaos. Even when the last captain they had was me.”

The survey, which interviewed nearly 4 people over the course of 2 minutes, allowed respondents the chance to give an example of something they had to fix because the person who held the job before them had left it in ruin. The examples they gave provide a veritable roll-call of the endemic issues in the industry today.

“The uniform sucked to a level that it actually lowered your self esteem just to look at it; and had been ordered in such large quantities that we could have clad every bellhop in New York in it and still had mountains left. Horrible, scratchy mountains that don’t fit anywhere.’ Reported a chief stewardess on a large sailing yacht.

‘Engines need oil like a sailor needs rum. And everyone other than Captain Ron, and the dingbat who used to be the chief on here knows why. I honestly don’t know what the guy did with all the time he must have had leftover from not doing his job. There are only 13 seasons of ‘Family Guy’.” Railed a Chief Engineer on a moderately sized motor yacht.

“All of the main saloon windows are scratched. It looks like Wolverine worked here. I don’t know what the bosun before me used to squeegee glass but my best guess would be a rock taped to a board. And the varnish. Oh the varnish. If it were my boat I would sell it and donate the money to the families of the people who did the brightwork, as they clearly have suffered greatly.” Cried out a bosun, bereft of all hope.

“The first 12 things I said upon joining my last vessel as master were, ‘You’re fired.’ The boat only carries three crew, but I was a little excited and wanted to be extra clear with each of them. I then commenced with tallying a list of everything that had been done wrong by the previous crew and was still working on it when I too was relieved of my position.” Stated the former captain of a small yacht, now back in the job hunt.

A common sentiment amongst our respondents was that identifying the source of the problem was only the majority of the battle. As one crewmember explained, “Knowing whose fault it is does put most of my concerns to rest. My main objective in these situation is to make it absolutely clear that I didn’t do it. I only turn to solving the problem once that is acknowledged a number of times by everyone involved. Then, if there is any time left over, I try to solve it.” Asked if he didn’t think this was a somewhat skewed approach the respondent thought for a moment before replying, “Whats the point of fixing something that everyone thinks you broke? Much better to make very sure that everyone knows it wasn’t you. Then if you do fix it you’re the good guy, and even if you don’t, at least you’re not the bad guy.”

Why Yachts Don’t Recycle

garbage-barge

“We would love to. Every time I throw a thousand used water bottles in the bin, I wish there was just some way I could stop ruining the planet.” Says Jojo Biggs, chief stew on a 65-meter motor yacht capable of covering a small atoll in rubbish after a single day’s worth of operations. “But the problem is the shipyards and marinas don’t provide facilities for it, so what’s the point?”

“We’ve tried providing separated waste facilities for recycling to the yachts,” States Jim Flananagan, director of direction for Stay Here Forever Shipyards (specializing in jobs on a tight time scale).”But the crew just don’t use them. Plus the city won’t send their collection trucks all the way out here anyway. So what’s the point?”

“We used to send collection trucks out there,” Parries Johnny Rotten, head of recycling for the city of Palm Beach. “But they never had any recyclable material for us to pick up. So what’s the point?”

Clearly an intractable juggernaut of a problem. Who will be the first to blink in this stalemate? Who will crack and just go ahead and put a plastic bottle in a clear bag and say, “Hey, I think you can recycle these. You know, melt them down, and use them all again for something, rather than put them in a pile somewhere and wait for them to outlast all of us by like a million years.” The current outlook for a break in this impasse would be grim, were it not for an IMO mandate regarding enforcement of recycling on all vessels which is expected to pass in the very near future, perhaps even as early as 2075.

“With disposal and discharge of oil, garbage, sewage and certain gases already in place, it was easy to co-ordinate a rapid response to the problem of poor recycling habits in the marine sector at large.” Announces Ernst Bremner, IMO spokesperson. “Using the existing framework of the MARPOL convention already in place for dealing with garbage we are planning to push this through in record time. By pulling a number of heavy, all-afternoon sessions scattered over the next few decades, we are confident we can have this pushed through in no more than 60 years.”

With the days seemingly numbered in which everything from dinner leftovers to unopened packs of Mardi Gras beads can be dumped in the same bin, crew on many vessels are trying to get out in front of the issue by raising it now with captains and vessel managers. One junior deckhand explained that the real trouble with getting a recycling program going onboard appears to be space and carpentry-related.

“Its always the same. I get told we don’t recycle because the marina doesn’t take it. So then I offer to drive it to the depot myself. Then I’m told that’s not what the crew car is for. So I offer to rent one myself. And thats when the truth comes out.” He explains at this point he’s told that the main problem is there is nowhere to put recycling bins in the confines of an enormous superyacht, and plus new cabinets would have to be made, “And they say that will be expensive. They ask if I know how much that would cost. And I don’t of course, because I have no idea what sort of wood they want to use or fittings or whatever, I just don’t want to throw my can in a bag that goes in a landfill. But no one wants to hear it. So for whatever reason I’m still doing just that, and I don’t really get why it’s so hard.”

Signs You May Have Outgrown Yachting

dog_in_coat

We grow, and while jobs can too, a career at sea can only stretch so far before it starts to feel a little tight around the neck. Feeling the chafe? Time to get a new shirt, maybe a v-neck, something off the shoulder or just anything other than this damned wooly turtleneck that feels like a really weak guy trying to strangle you all day*? Here are a few signs you may have outgrown working on the water:

1) You’ve started hitting your head on things you never used to, like your hand, or other people’s heads, or walls repeatedly.

2) You have no idea where your lifejacket is and you don’t give a shit.

3) On your CV you’ve had to stop listing some of the earliest boats you worked on because the crew agent said nine-page resumes aren’t cool – no matter how many sides you print on – and no one wants to hear about your years serving the Onassis family anyway.

4) You have more friends who have left yachting than you have friends currently in it.

5) In your time on boats you’ve been through the following phases: Party phase. Loved-up phase. Broken-up phase (party phase II). Job-ladder climbing phase. Nowhere-(appealing)-left-to-go phase. There’s only one phase left. Hint: It isn’t a repeat of any of the previous phases on a new boat. Hint #2: It isn’t on a boat.

6) You’re sick of Jaeger.

7) Your tone when replying to the question of, ‘what do you do?’, has moved from slightly-bewildered-but-super-stoked to being more in the key of ‘I work for the city’.

8) Your cabin mate tells you that you have started regularly speaking in your sleep, repeating the words ‘shadow-boat’ and ‘rotation’ continuously through the night.

9) You’ve reread this post.

*Credit to the late, great, Mitch Hedberg for that uncannily accurate assessment of what wearing a turtleneck feels like.

Yachting Industry Celebrates 400 Years Of Employment For People Who Can’t Stay In One Place

‘Twas on the 19th day of March, in the year sixteen-hundred and fifteen, with fog and plague adversely affecting visibility and the tide at half past the cockerel’s wattle, that the sailing yacht Serf’s Up was launched with a great deal of ceremony and throwing of things in the air. And while this initial sea trial suffered an inauspicious start – she ran hard aground and had to wait 200 years for the first working tug boat to be invented and pull her off – we nevertheless pay homage on the anniversary of this day as being particularly significant in the long and difficult battle for employment of those who cannot hold down a job.

On that very vessel the captain had previously been trained as a ‘Horseshoe-Thrower-and-Sharpener-of-Scissors’ (prior to the industrial revolution the second most popular trade, after only ‘Carrier-Of-Things’), as well as a draw-bridge operator, pub manager, dung burner, real estate agent, and wet nurse. None of the rest of that initial all-male crew (women weren’t allowed to see the ocean or use stairs in those times) had held a job for long enough to have to pack a lunch. Indeed, the three deckhands had been found that very morning aimlessly wandering the waterfront, uncertain of their plans for the day, or ensuing years. The record shows that none of the members of that deck crew had any experience in sailing but that they did have 21 fingers between the three of them, and all remained on the vessel long after it’s grounding and well into their retirement.

Little has changed in the four centuries since, with the modern day yacht crewmember often having tried numerous occupations, occasional military service, and – for those who can afford it – rehabilitation clinics prior to making their way to the yacht marinas of the world looking for work. And so it is in this spirit of ‘I’m Not Very Good At Staying Put, So Let’s Try A Job That Moves With Me’ that we celebrate today; the arbitrarily declared ‘400th Anniversary of Yachting’.

Worth considering is what the nearly 50,000 estimated yacht crew currently employed on the water would be doing had an industry not come along that allowed them to change locations, uniforms, phone numbers and lovers with greater frequency than their underwear. Clearly only so many people can sell ice cream out of bicycles, and in most places that’s seasonal anyway. No, the sad truth is many of these restless souls would have become pickpockets, dice-players and lorry drivers, adversely affecting the fabric of society in unseemly ways that even the heavily-armed police forces of today would have struggled to contend with.

To think nothing of the brokers, provisioners, dockmasters, strippers, chandlers, and storage facility owners who have come to rely on this industry for their bread and butter and jam and another serving of shelled pomegranate seeds please. They too would be without gainful employment, with the spin-off effects of this rippling through the economy to companies that make deck shoes, and crappy websites, and label makers. Without succumbing to hyperbole it would seem safe to say that without yachting we would have inevitably suffered an economic implosion and subsequently returned to the barter system.

So today, when you’ve knocked off (if employed), or finished pestering crew agents (if currently listed as ‘seeking’), raise a glass to the inaugural voyage of the inaugural yacht with her crew of itinerants who first found their way out to sea. Not to fish or transport goods or lob cannonballs and fire muskets at each other, but to polish things and see new places and occasionally annoy a wealthy person by not being able to procure perfection, despite having implied that they could. After all, without the pioneering work of this first yacht crew, 50,000 odd people would still today be wandering aimlessly on shore, where its considered a weakness, instead of at sea, where its considered a job requirement.

10 Metaphors For Working On A Yacht

‘Searching’ by Jeremy Miranda

These metaphors were submitted by people we made up, but are real metaphors:

1) “To me yachting is an endless summer that is pretty fun except that it’s hot and it never ends.”
– Johnny Deckhand, said during a cigarette break, St. Maarten

2) “Working on a yacht is going fishing and catching a fish that you didn’t even know existed, and thinking it looks delicious. But then when you get it home and cook it, you realize its full of bones and is a lot of work to eat.”
– Chef Shane, mid provisions-loading, San Diego

3) “It’s winning the lottery and then having to give most of the winnings to tax except you don’t pay the tax and instead you spend it all on sunglasses and mixed drinks and hope that no one asks you for the tax. Metaphorically speaking.”
– Anonymous, location withheld

4) “For me, working on a yacht is finding out that the only way you can get into a really exclusive party is if you join the catering staff, but doing it anyway because the party is in a blimp and you heard Mick Jagger was going.”
– Stewardess in a crew agent’s waiting room, Antibes

5) “Go have intercourse with your own self.” (Edited for profanity, and possibly not a metaphor but we’re letting it through)
– A crew member fresh from getting the sack, La Ciotat

6) “It’s living in a really nice, fancy, expensive birdcage with lots of little baths and mirrors and seed cups and really up-to-date newspaper lining the bottom and everyone thinks its incredible and it would be, if you were a bird, and you didn’t have to live there.”
– Donny Deckhand, polishing the rail, Nassau

7) “I’m told it’s partying when all of your friends stayed home and studied, and then finding out the exam is cancelled the next day.”
– Eddie Dayworker, pressed up at the Corner Bar, Palma De Mallorca

8) “It’s missing your flight, and knowing your family was waiting for you at the other end.”
– Captain Morgan, watching the sunset in Dubai

9) “I think it’s planning to do one thing with your day, but instead you end up doing something totally different and all of your friends are like, ‘Hey man what happened to you?’ And you’re like, ‘I don’t even know, but it was crazy and I don’t think I’m coming home.’ ”
– Brucey Bosun, in line at the car rental, Antigua

10) “It’s trading your arm for a nice watch.”
– 2nd Officer Sam, mid-charter season

Feel free to send in your own metaphor for working on yachts in the comments section.