Louis Vuitton Ventures Into Marine Safety Market With Couture Life Rafts

Spotting a gap in the offshore survival business, the French luxury goods manufacturer Louis Vuitton has launched a line of high-end ‘guest’ liferafts. 
The rafts, capable of taking up to 12 guests and four crew (for rowing, bailing, and serving drinks and canapés) come complete with a flambé station, champagne coolers, and a small, tasteful chandelier made of shatterproof glass.

“Just because your yacht sinks doesn’t mean the party stops,” said a Louis Vuitton spokesperson at a recent unveiling of the calfskin leather rafts, in Borneo bamboo containers. “If anything, this is when the wealthy will most need their creature comforts. Such as a resplendent, built-in wardrobe of waterproof, wrinkle-free suits and ball gowns, a folding string quartet to set the mood, and a roving magician who will feed the circling sharks with rabbits from his hat.”

Starting at $500,000, and requiring monthly checks to replenish the caviar and test the air conditioning, the versatile rafts are modular in nature. This feature was added to make it possible to join to other rafts, from one’s own vessel or belonging to another yacht were one unluckily lucky enough to be involved in a maritime disaster with a vessel also equipped with suede-carpetted escape floats.

While admitting that making the rafts proved a major design challenge, Fabio Fabricio, head of the new Luxury Safety division at the eminent fashion house, calls the experience a fabulous one.

“Yes it was difficult, and some called us crazy, and many other names. Really, the largest battle was with the class society safety inspectors, over their concerns about having electrical outlets in a life raft. To which I very simply asked: How else are you supposed to blow dry your hair darling?”

***To be clear, none of this is true.***

Yacht Position Titles To Be Updated

What’s a bosun? Who soussed who? Is a male purser a walleter? Why must these names suck? Let us consider alternatives. As brassiere in German is büstenhalter, meaning bust holder, so the following monikers explain while they name:

Long Pants In Charge – Captain (alternatively: Espresso Soaked Throttle Jockey)

Chief Tanner And Opinion Haver – First Mate

Second In Charge Of Sweating – Assistant Engineer

Demolitions Expert- Stewardess (also: Head Of Water Bottle Procuring & Securing)

Master of Spreadsheets 3000 – Purser

Keeper of Functional Dysfunction – Chef

Crew Lounge Seat Warmer: Owner’s Security Team
Collar Shirt Who Points A Lot: ISM Manager

Head of Eyebrow Raising – Chief Engineer

Yacht Friends Good To Go Another 4 Years Without Seeing Each Other After 37 Second Catch-Up On The Dock.


sailorsfem“The trick is to both talk at once.” Says Kimberley Pollock, having just finished a lightening fast reunion with a girl she once shared a cabin with for two years, thought of as a sister, and hasn’t seen in two relationships, three boats, four vacations and 214 sheet days.

“I have no idea what Jen said, or what exactly I told her, but I think we covered the basics and mostly just laughed. I hugged her six times and my goal was five so even though it was a quick hello, and we didn’t have time to get drunk and tell the real dirt, I’m happy we can go another four years without seeing each other, or ten if that’s what it takes.”

Easy to spot from a distance, there is a particular gait unique to someone coming down a passerelle to see an old friend who has just texted, “I’m outside your Mfing Boat!!!!🤗🤗🤗.” It starts as a skip, turns to a run, and ends in a half-step, half-leap into a hug and semi-twirl on the dock that often topples both friends over.

So common is this matey tumble it’s become a source of injury referred to amongst safety officers as “Bestie Bruisings.” Risk assessments have been done and familiarizations in proper reunion hugging conducted, but the problem persists, with many captains resorting to laying out padded floor mats on the dock in an attempt to avoid more broken elbows and ankles. 

As both crewmembers had guests onboard and one of their yachts was about to depart, the visit only lasted two ignored radio calls – saying the one boat was getting ready to pull away – before it was time to say, “Great seeing you write more often we should FaceTime where did you say you’re going to be in October ok go go go.”

Watching her friend run down the dock to rejoin her boat, Kimberley admits that it was all a bit of a tease. But one that she’ll take.

“That’s the business, share a toilet for two years and then live on opposite sides of the world for four. We’ll catch up again, maybe in months, maybe in years, and maybe be lucky enough to have a night in the same place. If not, we’ll just have to meet up when we’re old and been fired for having wrinkly knees and no one can stop us from drinking gin and tonics at 10 in the morning, and then I can tell her what I really meant when I said that boat I got off was bloody crazy.”

“But,” she says, turning to go back to work, a little gingerly as she climbs the steps onto the passerelle she just half-fell off, “Until then, a quick hello in uniform will just have to do.”

11 Signs Your Cabinmate Is Planning To Kill You


Studies show 9 out of 10 seafarers have asked, “how deep is it here?” with more than just absent curiosity. If you’ve worked on a boat and had a cabinmate then it’s pretty much guaranteed an advanced plot against your life has been hatched at some point or other. Here’s a list of ways to know if in doubt:

1. Whenever you go into your cabin your roommate whistles the tune to We’re Here For A Good Time, while staring at you and shaving their arm hair with a hunting knife.

2. After you say good night back and forth 11 times as per usual, on the 12th exchange instead of saying ‘sleep tight,’ you could have sworn they said ‘don’t fight.’

3. They keep telling you how great it’s going to be to have the place themselves next week, but you haven’t booked any time off. In fact you’re going to be on passage. Weird.

4. They’re just really fucking nice all the time. (Note: this is a sign of extreme danger. Like a mountain lion laying their ears back, you have only seconds to live. Distract them by asking if they can get you a cupcake or something, and jump out the porthole).

5. You wake up in the night to them standing over you drawing small targets on your neck with a red sharpie.

6. They keep repeating the same stories about how they have always been a chronic sleepwalker. Especially worrisome is the one in which they murder everyone in their entire town but got off on all charges because they were only 7 years old.

7. They left their laptop open to a browser window asking how long it takes a goldfish to dispose of a corpse. And they have a goldfish. Meaning the only thing their missing is a corpse. Which could be you. Seriously, you’re going to need to take this more seriously, and start jumping ahead, because we are getting tired of having to lay it all out. We’re trying to save your life here.

8. Your dog won’t stop barking at them.

9. It isn’t just your roommate, everyone wants to kill you. If it weren’t for your insomnia and the incredibly pertinent, uncannily useful skills you learned during your Proficiency in Designated Security Duties course, you would be dead by now. Fact.

10. They keep asking if you have any allergies. Try saying: Gin and Tonic with a cucumber twist.

11. You find yourself wondering if you shouldn’t take defensive measures to protect yourself. Like looking up ways to get rid of your cabin mate…

Could You Be Yachting’s Worst Photographer? Enter Our Contest To Find Out.

Are you shit at taking pictures? Is your thumb always in the way, things too far, or do you have a knack for finding that terrible angle where everything just looks duller than dirt and makes people want to take a nap and never leave their bed again? You could be yachting’s next worst photographer. As in worst photographer to follow last year’s selection (see below). Not the second worst. We’re playing for the title here.


  • No more than 1000 entries per person
  • This must have been your own work, or that of a close friend who is too ashamed to take credit and doesn’t mind if you use it as long as their name isn’t involved.
  • It has to be a picture of a boat or related marine topic. If it’s too shit to be able to tell what it’s a photo of, you will have to describe the subject matter and we will have to take your word for it.
  • The worse the better. This cannot be stressed enough.
  • No good pictures or you will be blocked. Furthermore no “Well this incredible image of unrivalled depth and balanced composition is the worst I’ve taken so it will just have to do.” Stop trying. You can always be worse.


  • A real disposable camera to take even worse photos with that can’t be touched up or filtered. Known in the business as “The Bad Photographer’s Worst Tool.” And one The General Alarm T-shirt whenever we start making those, though that might be never.
  • 2nd prize: A The General Alarm T-shirt (see above for shipping times).
  • 3rd prize: There is no third prize, other than knowing that not only are you not the worst photographer in yachting, you aren’t even the second worst. Next year you should enter the ‘Best’ competition. You have no place here.



  • Need inspiration for photos that require zero inspiration? Well this is the competition for you. Have a gander at these eye sores:

Photo Credit: Anonymous. All rights waived

What a beautiful tender. Look at the detail in the wake spraying off the engine and the way the wind is blowing the driver’s hair back and the beads of sweat on his upper lip as he pushes the performance of his pristine vessel. Oh wait. You can’t. It’s fucking tiny.

Did you give to your camera to the people who made The Blair Witch Project? Was this picture taken with YouTube? And then uploaded from the Mars rover? Why have you done this?

Unless you fell down a well there is no excuse for taking this bad a photo. And if you did, our apologies and we hope you are ok but this is still a shit picture. 

It feels like it’s missing something. Something like the world’s most common boat taken from the world’s most common angle, but very very badly. Which is why this won the ‘Worst Picture In Yachting 2015’ award. 

So there you have it. Think you could do worse? Now’s your chance. Email your entries to thegeneralalarm@gmail.com or post them to our Facebook page. Break a lens. 


The Yachtie Shipping Forecast: This Weekend


Ship Garthsnaid at sea c. 1920

General Synopsis:

As a ridge of steady pressure sweeps across the entire fleet of yachts on both sides of the Atlantic – with a number of extended charters coming to an end and overtime yard periods finishing just in time for the battered crew to head straight into the summer season – expect passing tantrums and scattered tears to extend through the weekend and into next week.

–Florida, And Surrounding Regions–
Drinking: Heavy at times, increasing late Saturday and into Sunday morning. Persistent shots breaking midday, but with a chance of strengthening late Sunday night. Take your umbrella just in case.

Visibility: Generally poor.

 Waves: Of nausea, preceded by some feelings of euphoria, followed by crashing.

Gail WarningSunday night, slight chance of meeting Gail. She is full blown crazy with a chance of developing into a significant disturbance. 

Drinking: Seasonal, steady drizzle. Rosé turning to men in the early hours.

Visibility: Fuzzy with illusions of clarity. Extremely poor driving conditions. Don’t.

Waves: Too small to surf leading to likelihood of extreme drinking.  Reports of pick-pockets along coast persist, small person advisory in effect.  

Gail Warning: Chance of Gail being here too. She is hard to track. Seaside towns may only receive a few moments notice before being inundated with unexpected Jäger. 



Engineer Decides To Just Relax And Let The Crises Come To Him

Mike Babcock, chief engineer on a 68m motor yacht best described as ‘vintage,’ is enjoying a leisurely English breakfast in the crew mess. He is on his second cup of tea, and fourth piece of toast. “It’s Saturday,” he remarks, as he leisurely turns the page on a newspaper, ignoring a deckhand asking him where the tap and die set has gotten to. “Fuck off.” 

“Look,” he levels with us, stirring his tea slowly and turning his radio down to inaudible, “the problems are going to find you themselves, don’t you worry about that. The trick is to not waste your time and energy looking for them. The crew think I’m lazy, but I’m not. I’m waiting.” 

An alarm sounds somewhere in the boat, and Mike remains unmoved. It stops after awhile, and is followed by an ominous banging deep in the bowels of the steel hull. 

“Second engineer.” Babcock offers, apparently giving this as an explanation of who answered the alarm, why he himself didn’t bother, and for the banging. “If it’s important he’ll get me.”

“There are more problems on this thing than there are solutions, or hours in the day to apply them, or fucks I have left to give in my life. I could literally spend all of my remaining breaths charging around finding reasons to have a nervous breakdown. Or, I can let the problems find me, and when they do, ask them if they’re absolutely sure they want to do this. You would be surprised how often a hard look will make trouble get back in its box.” 

It was at this point that the second engineer went through the mess at a clip, sweating, and with his coveralls covered in a variety of unappealing substances, the kind that are meant to stay inside things, not get smeared across your collar. He shot a panicked look at the chief as he passed, but didn’t stop to interrupt his sanguine boss.

“It does take time to learn that,” Mike observed, glancing after his red-faced understudy. “But you do. Or you don’t and you burn up, like a pump that’s lost its prime. Either way you end up stopping, it’s just that in the one instance you start again and in the other you’re broken for good. Now if you don’t mind, pass the brown sauce, and go away. It’s Saturday.”

7 Thoughts Every Yacht Crew Member Has Had This Year

1. Who’s going to drive this thing if the captain and the first mate both die in a freak bathtub accident?

2. Is it bad that I never want to see the owner again?

3. Shut. Up. Everyone.

5. What will I find to do after this job that I will be able to love and hate this much?

4. What day is it?

6. I’m too hungover to think. (You couldn’t think that at the time, but realized it later in the day while recapping your near-death experience for anyone who would listen.

7. Shut. Up. Everyone. Please. 

ISM Manager Listens Carefully To Concerns The Paperwork Burden Onboard Yachts Is Too Great, Before Admitting He Simply Doesn’t Care


Steve Martin is the vessel manager and DPA for over 1000 linear meters of yacht. Were the 21 vessels he personally manages lined up bow to stern they would stretch for just over a kilometer, or more than 100,000 centimeters, or approximately 1/1160th of the way across the Great Australian Bight. A lot of boat, with a lot of crew, and he receives a lot of feedback, much of which he pays some attention to. But not all.

“It’s not that I don’t hear the concerns. Generally the vessels I visit are relatively quiet, and the crew I deal with speak clearly, and adequately enunciate their view that the amount of paperwork they are being required to do by the Safety Management System in place, is crushing them like an ant under an Unabridged Webster’s Dictionary with a foreword by James A. Michener. So in answer to your question, yes, I do hear them, it’s just that I simply do not care.”

Mr. Martin explains that as someone who has no one to complain to about his own mountain of checklists, and accompanying concerns that carpal tunnel syndrome brought on by completing them will soon prohibit him from picking up his grandchildren, he has little patience. “A lot of those forms of mine are two-pen jobs. Each. I go through about a box of Bics a day. I’m like a chain smoker only I’m a chain checker, and I can tell you they are about equally as bad for your health. But no one cares, do they? So yes I hear you young mates, officers, and engineers, no I don’t care, and if you complain to me I’m going to tell you, ‘That’s good to know, let me see what I can do about it,’ which really means it’s going to be spring tide in Paperville for you my complaining little friends, and you didn’t bring your hole punch.”

He carries on with the analogy a ways further, eventually bringing in the national guard to help complete the forms, build filing cabinets, and restore order to the pulpy town, before drawing the interview to a hasty close, saying that he has to go look at high speed printers and shredders.