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.

Rant, Over.

To even the most casual observer, the last few years have experienced a significant uptick in advice and commentary no one asked for being loudly thrust into forums and threads, arriving like a sailboat in the middle of the Sahara: of dubious utility, and difficult to return. This increase in ranting has been building to a crest with the writers here at The GA, and in the end we just went off. About going off.

Enough with the fucking rants. Message received. You know everything, everyone else is an idiot, if only the world would listen to you there would be fewer problems, other than having an abundance of santicomonious assholes who know where the caps lock key is and have a great deal of time on their hands.

Oh look, another opinion on what other people should put on other people’s own CVs. Because you said so. And more advice from an older someone on how to be a younger someone, how handy. Thank you for this unsolicited input on productivity, person who apparently spends the majority of their time in online forums. We’re all ears, please, bestow more of your knowledge on how to get a job, or do things the right way, or just simply not annoy you. Better yet, would you be so kind as to reduce a complex, nuanced issue, to a trite, angry response? Those are the best.

Put a sock in it. Stow it in your salty sea locker. Fold it neatly into thirds, tuck it in a envelope, add a return address, and insert it into your backside. Here’s an idea. Write your rant down, in all its ‘Power of Grayskull’ glory. Then count to ten and ask yourself, if I said this in French would I still sound like an asshole? If your answer is yes then delete it and weigh yourself immediately; you’ll be at least 5 pounds lighter. If you find yourself saying ‘no’ then be warned: you are probably lying and your anger is going to give you hemmorhoids in exchange for your friends. Yes, that is an unfair trade. No, put the keyboard down, don’t write a rant about it. Try something else, like going for a run. Maybe a two week one. In the Sahara. 

Rant over.


Yacht Collides With Tanker Mid-Atlantic, Crew Distracted By Crossing Ceremony


Photo: National Archives

In the third such incident this month, a yacht has collided with a tanker 250 NM southwest of the Azores archipelago. With the collision having been live broadcast over Periscope, in this case the most ironically named app, there is little doubt as to the primary cause of the collision: the crew were performing a crossing ceremony. All of them.

Reports from MRCC Ponta Delgada indicate that there have been no immediate injuries or environmental damage, though the yacht crew have made allegations of assault, claiming that immediately following the incident the captain of the tanker boarded their vessel (whose bows had become wedged in the bulwarks of the tanker) and roundly smacked all present for being daft.

“Aye. That’s exactly what I did.” Says Declan McCluckuck, Scottish master of the M/V Square Go. “They’s was being a bunch of bleedin’ eejits, and helmed their honkin’ white boat right into our side. Or more directly, didn’t helm they farkin’ boat. So I clouted the lot of ’em. And if they want to talk about it I’d be happy to have another gum bump.”

Reviewing the video it is hard to blame the captain for his ire. A recording that has made it’s way online shows fifteen crew members, the full complement for the voyage, gathered on the foredeck and facing a variety of directions that don’t include forward, but do include: aft, into a bucket full of rotten fish, at their phones as they take pictures, nowhere as their eyes are full of an unnamed liquid, and down at the deck, presumably wishing the ceremony is over.

Officially a maritime tradition used to induct sailors crossing the equator for the first time, recent years have seen yachts whose cruising grounds never take them that far south, increasingly applying the ceremony to crossings of other bodies of water. The Atlantic has become the favourite occasion to mark by hazing junior crew members, but there have also been reports of ceremonies marking Gulf Stream crossings, France-to-Spain Crossings, and even some who choose to celebrate sailor’s ‘First Time Out of Sight of Land’ by dumping food on them whilst tied to a fixed object. With the increase in at-sea (or at-lake) inductions, incidents of collisions and groundings have also risen.

Reached for comment by phone, an IMO representative remained silent, though when pressed on the matter, admitted she was shaking her head.