15 Tips on How to be a Good Crew Member (and keep your job)
Updated: Nov 2, 2019
New to yachting? Start off on the right foot. Start off on the wrong foot? It’s never too late.
Yachting is a true melting pot of cultures, backgrounds, race, gender, opinion and sexual preference. Add a couple back to back charters, a difficult boss or a rocky onboard relationship and it goes from melting pot to pressure cooker.
It is so important to take all the above factors into consideration when interacting socially, verbally and physically with each fellow crew member. Granted it can be very difficult but it is ultimately the sign of a professional Seafarer to be able to interact and operate with empathy at the forefront of the mind.
We are all ultimately and intimately in the same boat and we have a responsibility to one another. We have to remember that we form additional sub-cultures within the way we behave as a team especially when regard to senior positions setting the correct example
Here are a couple tips that I feel would help to lubricate sticky situations, ease pressure and ultimately add to your value as a team member, also the value of your program. These are mostly for green crew new to the industry but like the rest of our qualifications we sometimes all need a little refresher.
1. Don’t take shortcuts
Don’t do something that you know is going to end up with someone else having to do it after. That is the opposite of being part of a team.
2. Empty the dishwasher
It’s not rocket science and believe us, the other crew know when you are avoiding the process like the plague
3. Greet your fellow crewmember
Be polite, look up and just say hi. You do live together after all.
4. Respect personal space
It is cramped living with often nowhere to go to escape. If you get the vibe someone is busy or wants to be alone. It is not an invitation to crack the façade.
5. Clean out the sink strainer
If there is food residue in the strainer after you have washed your dish, clean it out. We have yet to be on a vessel where any crew are paid to clean up after others.
6. Offer to help
This can make you or break you. Every time you watch someone work while you sit you put another nail in your coffin regardless of how you justify it to yourself.
7. Keep quarters tidy
You are an adult and living in a confined space with another adult. Wash your sheets once a week and deep clean your head once a week.
8. Be polite to dockwalkers, vendors and your fellow crew member
It costs you nothing to be kind, and if you haven’t been in their shoes already then I promise you will be one day. Whether it’s looking for another job or starting your own company, the industry is smaller than you think and it’s worth it to pay it forward.
9. Break down your boxes, bottles & cans
Its environmentally responsible and it shows respect to the marina staff.
10. Use earphones
We promise that nobody wants to tertiary listen to your YouTube or Instagram videos in the crew mess.
11. Thank The Chef
These guys and gals make your food and most of the time try to please whatever dietary requirements you have. They are a department unto their own that make better friends than foes. Trust us, just say “thank you, Chef.”
12. Make the effort
When you are faced with a “should” or “shouldn’t” I question – make the decision that requires more effort. It shows you didn’t immediately opt for the easy road.
13. The crew mess is not a soapbox
Group discussions are of course welcomed, your opinions not so much. Stay humble. If we had a dollar for every discussion we’ve seen that has turned into a full-blown screaming match…
14. No Excuses
Remember that before you make an excuse, you are most likely talking to someone who has been there and done that. If it is your responsibility, take ownership, it goes a million miles and creates trust and a just culture onboard.
15. Take out the Trash
Doesn’t matter if you are not on watch, if the garbage is full, take it out.
We have all pushed the boundaries, made mistakes and most of the times thought that we got away with them. My experience on the other side as a Captain has taught me that the professional men and women who are responsible for running the teams onboard will often, in order to keep their sanity, choose to take a watcher stance as opposed to confronting the issue on the spot. The good Senior crew out there are trained in the art of detail and situational awareness. They know what your cabin door sounds like a 3 am, they listen who washes their hands after using the head, they know when last your sheets went through the laundry, they know who crushes the empty milk container into the full trash can.
The very minimal work which the above entails will not only help you remain an employed crew member but also hopefully become a habit that will assert you as a notable human being as you interact and make your way through life.
What do you think? Did we miss anything? Let us know if you have any tips to add in the comments below.