Pre-Season Prep

May 19th 11
By Rubi McGrory

Crossings aren’t all Sudoku and Modern Family DVDs. There is work to be done. Of course, catch up on sleep, but do yourself, and your crewmates, a favor and use the time without guests to prepare for the season ahead. Everyone from captain to chef to third deckhand can get a head start on the work that’s waiting when they hit the dock.

Captains, sharpen your pencils and get your work lists ready. Every crewmember has something that needs attention. This is your chance to look at schedules and juggle the work, workers and finally get a realistic idea of who does what. Crossings are an excellent chance to catch up on correspondence that keeps slipping through your inbox. Don’t forget to make sure you have a copy of all inventories; your crew is going to be very busy with their own list making.

For engineers, it’s all about inventory, inventory, inventory. Followed by purchase order, purchase order, purchase order. With a small amount of foresight, you can be sure you’ll have everything you need waiting at the dock when you arrive. With the rest of the crossing time, you can begin ticking off the lists your fellow crewmembers have been busy preparing for you. And crossings are a great time to update manuals and tidy up that mess of binders lurking on your bench in the engine room.

Mate, bosuns and deckhands, it’s inventory time! Provided conditions are calm, this is your chance to open every hatch, locker and bilge space. Do you even remember what you have on board anymore? Get a jump-start on the season by putting in orders for cleaning supplies and deck gear. Hold safety drills. Read manuals. No, they aren’t as interesting as Patrick O’Brian novels, but you’ll learn something and, as a result, be better at your job.

Stewardesses, you’re not ducking out of the inventory game. Chances are you’ve had to throw out some soiled napkins, new vases have come onboard, and the Missus has ordered a complete change of toiletries. On calm days, pull out every face cloth or duster refill and start counting.  Purge cleaning supplies that haven’t been used in a year. Once you know what you have, start making shopping lists, which will save you precious time when you arrive in port and need to be ready for charter ASAP. If you have Internet, use this opportunity to place orders with your suppliers. You can call first dibs on what you need, while the stews who didn’t read this will be stuck with whatever is left. Once your typing fingers get warmed up, you’ll want to take a look at your interior manuals. All of those notes you so hastily scrawled in as new guests came on board or the boss changed his diet will make more sense when transcribed. Don’t forget your work list; the captain will be expecting one. 

As for Chefs, get your own inventories sorted out. This is a great opportunity to sit down and go through the cookbooks and magazines that have been piling up. Take notes, tear pages out of magazines and start working on menus and new dishes you want to play with. Look over your old menus and scribbles about what worked and what didn’t. Do you have legible notes about successful meals and dishes? What about guests who have come aboard?  If you have reliable Internet, check out the myriad of cooking blogs and websites, you can learn about everything from molecular gastronomy to fancy Jello shots to bread making. Remember, your crew will be eager judges in your quest for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. They’ll be working hard on their own inventories and will welcome the snacks.






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