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
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.