Verbal abuse and lewd conduct by Captain
This isn't gonna be easy to share, but I really would like some advice on a past experience this summer with a really rude captain. I hope this post doesn't get deleted for the sake of awareness and prevention. I tend to put Joe Biden to shame with my "longwindedness". I'll try to cut to the chase. I worked on a yacht this summer which overall was a good freelance gig, nice owners/guests. Most of the crew were pretty cool and good to get along with. But the captain is another story. The captain was usually "nice" to me but sometimes acted favorable and too close for comfort towards me and to the assistant to the owner. I've "grown" used to it, but the rule has always been to never work for a captain like that again. No problem there.
There were times when I heard this captain mouthing off in a profane manner, whether he was talking about certain crew or nationalities in the biz..or women...or his libido. He was embarrassing to listen to, but apparently the guests and crew seemed fine with it. Now, I am not a prude, and I've had my fair share of swearing, hopefully not too many people have heard me in my life time, but I tend to shy away from those who say certain things in a very crass manner. Profanity and exploiting personal information among crew and guest should NEVER be accepted or tolerated.
The last day we all had dinner together. Some of us were discussing doing the water park rides again in Atlantis. I know--fun, fun, fun...I have yet to do the vertical one. Okay, here's the icky part. As I was mentioning the vertical slide at Atlantis, the captain, while sitting three feet away from me, in front of six crew members, flat out told me that I would be alright and that I should just take out my [he used the T-word] out and let the rush of water clean "everything" out. My jaw probably didn't eve drop. I wasn't really surprised..which is something I kind of feel guilty about in itself. I was embarrassed, yes. I tried to play it cool by saying something like "The cap is feeling gitty tonight". I really didn't know what to tell this pathetic man. Southerners tend to be good, wholesome people, not this guy. I'm fully aware that this is about a lack of intelligence along with some sort of "retribution" and nothing more. But I still think of this incident today. I don’t even know why this pathetic man would say such to me or any other woman for that matter.
Some of you may not understand what I just conveyed here, and I'm not going to say verbatim what he actually said. Some of you may think, "ah big deal, you're being prudent". I even told another stew this, someone who I was pretty kind to and helped get a job, before I found out she was "illegal" where I almost got in serious trouble, she casually replied tome that it "wasn't a big deal" but finally said that the "guy was a jerk" for doing so. I feel like I shouldn't bring this up [in face] to anyone after telling this stew about any of this. So- here it is on Dockwalk.
While I have been around captains and crew who can be just as crass and profane [one guy even spoke so bad about the owner's daughter, it actually made me nauseous] and while I've pretended with a nervous laugh to be entertained by these fools, I still remember this very incident with captain in the Bahamas. I can not seem to forget this incident. To be honest, if I saw him I would want to cuss him out and put him to shame.
I want to tell the owner at this point. And I've been through something similar a couple of years ago where I finally conjured up the nerve to tell management and a high profile megayacht owner. But I got no response. I know I will lose this reference as soon as I do. Any advice? Do I have any legal remedies over this? Should I bother?
My take is that using lawyers and raising a stink only hurts you and wastes your time and thoughts. Many captains are crude, don't work for them. Notify the agent that you thought the captain was crude so others are protected. The number one rule on the sea is to deal directly with malcontents.. With experience you can develop literally hundreds of fun and satisfying ways to get even. Try this next time.......
If your operating in a sea area with Portuguese man o war jellyfish around, carefully scoop one up and put it into a bucket of water. With a pair of gloves gently pull a few feet of tentacle off and save it in a cool wet towel. Just before the captain jumps into the yacht tender for his beer run, take a few tentacles and spread them on the driving seat or tube sides. Those Portuguese man o war's sting like a bee and are very durable. He sits on the seat....soon feels that " ring of fire" building and begins dancing like John Travolta in Saturday night fever. Works great and you can laugh at him for the next ten years. Life is to short...have fun, laugh,......For more advice...feel free to contact us.... IBNA , we are many
wow. these are som pretty pathetic responses to a serious post discussing a matter that many yachties (including guys) have gone through.
JESUS, pretty sad and creepy responses to a serious post.
is this the "new" quality of crew of the industry? where are all the mature, quality crew????
Always remember that there are good programs and bad ones. Makes no sense to compain. The bad ones fold very fast, dont even go near them. I never abuse or belittle my gang. Many times the little buggers get away with murder. We have all had crazy experiences in the past..., jobs that end after many years with a phone call from the secratary, rubber checks, abusive owners who tried to deduct pay from my most loyal senior crewmember for taking a monday and tuesday off to go to his sisters wedding. Try to go after one of these jerks with a lawyer and you will be frustrated.
The sexual harasment...I ran a yacht once as a new captain, a week into the first cruise Im sleeping in my bunk and the owner tried to climb in bed with me...Im a guy, he was a guy. I got the hell out and found a better job. All the bad experiences make you smart and professional. Ive been at it for 35 years, plenty wise.
Thanks for finally raising the question.
I am a cheif stew with 7 years of yachting experience, I am also licensed psychologist. There are many sorts of prejudiece and ethical aspects which can appear in different situations. In this case, it is clearly a matter of sexism, something that most corporations, nations or organisations are against as it is against equal rights among humans. I have also worked for captains like this in the past and I keep wondering why the yachting industry "allows" this kind of behaviour to occur when other industries does not? How come, things that are, not OK in "the real world", are OK in yachting? And why is it that we actually allow and accept this to happen. It is us, that is to blame as we do not react por take this any further than to quietly accept the behavior of in this case the cpatian. By not acting against this, we actually say its OK to discriminate and to be a sexist. I truly believe that if this happens to any woman/man in the yachting indutry again in the future, the right thing is to stand up (just like u just did) and speak your mind. Ignor that you might loose your job over it, cus it is not the right place to be anyway! There are many yachts out there without badmouthing captains that makes your life a mess....
Verbal abuse is not to be tolerated. Find a new boat. Not all yachts are run by Trog's. I can stand a crewmember down in private, even make you cry, but I would never use verbal abuse and I would never use profanity. Remember, yachts are not like a shoreside job. You live very close together in a small box and unfortunately many crew respond to this pressure with less than correct behaviour. Other crew or the captain may try to put you in your place and confirm their status with foul language. Dont fall for it..and dont pick up this bad habit when dealing with your crew.
As far as being captain and getting to friendly with a girl crew...its a tough call. I try to never socialize, hang out with and many times even talk to the stewardess's. Its the life in a small box problem. I do it to avoid conflict, Im to old for hassle. Many of the girls think Im a Monster and that I hate, reject them !!!!! I hang out with the boys , watch football and drink beer all the time. Oh Well......
More important issues on the court docket? Are you serious? This is not an important issue? Sorry, but some of here seem to be giving some pretty dumb advice. It's a bit mental for any poster to reply to a post like that and say that there may be "deep" mental issues over sincere concerns over this experience? Perhaps that captain should tell the same to that poster's girlfriend, no? Since it's no big deal.
It's harassment and lewd conduct that should not be tolerated. Period. I live in America, where we were brought up not to tolerate crap like that. Perhaps some are willing to tolerate this kind of behavior based upon where they're from or what they're used to, and perhaps some as men could careless what women go through over experiences like that. Geez... sometimes I feel like I'm living in the Twilight Zone reading some of these rediculous comments on here.
ahh, the yachting industry. yum
It’s obvious that there isn’t a lot that you can do about the situation now, but a great way to feel better about what occurred, is to know what you’re going to do next time something like this occurs. This way you'll stop feeling like a victim now and you won't feel like a victim the next time either.
Whenever someone is out of line with what they say, the best thing to do is to call them on it. You have to be quick, you can’t back down on your retort, you have to address then directly, and you should remain as emotionally neutral as possible.
I would even practice this with a friend. (This technique is commonly taught; it’s easy to learn and prevents you from feeling like a victim or a prude.)
Step 1. Your Response.
When he says something like, “… and let the rush of water clean everything out.” Look him straight in the eye and say, “That was rude.” Or “That was offensive.” Or, “Do you talk to all your Stews like this?” or “What you just said was out of line.” Then don’t say anything else. Don’t feel the need to defend your position. Whatever you do, be sure to:
1) Address the person directly, not the group.
2) Don’t get upset, don’t argue, don’t get hysterical or even angry and don’t say it in a laughing or kidding manner. Be as emotionally neutral as possible.
3) Don’t keep talking. Don’t say another word until they, or someone else says something.
Step 2. Your Follow Up.
If he does say something back, it will be in one of the three forms. An attempt to brush it off, (Avoidance) or an attempt to dump it onto you (Attack), or he may even apologize. (Assertive).
It could be something like, “Oh, I was just kidding.” Then put on a smile and say, “I was just kidding too.” Or, “Good." Or, "I'm glad you were kidding, because, that would have been a very rude thing to say.”
It could be something like this, “Don’t be such a pussy.” Or, “Oh, don’t twist it out of perspective. For god sake, don’t sue me. Can’t you take a joke?” In this case, the response is always the same, and at first, it may seem illogical, but it will work every time. You have to agree with whatever they say. For example. “I can see why you would think I’m being a pussy.” Or “I understand why you would think I’m twisting it out of perspective, will sue you, and why you would say I can’t take a joke.” Or, “I can see why you would say that.” Or, “You’re right, I can’t take a joke!” Once you practice this a few times, it will make a lot more sense. Most people are amazed at how well it works.
Accept their apology.
Step 3: Follow-up.
Here are the rules to follow up with:
1. Continue to remain as emotionally neutral as possible. DO NOT yell, cry, back down or become angry.
2. DO NOT take back what you said earlier.
3. DO NOT say anything else after your response.
4. Let it drop when it’s over with. Don’t even talk about it with others later.
5. Don’t harbor ill feelings. It’s over.
"Whenever someone is out of line with what they say, the best thing to do is to call them on it. "
This is VERY GOOD advice. Im the captain and several times a year, when its 40 degrees in the shade and the owner is riding my ass, I have been known to crack up and blow out at my crew. If the crew instantly responds ...knock it off ! or chill out. !! relax under control........ it puts me in my place and I reconsider my words. . I respect it. It must be on the spot. No need to carry a grudge back into the grew galley and spoil a whole week because of my 5 second outburst. .Oh and remember this works both ways...crew boil over and explode also.
At some point we all have to come to terms that this business is completely overwhelmed by complete idiots and other fools. Heavy drinking, egotistical behaviour, false resumes and references, crooked captains, drugged out crews, evil owners, sexist behaviour and crassness is the norm. There are good programs out there but only really a handfull. It speaks volumes that in this business you need to to invest heavily in yourself (qualifications) only to be spat out again when the (economic) tide turns, leaving you unemployed. Meanwhile, all the captains/brokers and other whingers sing out in choir: THERE IS JUST NO GOOD CREW OUT THERE ANYMORE!
Nope, they all left...and so should you.
This is one sick industry...leave it for what it is.
Well, maybe that's good advice....mkay.
I can agree that there are problems in this biz with respect to crew and cpts, sure. But I also believe where there is a will, there is a way. I don't believe yachting is a bad industry all in all. And even I've, myself, done some "complaining" while donning a bad profile on one or two boats...maybe three [ahem] for "doing so", I have hope..like Obama says [not a big fan, but hey, good point].
Anyway, I sincerely hope that this Cpt gets what he deserves whether I can take his butt to his boss or to court or not...and btw, I'm not ashamed about being American and wanting to do so.
As I've said before on here, I love how others claim that Americans are suit-happy. I mean some of you got to be kidding yourselves when you try to a lump a majority of Americans as if most actually file claims...and if many have in this industry...Go Figure...it's Yachting where there's all kinds of crap that people pull on eachother. Many of us in the States don't even have time to "neutralize" or defend ourselves when dealing with various issues of adversity.
The US has a depth of great things and, yes, bad ones....I've dealt with a multitude of adversarial issues since I was born and since I stepped in this sometimes sad industry. Do you actually think an average American would even have time to focus on a court cases upon court cases while trying to find a lawyer for representation....do you know how expensive [in dollars] cases would cost to pursue?
I belive most people throughout the world DO face much adversity that could qualify as a "claim". Most of us anywhere deal with it while having to move on. But not all should be tolerated including this type of behavior from a 65 year trashy, ignorant man who acts all dignified among guests/owners...this is a man who likes to don you guys/gals from Europe as EuroTrash...which is such a trashy word..I even hate the word White Trash. America may have some more people who are willing to file claims whether they are being fair in doing so or not... that's America and that's one more thing I love about this country...we got more options baby even with losers like him. For now anyway...
Well, it certainly looks like you have been given a broad spectrum of advice here! As a fellow yacht stew with experience of all types of crew - mentality is different with each nationality and also class and upbringing come into play, the best thing you can do to protect youself is never take anything personally because that comment could easily be directed at any stew and he was probably just trying to amuse the crew in his very own charming neanderthal way.
You can never tell if a captain/crew is going to be professional until you board the boat and even then, to be a professional 100% of the time when you are living with a crew 24/7 for months at a time is not an easy thing. That is why the yachting industry is different - because work is home too. Perhaps his comment derided you because he was hurt that you rejected his advances, perhaps he just doesn't know any better. Either way, pity him for it and move on - why let someone like that even get to you? Sexism is always an issue as there are two different species on this planet and you know the girls also have to take some of the blame - how many fresh faced and bouncy young stews have you seen make a play to bag a Captain - perhaps even this Captain?
You are always going to be faced with difficult people wearing many different hats in this life - you can't change them so change yourself, your reactions, your feelings, don't let things get to you, choose not to play the 'hurt' game, stay firmly centred in your strength and tell him, 'Thanks for that, you're a real gentleman, Captain!' Roll your eyes and move on...
When you learn how to deal with these asses, you will find you don't encounter them, they will have ceased to exist because your attitude will not invite that kind of attention. He wanted to insult you, he wanted to get to you, and you gave up your power and let him. Now be strong and move on and forget about taking action as the little people like us generally get screwed. Good Luck!
Do as I say & not as I do
Captains need to practice what they preach, lead by example and not bend the rules when they are having a tough time coping with pressure.
Going out on drinking binge failing to work on the following day is no way to gain respect from your crew.