Crew Advice

Ask Captain Kelly: How Should I Deal with Conflict in the Crew?

19 July 2022 By Staff Report

Have a tricky onboard situation you’d like an outsider’s perspective on? Have a burning career question? We can help!

Welcome to Dockwalk’s Ask Captain Kelly advice column, where we post your questions and get insight from a current captain, Capt. Kelly J. Gordon. Capt. Kelly currently works aboard M/Y Freddy but grew up in a small town in Indiana. Her path into yachting began in Beaufort, North Carolina, where she now claims as home base. She’s a former chemistry professor and loves to teach — while she takes pride in her ability as a motor yacht captain, she has a soft spot for young adults, especially those that come with questions.

Our second Q&A deals with a common situation that most crew will face at some point — handling crew conflicts.

Q: I like to think I’m pretty easygoing, but I have been having issues nonstop with my roommate on board. We’re both pretty neat and tidy, but she tends to stay up super late on her phone when we’re not working and it interferes with my sleep. I’ve tried asking her to please put down the phone, or maybe hang out in the crew mess, but she insists she’s comfortable and winding down in bed. What do you suggest I try to resolve this crew conflict?

A: Well, is the issue the brightness of the phone, the volume of the videos, or her talking on the phone? Let’s say it’s the brightness — try hanging a curtain off the side of your or her bunk to block out the light or try wearing a sleep mask. If she is watching videos and it is a matter of volume, you could suggest ear buds. However, there may be a policy about crewmembers wearing ear buds so as to not prevent crew from hearing alarms. But let’s just say this policy doesn’t exist, then she should resort to using ear buds to respect your desire to sleep. If she is talking on the phone, she should be doing so elsewhere and probably not even in the crew mess if it is during time of rest. I would hope that you two could resolve this issue on your own, but if not, your department head may need to put some directives in place for phone use after a certain hour.

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