Crew Management

An 8 Step Guide to Surviving A Crew Meal Out

1 April 2022 By Nina Wilson
Three young people sit eating and laughing at an outdoor restaurant.
Credit: Adobe Stock

Pre-galley, Nina Wilson trained as a dive instructor and skippered sailing boats in Greece before starting her yachting career in 2013. Currently head chef on a 55-meter, her talents included telling brilliant jokes and being able to consume six cheeseburgers and feel no guilt. Follow her on Instagram @thecrewchef.

Navigating crew dynamics can be a fun time for all. Chef Nina Wilson offers her best advice for thriving at a crew dinner ashore.

1. Do not be on watch. Sorry — I know this may be out of your control but really, you want to avoid a serious case of FOMO and do your best to be not on the rota for this particular event. Plus, it’s a surefire guarantee that whoever isn’t at the crew meal will be talked about at the crew meal.

2. Wear something flexible. Crew meals can be spontaneous. One hour you’re at a cocktail bar. The next a trés chic French joint. Then, a grimy dive bar, full of pool tables with questionable stains. You may even end up riding a one-legged man’s donkey. And then you might have to walk back to the boat, so wear comfy shoes or prepare yourself not to whine if you wore heels.

3. Gird your loins — drinking rocket fuel margaritas on an empty stomach will unlikely end in a happily ever after. Considering that crew dinner on board is served at 6 p.m., when things get pushed back we all start getting a bit antsy. Seasoned crew will be seen pre-snacking before departure (a few crisps/lunch leftovers).


4. DO NOT sit next to the old engineer. Or boring captain. Even the shifty-looking sous chef — avoid. You’ll spend all night listening to their anecdotes, smiling blankly and trying to avoid their bad breath. You want to be next to that cute stew or chatty deckhand, so plan your approach to the table carefully. Goodness, I just get nervous thinking about it.

5. Order whatever the f*ck you want. Yes, I’m serious. Stop looking at the prices, there's no need to be stingy. Order whatever your heart desires. Odds are you are dining with people on significantly larger paychecks than you — and the modus operandi for crew meals is an evenly split bill. So try to reframe it in your mind that you’re all sharing the costs and no doubt some wanker is ordering the chateaubriand, so why not join in and order the eye fillet with truffle sauce! Bring on another round of espresso martinis!

Credit: Adobe Stock

6. The bill. This can either go two ways — there’s no feeling like seeing the captain pull out their wallet and waving that magic (flat, rectangular) wand. You beauty! On the crew’s dime? Don’t chirp up about how only had a cheese pizza and a beer —you’re an adult now. Pull your weight (and refer to point five next time you feel like ordering something simple).

7. The exit. Do not be the first to leave (that’s the old engineer's role, or the timid laundry stewardess). Do not be the last to leave (as in, walking back on board whilst the flag is being raised).

8. The aftermath (see point one). If it was a banger of a crew meal, where people got merry and no doubt something slightly entertaining (someone's phone went in the piss, someone went in the piss, or even someone tossed someone else in the piss). Partake in all gossip full heartedly in front of the watchkeeper for maximum enjoyment.


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