7 Things that Annoy Crew

23 December 2008 By Matt Brown

There is nothing quite like working as crew on a superyacht.

Even with all the advantages that come with the job, it takes a pretty strong-willed individual to completely ignore the bad habits of fellow crewmembers. You are, after all, working in relatively a confined space, which only serves to exaggerate the little annoying practices of others.

Believe me, these sometimes very personal practices are always noticed by your fellow crew, but they are often let go without comment. Well, not anymore! Here’s my take on seven crew behaviors that annoy crew the most:

1. The Silent Zone
When you’re working an 18-hour day while on charter, the one thing you need most is sleep. Depending on your watch schedule, your hours of rest could be split at any point during the day. So when you have an hour to rest, you do your best to get the most out of it. Welcome to silent zone….

Yet, there is usually some clueless soul who fails to realize that you’re on a break and just when you’re about to fall asleep—BANG—a door slams, pulling you back from the verge of a blissful dream. For all guilty parties, please remember that the silent zone is for the good of us all.

2. The Dishwasher
The dishwasher is the heart and soul of the crew mess and as you know, it's probably the most-used appliance by the crew.

A number of yachts I’ve worked on enforce the policy that if you should be the one to open it when the contents are clean, then you have the responsibility of unloading it—irrespective of whether or not you are the person on watch. Now, this is fine and all, but why is it that the same people always wind up unpacking a clean dishwasher? On some days, you find yourself unpacking it three times in a row, which has to be a near mathematical conundrum, because you only eat three times a day. At this point you have to wonder if you’re the unluckiest person on board.

3. Mixing Colors
One of the biggest gripes for stews is the fact that their fellow crew don’t understand the difference between white and the rest of the colors in the rainbow.

Laundry baskets are clearly marked one or the other, yet it’s apparently lost on some individuals. To quote one of my stewardesses: “How hard is it to put colors in one basket and whites in another? You’d have to be blind to miss it, but it still happens!”

4. The Missing Key
You’re out on the town letting off some steam with a few friends you haven’t seen since you last left port. After a superb evening, you say your goodbyes and begin making your way back to the yacht. You arrive on deck and open the locker where the “secret” spare key to the crew mess door is stored, only to find that it’s missing.

You then realize that John the deckhand left the bar 30 minutes before you did and has let himself in, locked the door, but neglected to return the key!

So, you start calling the numbers of your fellow crewmembers, but none of their phones have signal while they’re encased in a steel housing. So you’re stuck outside with two options: 1) Sleep in the rescue tender or 2) Start banging on the captain’s window to let you in.

Both options are, of course, not ideal. Your only saving grace is the fact that John will get a bollocking in the morning.

4. The Unnecessary Movement of Nasal Fluids
You’re sitting at the table of a packed crew mess, munching on the best lamb chops you’ve ever eaten, when you suddenly hear the engineer sitting next to you begin to suck down the biggest ball of phlegm towards the back of his throat. Unsettled looks begin to shoot around the table. You all know what each other is thinking, but only one person has the brass to say it—the chef: “Would you like a roll with that?”

Now, when has sucking down phlegm or blowing your nose at the dinner table ever been considered polite?

5. The Clothing Exchange
While the numbering system on the labels of crew clothing goes a long way to prevent this, there are still occasions when you cannot find a t-shirt or worst of all—any clean underwear!

You know it’s been washed because you put in your dirty laundry over three days ago, which means it has now made its way into someone else’s cabin, resulting in the farcical situation of someone else wearing your underwear. I have even heard of captains wearing the deckhand’s underwear and knowingly so! But to add insult to the proverbial injury, the clothing exchange is only open when you’re on charter and when you don’t have the time to go rummaging through the drawers of another cabin!

6. The Crew Cover-Up
Bringing your “yachtie hottie” to the yacht for a night of passion in the master cabin never sits well with the crew – especially the interior crew.

The typical reaction is to try to cover it up, but the stews invariably will find out what’s gone down the night before. One of the more precarious pieces of advice I’ve been given came from a fellow deckhand: “Instead of covering it up, be as upfront with the girls as possible and offer them some cash to sort things out on your behalf. You’d be surprised at how easily it works. I think they appreciate the honesty and the situation that you’re in.”

7. The Spanish Inquisition
This last point comes from the captain of my yacht. What’s the thing that annoys him most about crew generally? “Being asked where are we going next or what the plans are,” he says. “The problem is not the question as such, but the fact that you get asked this question by every single crewmember over and over again. As soon as I know where we’re going then I’ll write it on the board in the crew mess. Until then, relax!”