Bin Juice, Festering Deck Shoes and Chemical Cocktails: The Mess in your Crew Mess

10 June 2010 By Lucie Ferrer

The biggest mess in your crew’s mess may well be your fellow crewmembers the morning after a dock party. But I’m talking about the other sort of mess: the smelly, grimy, “it was like that when I got here” pile of stinking shoes or wee on the seat in the crew head.

When you have a number of people living together they will generate mess, usually unintentionally. Crew have nowhere else to go to kick back but the crew quarters and when every crewmember believes that they, themselves, are the hardest working, busiest person on board, trivialities like properly cleaning up the sugar they spilled starts to look a lot like someone else’s job. Add to that the fact that crew expect delicious food to appear several times a day as if by magic, their dirty laundry to find its way back to the cabin crease-free and smelling good and the fact they don’t have trifling worries like rent or taxes and you may be dealing with some entitlement issues; regardless of if crew are young and wet behind the ears or practically institutionalized after a few years in the industry. The question then becomes: who is the “lucky” crewmember who gets stuck with the unenviable task of keeping on top of the dirty jobs in the crew mess?

Well, whoever’s on watch might lay the table and push the vacuum around once, but let’s face facts, when it comes to the nitty-gritty, scummy details, it’s the interior team who are expected pick up after everyone – as well it should be; they are “interior crew” after all, right? It only becomes tiresome when crew leave the place in a tip and expect the “fairies” to clear up for them.

What the other members of the crew forget is…it’s a big interior. Steward/esses have other areas to shower with their attention and far more important people to pander to than their crewmates. Steward/esses aren’t the crew’s mummies. Find your own shirt, put your own plate in the dishwasher and find someone else to rub Vicks on your chest and make cooing noises when you aren’t feeling well.

Equally, however, there are steward/esses, and other crewmembers, who see policing their crewmates as a hobby. Ever hear someone busy grumble the phrase, “stick a brush up my arse and I’ll sweep the floor too”? Well yes, you may be busy, but there’s no need to act like you’re ready to opt for the surgical removal of the stick from your aft area.

Crew all must co-exist in the crew mess. Like every other aspect of the yacht, it’s expected to be kept to top-notch standards; keeping a balance has to be key. As a steward/ess, seeing all the morning’s hard work like vacuuming, cereal tub straightening and coffee jar refilling being undone at morning break isn’t fun to watch. On the flip side, no one likes to be under surveillance by the fridge police or worry about getting comfortable on the cushions, just in case they get creased.

The place we all call home should be a place of relaxation, not somewhere you’re afraid to make a slice of toast for fear of crumb-related recriminations. So crew, tidy up after yourself and spare a thought for the person who’ll have to empty the bin juice when you’re finished slopping your leftovers in between the bin liner and the bin. And to the crew mess police, get off your high horses and lighten up a bit, eh? This job is tough enough without us pecking at each other’s heads.