Hurry Up and Wait! 7 Survival Tips for Standing By

2 March 2009 By Di Thompson

Working on board a superyacht is a dream job with more upsides than most other jobs in the world. However, there are days when you find it's more a case of hurry up and wait, whether you’re on standby waiting for an owner or guest who turns up hours late or worse, doesn’t show up at all.

The chef has provisioned with enough fresh seafood to feed a group of 10 plus crew. The owner’s request was to have a buffet lunch ready and waiting at time of guest arrival, and it’s good to go. The stews have chilled down wines and Champagne, with several bottles of each sitting on ice. The deck crew and engineer have done several rounds of safety checks so everything is in order for an immediate departure.

Now you wait.

The crew lunch was going to be served whilst the guests were eating theirs. Everyone is waiting around hungry enough to start chewing on their own arms. They all have worked hard up until now, and are looking forward to a feast of fresh breads, salads and bounty from the sea.

They know all too well that the minute they do sit down to eat, the call will come to meet and greet, and then it’s all systems go.

So how do crew deal with the frustration of being on standby when the ice is melting in the ice buckets and ruining expensive bottle labels?
Or worse, the weather is rapidly deteriorating and posing safety risks?

1. Keep a sense of humor. We know that’s stating the obvious, but having a laugh for laughter’s sake or seeing an amusing side of a serious situation can keep the collective mood in check.

2. Do some personal tasks (if you're able). Grab your computer, get some email done (even if they don’t send), start organizing those photos you’ve been meaning to or write those recipes down. Catch up on your reading or stimulate the brain with a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.

3. Grab any tools of your job that won’t make mess – deckhands could practice knot-tying skills, stews napkin-folding designs. Anything that simply requires a second to put away when guests eventually arrive. Take the time to go over the preference sheets once again, or refresh the crews' memories on all the guests' names once more.

4. Do a safety drill. This will keep you occupied and sharp while fulfilling a vital operational requirement.

5. Take the time to admire your surroundings and appreciate the fact that you’re not stuck in an office working beneath a bank of fluorescent lights. Take a few photos to send to family and friends at home – or snap some shots of fellow crewmembers to post on

6. Update your travel journal. Grabbing precious minutes when you’re not busy is essential. What better opportunity when the work is done and you’re simply waiting?

7. Keep your stress in perspective. It's not life or death. In these economic times, if this is your greatest worry, that's not too bad and consider yourself lucky to be exactly where you are.

What do you do while you’re waiting around on standby?