Pre-Season Prep

19 May 2011 By Rubi McGrory

Crossings aren’t all Sudoku and Modern Family DVDs. There is work to bedone. Of course, catch up on sleep, but do yourself, and your crewmates, a favor and use the timewithout guests to prepare for the season ahead. Everyone from captain to chefto third deckhand can get a head start on the work that’s waiting when they hitthe dock.

Captains, sharpen your pencils and get your work lists ready. Every crewmemberhas something that needs attention. This is your chance to look at schedulesand juggle the work, workers and finally get a realistic idea of who does what. Crossings are an excellent chance to catch up on correspondence that keepsslipping through your inbox. Don’t forget to make sure you have a copy of allinventories; your crew is going to be very busy with their own list making.

For engineers, it’s all about inventory, inventory, inventory. Followedby purchase order, purchase order, purchase order. With a small amount offoresight, you can be sure you’ll have everything you need waiting at the dockwhen you arrive. With the rest of the crossing time, you can beginticking off the lists your fellow crewmembers have been busy preparing for you.And crossings are a great time to update manuals and tidy up that mess ofbinders lurking on your bench in the engine room.

Mate, bosuns and deckhands, it’s inventory time! Provided conditions arecalm, this is your chance to open every hatch, locker and bilge space. Do youeven remember what you have on board anymore? Get a jump-start on the season byputting in orders for cleaning supplies and deck gear. Hold safety drills. Readmanuals. No, they aren’t as interesting as Patrick O’Brian novels, but you’lllearn something and, as a result, be better at your job.

Stewardesses, you’re not ducking out of the inventory game. Chances areyou’ve had to throw out some soiled napkins, new vases have come onboard, andthe Missus has ordered a complete change of toiletries. On calm days, pull outevery face cloth or duster refill and start counting. Purge cleaning supplies that haven’t beenused in a year. Once you know what you have, start making shopping lists, whichwill save you precious time when you arrive in port and need to be ready forcharter ASAP. If you have Internet, use this opportunity to place orders withyour suppliers. You can call first dibs on what you need, while the stews whodidn’t read this will be stuck with whatever is left. Once your typing fingers get warmed up, you’ll want to take a look atyour interior manuals. All of those notes you so hastily scrawled in as newguests came on board or the boss changed his diet will make more sense whentranscribed. Don’t forget your work list; the captain will be expecting one.

As for Chefs, get your own inventories sorted out. This is a greatopportunity to sit down and go through the cookbooks and magazines that havebeen piling up. Take notes, tear pages out of magazines and start working onmenus and new dishes you want to play with. Look over your old menus andscribbles about what worked and what didn’t. Do you have legible notes aboutsuccessful meals and dishes? What about guests who have come aboard? If you have reliable Internet, check out themyriad of cooking blogs and websites, you can learn about everything frommolecular gastronomy to fancy Jello shots to bread making. Remember, your crew will be eager judges in your questfor the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. They’ll be working hard on their owninventories and will welcome the snacks.