What a Mess!

19 May 2008 By Janine Ketterer

Luxury yachts are known for impeccable cleanliness. Their galleys glisten and their teak is in tip top condition.

But, what about the crew quarters? Is your crew mess….a mess?

After spending your day cleaning up after others, the last thing you want to do is clean up after yourself, right?

“Our crew mess is in the front of the boat and the guests are always in and out so it always has to be clean, but the boys tend to leave things lying around,” said Stew Linda Spiteri of M/Y Valkyrie.

Some crew don’t have a choice in the matter. When their little nook is on display for guests and owners, crew quarters always have to be on point. For others, keeping the crew mess tidy is simply a necessity for maintaining a happy ship.

“We know to never leave anything on our crew mess table. It’s one of our captain’s pet peeves,” said Deckhand Tommy Eriksen of M/Y Golden Rule.

Stew Becky Kinnison from Golden Rule agrees: “Everyone is really responsible for their own things. I’m lucky because I have a small room so I have to keep organized. In terms of the bathroom, we have a weekly schedule. When you clean for a living it can be a chore to clean up after yourself.”

Cleaning up after yourself is only one side of the coin however. When living with others and space is limited, personal effects can overlap and clutter can get in the way of daily life. You may be fastidious about your surroundings and a consistently clean crewmember, but are your counterparts as courteous?

In other words, who’s responsible for cleaning up this mess?

Stew Amy Carter of M/Y Second Chance says, “Our crew mess is spotless. Whoever is on watch that day does the daily stuff and I am ultimately responsible. We used to have to get on people’s cases about it, but we’re much better now.”

Deck/Stew Melody Bosch, also of Second Chance, adds, “We find our S@#* in piles on our beds; that’s a good deterrent for being messy.”

Crammed quarters and little tolerance for mess can cause commotion below the decks for some crew. But, it seems most are in ship-shape when it comes to keeping clean.

Can you say the same of your yacht? How clean are your quarters?

“We clean our own spaces but the stew gives it a ‘proper’ cleaning,” said Mate Chris Clodfelter of M/Y Just J’s. “It’s yachting, and there’s no margin for error. No one has to say anything to anyone (about keeping tidy) and no one should have to.”

Is the word “mess” just an unfortunate nautical misnomer? If crew keeps its quarters clean, what’s all the fuss?

Surely, there must be a real Pig Pen in the crowd, a crewmember who simply won’t pick up his socks or wash her dirty dishes.

Do you have a tale of a disheveled deckhand or spoiled stew? If so, call them out on it. Post your comments below.

Air your dirty laundry at We love to dish the dirt…especially when it’s not our responsibility to clean it up later.

And if you want to play it safe, just give us suggestions on how to keep your crew quarters clean. Share your secrets. Brag a bit. Let us know how your crew keeps things ship shape.

It's dirty work, but someone has to do it.