I normally sail alone but have taken on crew for both an Atlantic transit and traveling around the Caribbean. My particular rule is crew contributes to food, pays for their own customs fees (rare), alcohol, smokes and entertainment. This usually ends up being about $10 to $20 per day (some people like steak, some mac and cheese!) I think this is fair. The crew do not add to my financial burden and they get the enjoyment of the experience. I am not talking about taking friends or acquaintances out for a day sail or a weekend, but rather crew that stays on the boat for several months. These are people who almost exclusively have asked to go sailing for their personal enjoyment. I feel no obligation to pay their costs.
A touchy issue is when crew break things. Cruising boats have things break and I pay the bill. But I have had people drop winch handles overboard, throw dishes into the sea when emptying grey water, and drop expensive electronic remotes overboard. The polite ones pay, the others seem to think I am made of money.
A second issue is what belongs to me and what belongs to the boat. I have had guests assume they can use my computer, my camera, etc. because they are on the boat. I don't agree.
A third issue is cleanliness. I try to keep the boat very clean. Traveling in the tropics it is difficult to keep bugs off the boat. I have had to ask people to leave who do not understand the necessity of keeping the food and kitchen area immaculate.
I have added links to two documents that I use to "interview" potential crew and explain their duties. You are welcome to comment on them and/or use them for your own purposes.
Potential Crew Questionare: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2Dn...it?usp=sharing
Standing Orders: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2Dn...it?usp=sharing
A final note: There are many people in the sailing community (like any other community) that are trying to make money on their "dream." There are people willing to contribute to sail on a tall ship etc. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with people running a commercial venture who try and pretend it is something else.
Really good. Almost full marks.
Suggestion All handhelds and expensive handheld remotes should have safey wrist straps fixed so they don't get dropped over board.
Can I also copy and adapt so its not so restrictive as I sail as a Captain and as crew.
Now for for the nitty gritty. Also a touchy issue.
When I sail as crew I like you send a questionaire to the owner.
You will be shocked at ther attitude. 80 % have refused or spin some argue along the lines how dare a crew member ask suck lenghty detailed infomation.
I find most boats that refuse to sign at later dates by comming accross crewmembers that did join as crew asking no questions thet had a hell trip.
The remainder % had good boats a delight to sail on as you can decide what level of safety or comfort you are prepared to accept and not complain. Also when on board some when there is a issue say they did not agree to that, bingo you can produce the document. Crew beware of the captain that uses his wife to answer the questions and uses her solicit for crew on his behalf. He then has the perfect excuse to say he did not agree to that and that he does not believe his wife would have stated / agreed to that and if she did he will be having words with her . Got caught once will never be caught again by a shafty boat owner by signing with an incorrect date and not his usual signature. I did not check the date he seemed more that reasonable with a good helpful personality. However he was a wealthy successful business man that did not have many successful law suits go against him i'm told. I can see why now. When I suggested I would take the matter further he replied with a grin on his face -- have another look at the agreement i signed. It was Dated two before i arrived. I was'nt not on board with clearance papers throwing the whole agreement or inforcement into headache territory. Didn,t check he had put the correct signing date. It"s easy to over look. You have to check all dotted i's and crossed t's with some captains.
Had to refine questions even further still. Not good enough to ask do you have a refrigerator, deepth sounder, auto pilot, Have to also ask do they work. Had answers yes only to find when on board they have not worked for 6 months or more previously. Also if the answer is yes don't assume crew can use it. Had captains answer yes Auto pilots only to find he is the only person to use it as a result of low amp hour storage.
Check the amp hour storage capacity of the vessel this will give some idea what can be used. Refined question to ask whats are the amps used when all safety electronics are on plus auto plilot and the number of amp hours the batteries total and bingo in a lot of cases they don,t have the amp hours and will not allow the gen set on to charge more amp hours untill a set time in the morning. So no navigation lights on a night, no auto pilot on a night and no radar on at night and no using your own computer in between genset time pluged into the ships 12 volt system. Had one particular vessel the refrigeration was sacrificed at night whilst the crew where asleep to save amp hours hence in the tropics bacteria comtamination resulted.
The list goes on.
If a vessel has cats on board read this
Dangerous feline parasite at shocking levels in humans - World - NZ Herald News
Never hand your pass port to the captain to hold during the trip. Give him a copy. Some will refuse to return it if it is to their advantage and what if he misplaces it.
Never sign a agreement that classifies you as a guest makes sure it states you are a boni fide crew member.
Don't agree that you don't get a refund for unused stores food ect. What if the crew get a bit off colour a restrict their food / eating habits / consumption. It happens and the captain over orders which is easily done to make sure there is ample on board. According some boats owners can live on unused ships stores for 6 months or more before they have to buy anything. It amounts to quite a few dollars - like the equivalent to $8 a day. That's a gain for insurance purposes as well.
Ask these questions or similiar and why.
© OCTOBER 2013
1. Do all skin fittings (out flow) have non-return valves installed, including cockpit drains, vanity and galley sinks.
2. Does the vessels have bilge pumps and what capacity are they? I insist on a minimum of at least two bilge pumps on the vessel with a minimum capacity rating of 2500 gals per hour each, with automatic float switches, float switch guards and with light indicators displayed in a common visible position, preferably displayed on the engine instrument panel because this is usually visible from the helming station. Engine room, should be fitted with a Smart pump switch and detector. All bilge pumps should be connected to a three way rocker panel switch as well and should not (along with co alarms) be routed through the boats battery switch. Do you have at least one float switch in the spares department? Bilge pumps are your first and last line of staying afloat when taking on water. If you have to abandon ship because of taking on water, time is an important factor in sending out a mayday call, launching the life raft and all getting a board, with all the necessities one can take to make ones experience, endurance of such as comfortable as possible.
Remember bilge pumps are your last line of defence in staying afloat. Check to see if the hand bilge pump actually works. In addition all hull inlets and outlets should have soft wooded tapered plugs tied to the hull skin fittings, sized to suit each fitting.
3. Do you have a life raft, is the regular servicing in date and will it remain in date for the passage? Capacity of life raft? Life rafts, if not serviced regularly can perish if insufficient talc powder was used when repacking. A dated test service sticker is always attached to the outside of the canister or bag if it has been serviced by a registered servicing business. If not ask to see the inspection serving certificate, issued by the approved servicing agent. Make
sure it is USCG, ORC, IOR, CCA, AAA, approved and has independent buoyancy chambers, at least 4 deep ballast pockets, rain gathering catcher and a boarding ladder. Deep ballast pockets types have 4 times the anti capsizing capabilities compared to other types and normally have other superior attributes, such as less likely to flip upside down when launching. Life support mechanisms contained therein also have a use by date, as do MOB systems. Annual servicing / survey is a basic requirement for life rafts and is the norm internationally. Manufacturers have designed and built there life rafts with the understanding that they would be serviced / surveyed annually except for life rafts packed in a vacuum inner-pack. The vacuum inner- pack type, if no moister is shown to be present, the repacker can seal the raft back up for the first and second scheduled repacks only. If a raft servicing date is three years out of date, ask if it is a vacuum inner-pack type. One would expect some sort off sticker to acknowledge it has been inspected and re sealed in accordance with serving / survey requirements for these type of rafts. If the seal is broken or does not look in tact, in all probability it has not been inspected by a servicing agent. Life raft manufactures place the burden of responsibility to service them with the life raft owner. Is the life raft a Hydrostatic type or a manually deployable type? Hydrostatic types need additional thought when deploying manually. The word life raft conjures a thought process that itís a piece of equipment that is unfailing when all else fails. Over look the importance of this piece off safety equipment and you could be handing in your knife and fork earlier than you expected.
As from 1st January 2003. The International Sailing Federation recommends all life rafts be serviced by a manufacturer approved and certified company. If the life raft is serviced by a service station that is NOT APPROVED BY THE MANUFACTURER then product warranties may be void and any liabilities may well pass to the owner. This also applies when no annual service / survey / inspection has been carried out what so ever, including vacuum inner-pack raft types. The owner under these circumstances is putting all on board at risk including himself. For private vessels it is acceptable for life rafts to be serviced every two years. Any longer it is not acceptable.
Contact the safety Inspector or Maritime Office in your area. They have a list of life
raft service stations and the brands of life rafts these companies are approvedb to service. These companies are required by Maritime Safety Authorities to have manufacturers training, manuals and genuine spare parts for all life raft brands they are approved to service Also as from the 21st March the new navigation safety rule became law in New Zealand, stating the requirements / responsibility of Skippers from all on board.
4. Do you have a S.S.B. transceiver radio installed capable of transmitting and receiving at a minimum distance of 2000 nms between station to station? Does it have DSC capabilities using NMEA data from the ships GPS or Loran? It is mandatory for N.Z. flagged vessels leaving N.Z. waters to have a S.S.B. radio under CAT 1 regulations. The DSC capability feature allows a distress message to be transmitted with one push of a button on all designated
emergency channels, if it is installed in the area region you are sailing in an important feature when one is under stress, in a panic situation allowing you more time to gather your wits and grab extra equipment to take in the life raft should the occasion arise. Ask if the radios
where installed by an authorized serving agent. The answer should be yes.
5. Do you have a VHF radio transceiver having a minimum power of 25 watts and capable of working on all standard international channels, with an external cockpit extension speaker and a masthead antenna. Both S.S.B. and VHF radios should have emergency antennas also. The DSC capability feature is also, of major benefit. Each electrical device on the vessel should have its own fuse located on the positive wire within seven inches of its source of power in addition to being connected through a circuit breaker panel. If the vessel does not have a masthead antennaís the V.H.F. should have a range of 12 miles minimum. Does it Work. Do'n't leave them on during an electrical storm - Fork lightning.
6. Do you have radar, which has a minimum of a 16-mile range capability? Does it have E.P.I.R.B. directional finding capabilities and does he know how to use this feature? Does it have guard mode, watch mode and displays rain squalls capabilities. The radar dome if be installed on the spreaders / crosstree have protection for protection of sails making contact as the vessel changes tacks. If the dome is installed on the mast strong brackets and fastenings are essential for securing the dome. The dome should have a guard to protect it from contact of the sails, when tacking, preferably starting and finishing from just inside the shrouds on the spreaders / crosstree on the mast. Like wise for the loud haler speaker if there is one.
Does the radar work and and what setting is it on if on during all night time sailing.
7. Do you have two G.P.Sí s and one handheld back up G.P.S. with an ample supply of back up batteries and / or alternative power source? Do they work.
8. What is the fresh water capacity of the vessel? I put 250 gals as the minimum in determining whether I accept a position on board a vessel depending on whether a working and serviced water maker is on board. Another method is 6 litres of water per person per 100 nms of voyage.
9. What is the fuel capacity of the vessel and will there be enough for 6 days continuous motoring at a average cruising speed of 6.0 knots into a moderate head sea [ 2 meters (25 knots winds) ] when we leave port?
10. Are the ships batteries older than three and a half years of age and what is the total amp hourís capacity of such batteries? I accept a minimum of 690 amp hourís capacity and 720-amp hourís capacity if the vessel has a chart plotter,Autopilot, radar and refrigeration, which run of the house batteries. Is there A separate battery for all radio communications. This is mandatory in NZ. Iím not happy with batteries older than 3 and a half years. Two banks are better than one. Do the batteries
have an amp usage (DC ammeter) and a DC voltmeter? Each bank of batteries must have their own, battery selector switch or multi combination switch. With the chart plotter, autopilot, radar, and one medium size 12 volt refrigerator on all together, they can draw 30 amps per hour and at night with the navigation lights on 30 to 35 amps per hour can be drained from the batteries. Accordingly at night over 11 hours 370 amp hours can be drained from the batteries.
Usually something has to be turned off unless re charging is activated and if they follow the batteries should not drain under 50% capacipcity for longer life. Two independent sets off navigation lights are now becoming mandatory in most recognized world rallies.
11. How many alternators are installed on the main engine? I prefer two to be installed with a minimum out put rating of 80 amps each. If only one is
installed on the main engine then I would expect a 2nd back up alternator to be part of the ships spares including two spare belts. Additional battery charging systems installed on the vessel i.e. wind generating, solar panels and genset, A C alternator, I consider as additional and a bonus if they have AC direct power and not through a inverter..
12. Do the anchors have a swivel connecting the anchor shank to the anchor?chain? Most commercial vessels have such swivels. It always amazes me the number of vessels that donít have a swivel when I walk down legs of marinas.If the vessel does not have a swivel on the anchor shank it usually is an indication as to the importance the owner places on the safety of his vessel. I carry two or three swivels of difference sizes in my baggage so if there is a dragging problem, chain twisting problem and they agree can use for free. Sometimes i SAY THEY CAN KEEP THEM WHEN i LEAVE THE BOAT IF i HAVE HAD A GOOD PASSAGE.
13. Is the length of the anchor chain at least 4 times the length of the vessel? and does he set his anchore at this min lenght each time.
14. What are the types of anchors on board? I expect a minimum of two and one to be a Bruce, Plow, and CQR, Claw or similar design.
15. Do you have a man over board recovery system with a man over board pole, one lifebuoy with marine grade retro-reflective material, with a drogue and water contact activating light attached? When was it last serviced? These systems contain apparatus, with a use by date.
16. Do you have a parachute sea anchor with panels made from [minimum] 8 oz material? Most vessels have devices for survival after disaster strikes, yet many do not stow one of the best devices for preventing disasters, a parachute sea anchor. Check the vessel has deck cleats samson post of a size and in suitable positions for such a device if there is no Samson post / Bollard / Capstan, it difficult to adjust to get the setting correct as the wave distances apart keep on changing from time to time. Is there a large enough Samson post / Bollard / Capstan, to tie off the rode once set and for adjusting? Is the rode set up to deploy or to feed out safely? Have the crew given any thought on a plan to deploy the parachute anchor. You will in all probability have to rely on the skippers / ownerís statements and knowledge in this regard but the subject should be discussed. Visit the worlds No 1 and award-winning manufacturer on this device. W A Coppins - Award winning designers of Para Sea Anchors
The best money can buy. Visit their web site for full details and discover why they are the No 1 and award winning Sea anchor makers. With The most advanced sea parachute sea anchor technology - Competively priced for off-shore sailing and recreational boating with the most fully descriptive, easy to follow, without ambiguity, illustrated deployment manual / instructions that I have seen to date, free with every purchase.
17. Do you have an E.P.I.R.B. 406 MHz type or an Inmarsat type , E that has a current service sticker attached? An additional one in the grab bag is a bonus.
When was the battery / batteries last tested? Take note of individual crewmembers that have their own personal E.P.I.R.B. and if you have to abandon ship remind them to take it with them into the life raft.
18. Do you have a grab bag or rapid Ditch survival bag for each life raft on board? Is a crewmember appointed to gather additional items in a dry bag, specifically made available, to take along over and above the contents of the grab bag, to counter and increase your survival chances whilst in the life raft. Items such as sextant, charts, all hand bearing G.P.S and extra batteries, ships E.P.I.R.B. which is normally fixed somewhere, all handheld V.H.F. radios as flares are usually not spotted responded to by passing vessels in the middle of the ocean, celestial navigation tables, emergency water container / s with landyard throwing rope, normally lashed somewhere on deck , in a plastic 20 LT container, plastic because plastic when fit is full still floats in water, and anything else which may be useful.
19. Do you have an emergency water (min 20 litres) container / s stowed on decks?
Water should be stowed in plastic containers as plastic containers always float even when full. Have a double throw line attached for use at all times. Same for fuel.
20. Do you have an emergency fuel container (min 20 litres) stowed on decks and / or an emergency tank that can be switched to?
21. Will there be at least one person on board that has been off shore before? It is a mandatory requirement in the country that I reside in, for a vessel departing on an off shore passage. There have been numerous instances where Crewmembers have gone completely mental once they loose sight of land when there has not been any body on board that has completed an off shore passage. It is considered more than a reasonable safety precaution by enforcing agencies, maritime authorities or appropriate regulatory bodies.
22. Does the vessel have a spray dodger or biminni? It is no fun if you are doing a watch and it is 0300 hrs, blowing 30 knts plus with heavy rain and the vessel does not have a protected helming station. Like wise if it is a cloud less day in the blazing sun.
23. What lightning strike protection does the vessel have? If none chain can be made up to wrap around chain plates / stays, back stays, D shackled and dangled over the sides to the water allowing enough for the lean of the vessel on the windward side. May not be suitable on backstays if S.S.B aerial with insulating cups are in place. Plastic covers to protect marking the sides of the vessel can be added and advisable.
24. Does the vessel have top operating handle and / or self-tailing winches? Do they have spare handles.
25. Does the vessel have a radar reflector mounted in a position at least 20 ft above deck?
26. Does the vessel have a manual operated hand bilge pump securely fitted, on deck or in the cockpit and operable with companionways and hatches shut with a pumping rating of a minimum of 25 gals per minute? (Handles should have its own pocket or cradle for storage.) Is there a spare handle? An additional one installed below decks is also recommended. Check to see if it actually works. One boat - a charter boat did not have connecting a hose into bilge or a handle. It was just there to get a tick by the inspector.
27. What experience does the Owner-Skipper / Captain have and how many ocean going passages has he / she done, where, when and how many miles for each passage? Sailing in unprotected waters over long periods of time is far different and more demanding than day sailing in protected waters, where one can run for shelter or anchor over night. Donít automatically assume if the Skipper / Captain holds maritime documents the Skipper / Captain will be
competent and all will be well with the passage and all on board. Ask the captain does he have medical expertise, advanced first aid qualifications - can do CPR and has detils and sources to directly contact by SSB or or SAt phone with medical organisations should a life threatening situation on board eventuate. There are organizations internationally and regional
ly that provide such marine medical advice. If non off these are available the don't sign a cart blanc agreement that he has the authority to what he can do as a unqualified, non trained medical personel to try and keep you alive. He in all probablity will cause your death rather than save you and if you have signed a disclaimer releasr - well large legal bills for your trustees if they can afford it.
28. Ask for references that can are verifiable not only by e-mail but by phone or fax. Check and verify the authenticity of maritime documents and references. If they canít produce these this can be an indication the Skipper / Captain is incompetent, they are false or has a superior attitude towards crew and requires further investigation. Donít rely on your instincts or personal judgments. Ask what are the worst conditions he / she has sailed in, how many times, for how long and when?
29. Ask how many other experienced crew is going to be on board? If the
Owner / Skipper / Captain is the only experienced person on board there will be problems on the passage. The Owner / Skipper / Captain has to go to sleep some time. Just because he is the owner donít assume he is experienced enough to be the Skipper. Some owners think just because they are the owner they automatically qualify to be the Skipper. Someone experienced has to be on the helm in a majority of tough situations / conditions particularly when sailing off the wind at 165 / 170 degrees of wind angle and who is going to handle / carry out the manual operations of the vessel that invariably occur in these situations. All too often you will see crew wanted notices advertising for a number of crew, no experience required, compatibility is more important. This is because they are usually asking for a payment towards expenses and for you to provide for your own travel costs to and from the vessel. Most experienced crewmembers usually do not contribute towards expenses or travel costs. In a majority of cases they are advertising for novices or no experience needed because their vessels do not measure up to the safety standards that experienced sailors expect and coupled with the above statements regarding contribution towards costs and travel, they know only to well they would not get any experienced punters to board their vessels. Hence the targeting of novices. In addition, what if the skipper falls over board or gets sick or seriously injures himself. Suddenly the novices are in command! Suddenly, you need to know the basics of how to run the boat, how to use the electronic equipment, how to use and operate the emergency equipment, what to do in case of trouble. You join these vessels at your own peril. To go offshore, one has to have considerable courage; it takes a lot of mental tossing and turning to actually sail away and see a city disappear behind you and the witness the entire horizon become one of only sea, thatís is the extreme, incredible, extraordinary feeling one gets and it does take a lot of courage the first time to do that. Youíre leaving behind the telephone booths, friends, fun parlors, acquaintances, and possibly people you tolerate, you donít realize how much you they mean to you until you get out offshore and you have only the people within the immediate vicinity for social intercourse. You canít run to Mum, you canít jump on the phone to friends or complain to the police. If you got a stomach complaint you canít run off to the doctor, you canít call for an ambulance, you canít call the fire brigade; if you are thirsty, and you canít head off to the nearest store or dairy for a energy drink. You just canít get off, and that takes a lot of adjustment, particularly on your first trip / passage.
Your first trip is always the worst and you swear youíll never go back to sea again, but you do --- it sort of gets into your blood and the sacrifices that youíve made are more than compensated by nature, beauty. If you are a land lover, most of your home is decorated with framed pictures or photographs, 50 per cent of them would probably be landscapes or environmental. The beauty of being on the ocean is that every night, every morning and every day you have one big picture that is not framed ---- 360 degrees of the entire horizon, and then itís changing every second --- sunsets, sunrises, cloud formations dancing before your very eyes, birds gliding, whales and dolphins breaking the surface of the sea, -- with incredible colours, all together with peace and tranquility. Itís like renting a picture to hang on your wall but they are coming and changing them every 6 minutes. That more than compensates for what you have left behind pollution free. Plus there is the adrenalin rush and the sense of adventure and doing something the ancient mariners used to do --- going out and discovering new peoples, new cultures and customs --- it sounds like a dream and fantastic. Itís like every dream: it does not come easy. There are sacrifices and certain suffering you go through to enjoy that. You must be flexible and not have a closed mind. Life at sea is one big compromise - everything is a compromise, so if you have not learnt the art of compromising --- Forget it.
Any crew agreement you sign that states you are responsible for your own travel costs and requires you to contribute towards expenses / food / costs, and has a liability disclaimer clause, the signed agreement does not override any countries maritime, immigration, Statutory laws or international treaties / regulations. Once you have signed any agreement that clearly states that your position on board is one of being a crew member then under most maritime laws anywhere, you have been declared as a bonafide crew member by the master / skipper of such vessel. From the moment the skipper decides to set sail, it is the skipperís entire, sole and inescapable responsibility to ensure that all the necessary safety / health / and well being precautions whatsoever are / have been taken in respect of themselves, all crew / persons on board and for the vessel. If you accept to providing your own travel costs donít hand over your travel documents, tickets or what ever to the skipper, under the false statements by some skippers, that the foreign authorities require him at a moments notice to produce same. In most countries they require the Skipper / Owner to sign a document which acknowledges that he (the Skipper / Owner) is liable for all costs, debts, fees, charges, fines, expenses incurred by himself or any crew member on the crew list when entering a port and during their stay in such country, before entry permits / visas are granted to anyone on board. This includes medical costs of any description, broken laws or local customs. They never ask to see travel documents out of the country or medical insurance documents when you are entering their country. Also in some countries, maritime laws / regulations, clearly state any crewmember contributing towards food / expenses, is not a expense sharing and as a paying passenger and designates the vessel to be a commercial vessel. This also puts the vessels insurances in another category. A lot of countries have loose wording, allowing shared expenses as being acceptable for the vessel / craft to remain as a private pleasure craft within there maritime laws providing the owner is on board. However what is the definition of shared expenses? Is a portion off the annual marine insurance for the vessel, anti fouling, general maintenance, replacement depreciated parts and repairs, fuel and oil, which they will / have / incurred anyway for their own presence off being or doing the passage [The owners] and such expenses are incurred without you being on board any way, could be deemed not to be shared expenses. Shared expenses to my mind are additional and over and above expenses that would have been incurred. If the Owner claims for a mishap / damage to his vessel under pleaser craft insurance policy conditions whilst paying crew members are on board and the owner is not on board, in these countries in all probability it is a fraudulent insurance claim if this was not disclosed on the application for insurance. There usually is a wording in the insurance proposal - will there be any persons carried and or on board for hire, reward, or gain. There is also a stipulation that the proposor must declare all relevant information in order that the insurer can correctly classifiy the designation / policy cover / conditions the vessel will be granted. Alot answer no to this question, which is fraudulet and if they claim a do don't declare that they contributing fees / monies for persons on board then they are defrauding the insurance company. Or Cheats to put another way. This could also apply even if the owner is on board. Itís only a matter of time before investigators start checking crew memberís conditions for being on board pleasure craft vessels in such instances and asking for a copy of individual crew members crewing agreements and interviewing crew members to reduce claims and catch the cheats. Itís only when the Skipper / Owner applies to have any body to sign of the crew list that the appropriate authorities demand the skipper to provide valid travel documents out of the country for such people, or post a bond, posting a bond is usually a open signed credit card voucher is zapped and kept - hence no money - and is destroyed when the ship leaves port with every body on board, if asked why adding clearly, you brought them into our country, itís your responsibility to get them out off our country. If he does not, then signing of registration cannot and will not happen and a clearance certificate will not be issued. Accordingly the vessel cannot leave port. So if you think the Skipper has unjustifiable requested you to leave the vessel, and in addition, such action is going to cause you / burden you with non budgeted additional payments, stress, inconvenience you have a remedy already in place plan B if you decide to leave the vessel. The skipper / owner pays and you cash in your own tickets as compensation. In some countries it is a distinct advantage for a crew member to have a signed crew agreement, French territories is one that comes to mind. [ If you are at sea when you are advised that you will be leaving the vessel at a port earlier than a port you have previously agreed to by the Captain, with no transport costs provided, then just refuse to hand over your passport, donít agree to obtaining a visa and advise the authorities you do not wish to enter their teritory and you are prepared to place your passport with the police station and you will be applying for deportation back to your homeland. The authorities in these circumstances will stipulate to the captain that a airfare out of the country to your homeland must be provided for you or the vessel must leave port with all crew on board within a certain time frame. Usually within 24 hours. ] When my travel costs are being paid for, it is reasonable for the Skipper / Owner to hang onto copies provided I witness them and I get to hold the originals. Owners / Captains are guarded regarding these regulations and there implications. Donít abuse the use off this knowledge. Conversely understand the thought process off a Captain entering a foreign port with a casino ashore and one off his crew members has a known / not known, gambling problem or drink problem. The captain is liable if you lose 20,000 dollars at the casino and you can't pay or if you are prosecuted for drunk driving fined and in addition wrote the vehile off in a accident, hence no insurance. It does happen. If you do sign a crew agreement, obtain two copies of it for your reference and possibly insurance investigators.
Some crewing agreements put the onus on the crew-member that they have satisfied themselves as to the safety of the vessel, the competency of the skipper / captain and incorporate such clauses; in addition, disclaimer clauses for negligence are included. Below are two typical US clauses you may come across,
© October 2013
(1) °įThe skipper hereby declares their belief that the boat is properly equipped and prepared for the planned voyage, and that they are fully competent to manage, alone or with crew. THEY invite the crew to test this statement in any way they wish - by their own inquiries and judgment, or with the help of others. When you sign this you agree that you have fully investigated and found that the boat is properly equipped and that the skipper is capable, fit and competent.
(2) I or my heirs, next of kin, legal representatives, successors and signs, and in consideration of the acceptance as a crew-member of the yacht _____________, do hereby waive any and all claims which I may have against ____________, or any other duly qualified and authorized captain appointed by him, arising out of, or in any way connected with, my participation as a members of the crew of the yacht, and understand and agree that, as a member of the crew of said yacht, I have no recourse or claims of any kind against __________________, and shall hold them harmless against all consequences of my participation as a crew member aboard the yacht.
Now if you are a novice, never participated in an off shore passage, never been sailing before, never sailed on the vessel or with the skipper / captain prior to signing such an agreement, the mind boggles to legal arguments that will transpire, could transpire or should transpire. If the Captain has not been offshore before. Donít sign such agreements under any circumstances
even if it means they donít take you on board; there is always the next boat around the corner. If you decide to pay your own travel costs to join a vessel of your choosing, you run the risk that when you arrive at the designated port someone has been having you on and no such vessel can be found or the Owner / Skipper has signed another crew person on in your place, that has fronted the vessel in person whilst you are in the process of traveling to such vessel. THESE SITUATIONS DO OCCUR. JUST READ SOME OF THE FORUMS. Additionally as I have determined from website forums, he / she states his / her girlfriend / boyfriend has decided to return to the relationship with him / her and states that you have to leave the vessel after only being on board for a day or so. Usually female crew. Accordingly to protect yourself with some form of redress you should have faxed an agreement for the person, owner / skipper to sign stating / acknowledging liability / reimbursement of such travel costs in the event of them stating you must leave the vessel within 30 days of arriving at the vessel, faxed back to you before you book and pay for such travel costs. If they refuse to sign such an agreement you donít travel. Here is a sample
of a possible agreement
© OCTOBER 2013
Joining vessel travel costs agreement:
Between. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°* °*°*°*°*°*°*
Residential address.°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°* °*°*°*°*
Passport No. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*
Issuing country. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*.
Name. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°* °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*.
Residential address. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°* °*
Position. Owner / Captain.
Passport No. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*..
Issuing country. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*
I captain / Owner of the said vessel °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*..
Registered at the port of. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*.. and on the Boat /
Ships registry of ®C country °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*.. herby agree
that I shall compensate in full all travel costs incurred by °*°*°*°*°*°*°*..
°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°* °*°*°*in arriving at the
said vessel.°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°* at the Port off°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*
should I decide for whatever reason his / her crew position offered is no
longer available / vacant within 30 days from the date of arrival in person
at the said vessel, at the Port of. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*
Signed. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*. Captain / Owner
Residential address. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°* °*°*..
Phone No. °*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*.
© OCTOBER 2013
30. Ask if they are going to provide you with a PFD SOSPENDERS type, manual or hydrostatic inflatable lifejacket combined safety harness with lifeline (tether) that has double clips (snap hooks) and has a crotch strap. Make sure it is at least USCG approved type1 with a minimum of 35lbs buoyancy rating,
In addition make sure there are some spare rearming kits on board for auto
Type inflating PFDís Donít accept life jackets. Hydrostatic fired PFDís make auto Inflating typeís out of date and a thing of the past. Hydrostatic fire when submerged in 10 cm of water, donít fire when wet, in rain, dampness, humidity, from spray, and only need servicing every 5 years unless fired, have a easy viewed inspection panel for you to see the state the firing mechanism is in.
Donít have standard type lifejackets.
Nobody wears them when sailing as they are to restricting & bulky, as was
evident in the Sydney to Hobart Race 1998.
31. Does the vessel have softwood plugs and securely attached adjacent to each skin fitting, to enable any through hull fitting to be closed off, should the skin fitting fail, with spares on board. This also applies to plastic logs and otherthrough hull fittings such as navigation apparatus.
32. Are the vessels skin fittings hoses clamped with double hose clamps or are they crimped? Either is satisfactory.
33. Does the vessel have an offshore rated medical kit and manuals? It is not necessary for you to take your own medical kit except for your own medical condition. As mentioned the Captain is liable for your safety and well being. Space in your bags is at a premium. By all means have a packet of band aids / sticking plasters as the off shore medical kit is usually in a difficult place to get at and also a nightmare to open and find what you require in a short space of time. If you have first aid skills / qualifications, C.P.R. ect or other medical skills let it be known or advertise them on crewing web sites. The one fear all Skippers / Captains have is a major injury on board during a passage and not being able to cope with such by him self. A radio operatorís license in addition would almost guarantee a place on board. With both off these you should be free on board, drinks and food ashore paid for if there is nobody else on board, even the captain, with these skills. This would allow you to communicate by the shipís radio whilst the Skipper controlled the rest of the vessel.
34. Does the vessel have an emergency tiller or secondary steering device?
Does it work
35. Does the vessel have a minimum of five fire extinguishers and a fire blanket? Are they serviced in date and ready to activate and not rusty.
36. Does the vessel have a large set of bolt cutters at least 4ft in length?
37. Does the vessel have a depth sounder? Does it work. Has it recently been calibrated.
38. Does the vessel have at least one handheld VHF radio and charger and / or alternative power source?
39. Does the vessel have storm sails or a 4-reef main?
40. Are the gas bottles fitted with a VR1 Solenoid safety Valve & regulator? How old are the gas bottles and when where they last pressure tested.
41. Is there a gas detector (LPG) with automatic shut off sensor, self test
capability in the galley and a Fume detector, for petrol installed motors or generators,
installed in the appropriate places, if such fuels are used on the vessel?
I look forward to responses.
© OCTOBER 2013