One of the keys to good crew relations, in my limited experience, is to be very clear about your expectations, and to be very selective in choosing your crew. Here is the questionaire I provided to each of the crew I selected (from among many applicants) for a recent delivery:
Do you agree that no payments shall be exchanged, neither from me to you for your services as crew, nor from you to me for your ride on the boat (other than perhaps a share in the cost of provisions, as discussed below)?
Are you willing and able to cover your costs for transportation to and from the boat?
How will you get home from the destination point at the end of the trip, whenever that is?
How will you get to departure point at the beginning of the trip?
Are you willing and able to cover your costs for meals out, and to help contribute to the provisioning of the boat? (For example, we might ask each member of the crew to supply the fixings for a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner)
Are you willing and able to help share cooking, clean-up, and other chores?
What are your food and drink preferences? (we'll have to plan out a menu sometime soon)
Do you require coffee? (Nothing wrong with that, I'm just not a coffee drinker myself, although I do take tea and hot cocoa...) Perhaps I should ask, would instant coffee be OK?
Do you smoke? (I would ask you not to)
Do you agree not to bring any illegal drugs aboard the boat?
Do you have medical insurance? If so, please share information about your coverage that might be needed in an emergency (perhaps provide a photocopy of your policy card?)
Are you allergic to anything (food, drugs, bees, etc...)? If so, please indicate specific allergies and types of reactions
Are you taking any medications that we should know about? If so, please indicate types, names, amounts, frequencies and reasons for the medications.
Do you have any physical or medical conditions we should know about? (e.g., diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, heart condition, chronic injury, etc...) If so, please explain, including frequency, severity, and treatment.
Please supply the name of an Emergency Contact Person, their relationship to you, and their contact information (e.g., home, work, cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc...)
Have you reviewed the following documents regarding the boat and her condition?
(survey report, follow-up reports on repairs
and projects, listings of specifications and equipment)
Do you agree to perform your own inspection of the sailboat prior to departure, notify me if you find any condition which you consider to unacceptably hazardous or dangerous, and refuse to go on the trip if said condition is not corrected to your satisfaction? (This may mean that you'll have to get yourself back home again!)
Do you realize that the sailboat is not a luxury yacht by any stretch of the imagination, as the accommodations are "Spartan" at best and many "amenities" non-existent?
Do you recognize that the proposed sailing trip is intended to get from point A to point B as expeditiously as safely and reasonably possible, and is not intended to be a sightseeing pleasure cruise? (Not that we won't see some sites and have some fun along the way...)
Are you willing and able to stand watch on a rotating schedule around the clock, sailing the boat including steering, sail handling, and other chores as necessary?
Do you acknowledge that you understand the nature of this sailing trip, that you are in good health and proper physical condition to participate in this activity?
Have you taken all necessary steps to ensure that you are adequately prepared and appropriately equipped for all possible contingencies, including foul weather gear, sea boots, personal safety equipment, and anti-seasickness medicines such as suggested in the attached document or that a prudent seaman would consider advisable?
Do you fully understand that sailing involves risks and dangers of serious bodily injury, including permanent disability, paralysis, or death (including the possibility of complete loss at sea, never to be recovered)?
FWIW, I will probably ask everybody to sign a liability waiver at some point before we cast off, something like the following:
Risks and Dangers of Sailing
Sailing is an activity that has an inherent risk of damage and injury, including permanent disability, paralysis, or death (including complete loss at sea). Participants in this sailing trip are participating entirely at their own risk. The boat owner, person-in-charge, watch leaders, and other crew will not be responsible for injury to any participant, including death, nor for damages to any participant's property, sustained as a result of participation in this trip. By participating in this trip, each participant agrees to release the boat owner, person-in-charge, watch leaders and other crew from any and all liability associated with such person's participation in this event to the fullest extent permitted by law.
1. For your own safety, and for the good of the ship as a whole, please wear a life-jacket and harness
clipped to jacklines or other strongpoints, when alone on deck, or when on deck and the yacht is reefed, the wind is over 25 knots, the seas higher than 4 feet, or the visibility is less than one mile, and at night. You should bring your own inflatable PFD with integral harness
, equipped with tether, strobe light and whistle (see attached recommendations). You should bring at least one spare CO2 cylinder and actuator to fit your make and model of PFD.
2. The weather may not always be warm and sunny. For your safety, as well as your comfort, you will need to bring Foul Weather Gear including jacket, pants (bib overalls preferable), and boots. This should be proper marine gear, with retro-reflective patches, high-visibility colors, good hood, and non-skid soles.
3. The seas may not always be smooth. For your comfort, as well as your safety, please bring (and use, as necessary) whatever anti-seasickness treatment is most effective for you (some of which may require a prescription from a doctor, e.g. scopolamine patches). Some recommendations are given in the attached document.