Sunday, June 30, 2013

Size Matters

The tiny ship was tossed
Tugboats are small.

Well, not really. They just seem that way compared to some of the ships that tugboats are always pictured next to.

In reality, tugboats are quite large. 
For example, the boat I currently work on is essentially a 7-bedroom, 2-bathroom, condo with a full sized kitchen, laundry room, full basement, and a balcony (wheelhouse) with stunning ocean views from 50 feet in the air. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Most of the time it is (minus the days you are out in stormy weather getting your brains beat out of your head).

We're gonna need a bigger boat
But if you want to make that expansive floating townhouse seem small, just add one extra guy to the crew.

So, my relief is going to a different boat.
In the year and a half since I transferred from the other crew, onto this crew, this is going to be my third different relief. It would seem that no one wants to work with TPWSNBN. Who knew?

Because my new relief is also new to the company, he has to get three different Captains to verify that he is capable of running his own watch. Since he can’t run his own watch before being verified that he can run his own watch, he gets to ride along with us. This makes him the magical 8th guy on the boat that makes the boat seem that much smaller.

As mentioned before, it’s a 7-bedroom boat. Add one more guy to a seven man crew and you become short one bedroom. Luckily (?), we have bunk beds in two of the rooms. So if you ever want to revert back to your childhood and are craving a chance to sleep in bunk beds again, maybe a job on a tug is for you. Unfortunately, this also means that someone from the regular crew gets displaced from their own room. This is so that the new guy can get up and lay down whenever he has to so that he can show the Captain that he knows what he is doing. In theory. My kids LOVE their bunk bed. My crew, not so much. 
Seriously? A slide?
Now there are 3 things you do on a tugboat.
Eat, sleep, and stand a watch.
We have determined that the sleeping situation is less than optimal. What about eating?

Yeah, that too is screwed up.
The galley is only so big. Essentially, it is big enough for you to get in, eat, and get out. Guys going on-watch want to be able to eat and then get to work. Guys coming off-watch, want to be able to eat and then go to bed.  All it takes is that one extra guy to mess up the balance of people coming and going to create a traffic jam around meal time. It’s like that one car on a two lane road that is going just fast enough so you can’t pass him, but just slow enough to back up everyone behind him. It’s like that. But with food.

This leaves watch standing.
We all have our own job descriptions. The tankermen do their tankerman thing. The wheelhouse guys do the steering the boat thing. And the engineer makes sure the TV works.
Throw that one extra guy into the mix, who doesn’t really have a job description, but is trying to do the job so he can have a job description, but is really just getting in the way and disrupting the normal work load, and you have the trifecta of a BIG boat seeming just way too small.

Seems about right
Hopefully, next hitch it will all be back to normal. Everyone will have their own room. The galley will be back to its normal flow of traffic. And the wheelhouse won’t be as cramped with people tripping over each other. 

Then we can get back to the real issues concerning crew change and the day to day operations of our floating condo.

Early indications lead me to believe that there will be no lack of content for the blog.

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