Setting Crew Expectations

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Posted: September 24, 2015

Whether your crew is friends, family, internet acquaintances, or people you meet in exotic places, you’ll have a more pleasant time if you set expectations before you commit to bringing them on board. Here is the list we used on Celebrate and we believe it helped us to have a better crew experience. You can use this list as a basis and modify it to fit your own requirements.

Boat and Crew Expectations

[Start with a paragraph like this one about yourself and the boat so the potential crewperson has a mental framework as to your abilities which will influence overall expectations.]
On our voyage, our overall intent is to maintain a happy boat and have fun while having the boat in good repair. Celebrate has been continuously maintained and updated and is a comfortable, safe sailing vessel. The boat is extensively equipped including safety equipment, a watermaker, generator, ice-maker, etc. which should make the voyage more comfortable. In brief, the Captain, Charlie, and Mate, Cathy, together have 100,000+ miles of sailing experience and Charlie has a USCG Masters’ license.

Celebrate’s happy crew at the Hindu blessing prior to departure from Bali. .

The Boat Will

  • Provide an environment which is as safe and comfortable as reasonably possible for the duration of the passage to the destination
  • Provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for the duration of the voyage (Meals off-boat generally not provided). Crewmember may be responsible for special dietary requirements.
  • Carry additional food to cover unforeseen schedule changes
  • Provide an offshore life vest with tether for each crew-member
  • Unlimited fresh drinking water (unless the watermaker fails)
  • Ice for cold drinks in port or at anchor
  • Limited freshwater for other purposes, (e.g. short hot shower every day)
  • Bunk and linens, towels. (Some people prefer their own towels and/or a sleeping bag)
  • Provide a crew-joining letter from the Captain to help ease immigration procedures (see below)
  • Pay the costs of fuel and cooking gas.
  • Pay any immigration fees to enter destination ports
  • Pay the costs of maintenance and repairs to the boat
  • Provide charts and electronic instrumentation necessary for reasonable offshore navigation
  • Ship-to-shore email via SSB (very limited text-only messaging) via a shared email address
  • Galley with microwave, propane stove, refrigerator, freezer, ice-maker, trash-compactor, etc. for group and individual use

The Crew-Member Will

  • Learn the operation of the boat's engine, sails, instruments, safety and other systems as directed by the Captain.
  • Stand the scheduled watches (with three people aboard: 4 hrs. 2-times daily) with one person on watch. During their time on watch, the crew-member will be solely responsible for the safe operation of the vessel. The Captain will be available for consultation and will handle difficult navigational situations (docking, narrow passages, etc.). The Captain will assign the watch schedule.
  • Wear a life jacket and tether and operate the “Watch Commander” timer as directed.
  • Take appropriate precautions against sea-sickness.
  • Participate in some cooking and galley cleanup as needed
  • Participate in maintaining the boat
  • Arrive at the boat in advance of all scheduled departures
  • Have Travel insurance to cover unforeseen health or other issues
  • Provide own favorite foods in addition to the meals/snacks provided (store in your cabin)
  • Bring entertainments such as books, games, dvds, etc., or we have a selection
  • Not smoke
  • Never be visibly intoxicated
  • Never sleep on watch
  • Maintain their living area and head in a seamanlike (neat and clean) manner
  • Never bring or possess illegal drugs on board
  • Never bring or possess firearms on board
  • Provide all travel expenses including airfare, cab-fare, hotel, etc. to arrive at the boat at the scheduled time and place and return after the voyage
  • Possess a valid Passport and any needed visas for countries visited on voyage (some countries require that a passport be valid for 6 months after entrance)

Crew Joining Letter

For crew joining you in foreign countries, you may wish to provide them with the following letter. Many countries will refuse entry to visitors who do not possess a demonstrable way of leaving again. For a new crewperson arriving by plane, authorities may request to see an outbound plane ticket and this letter may help ease the bureaucracy.

To whom it may concern

I, the undersigned, skipper of the sailing yacht Celebrate, registered in the USA with a Home Port of Seattle, WA, certify that _________ (Name) ____________, passport number ___________________________, is a crew member on the above-mentioned vessel and will be joining the vessel in _________ (Country) _____________. The above-mentioned person will be arriving with only a one way ticket as he will leave _________ (Country) _____________ on board the above-mentioned yacht.

Charles J. Simon
Captain of Sailing Vessel Celebrate

__________ (Date) ___________