Guidelines Part 1…Appearance & Etiquette!

Welcome onboard,

Get settled in your cabin, you’ll be shown around the ship soon, promptly forgetting most of what you see and are told.
Always carry your small notebook, we all have them, and learn to write down anything you think relevant and can read up on later, or are told to write down. You have a lot to learn quickly, but pace yourself.
Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid question.


Everyone enjoys having cadets onboard; they’re usually good for a laugh, and stop the rest of us oldies talking too much about children, mortgages, gardening or classic cars etc. In these days of reduced manning levels, cadets are useful for doing all the small jobs that need a bit more care and thought than the crew may be capable of, especially safety and fire-fighting gear. The extra jobs when done make a big difference. This does not mean you are here just as another pair of hands, you are here to be trained and to be given the right level of responsibility for your experience.
Show willing and you’ll be shown encouragement.


It is entirely your own responsibility to wash regularly, keeping yourself nice and fresh and clean.
Always have shoes of some sort on your feet, bare feet or socks about the place is dangerous, even flip-flops are better than nothing. but not croc (because you look stupid).
Wear the shoe covers provided please.
There is a modern invention called shoe polish, find out about it and learn to use it regularly. Regular shaving and brushing of hair is actually a good thing, try it. Regular does not mean weekly.
You can have whatever style, length or colour of hair you may wish, but it will be clean. Various metal objects puncturing your body are a danger, not a statement of tribal identity, and can get caught in the mates teeth!
There are 2 laundries, one for clean gear (civi’s) and the other for dirty, do not confuse them please. When you find someone else’s cleaned clothes in the washer, put them in tumble dryer, if empty, and switch it on for an hour. They’ll do the same for you, and then all is sweetness and light. Little touches go a long way when living together.
The messman will wash and iron uniform shirts and boilersuits for you, separately one hopes.
Boilersuits get washed in with the engineers oily ones so will come back grey to you. This service is free, as is use of the laundry. The strange heavy object in the laundry is called an iron, use it.
Proof I found the Laundry at least once!


Actually does exist onboard. Be warned, being at sea is not a very PC sort of world. You are with people of many different ages, backgrounds and views and you can add to the variety as well.
A well-developed sense of humour will help, and keep you sane.
If you make a complete arse of things, you may be bollocked, it is then forgotten, so no sulking afterwards. You’ll not be shouted at as a matter of course, nor treated badly (hopefully), it’s not the army here. Nor is it fairy la la land where everything is discussed first, at great length over camomile tea and cakes, taking account of interpersonal man management skills and other such BS. There is a relaxed system of discipline at sea, discipline is a necessary evil, but think of it as more of a structure to life onboard than anything else. It is also a very closed community here as well, any cock ups will be round the ship quickly enough and add a bit of colour and gossip to our existence.
Try not to learn swear as much as some others on board (rich coming from me) First Sunday dinner back home is so easily spoiled by blurting out “f**kin ‘ell Mum, these spuds are f**kin’ great”. It has, unfortunately, been done.
The Captain is addressed as, unsurprisingly, Captain and the Chief Engineer, Chief. Everyone else will answer to their given names, or nicknames. Write on your boilersuit the name you wish to answer to. Do not be upset if you are referred to as “the cadet” or gadget, even within earshot. This is normal for everybody at times. On here is no such thing as having a day off, lying in or pulling a sickie like ashore. There is very limited medical facilities or (medical) knowledge on board. If you are sick you’ll go ashore to the doctor at the next port. Just hope it’s somewhere at least half civilised. Otherwise the Mate will be happy to don a pair of rubber gloves and have a go.
Try not to be slack in your timekeeping, cleanliness, appearance, work, language or manners please, set an example if necessary, and hopefully embarrass others into improving themselves. Work on board is highly structured, which is not the same as being highly routine, rank does exist and cadets, being the least experienced are at the bottom. In and out of work you are an equal, like in any other job and are entitled to your views and opinions, and do not be intimidated by the often-extreme levels of coarse banter. Give as good as you get and, as in life in general, treat all others as you would like to be treated.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 1:53 pm by The Mariner. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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Comments (1)
  1. Richard says:

    Excellent! 🙂

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