Basic Knowledge of the Life on a Yacht

When we talk about "life on a yacht", we talk about all aspects of functions on board at sea, in a port, and cruising.

Crews Quarters:
The area where the crew lives on board a yacht is referred to as the crews quarters.
This includes crew cabins and crew mess where the crew eat, relax and watch TV etc. (The Captain's cabin is usually next to the bridge).
Often in the crew area the laundry, galley and storage areas are all close by.
Depending on the size of the boat there may be two galleys one for the guests and one for the crew.
When you live on board a yacht you would share a cabin with another crew member as space is always at a premium.

Basic Crew Rules / Etiquette:
The crew lives in small confined areas which can be difficult when you are sharing such small living areas with a lot of people.
Therefore there are always rules to be followed.
The crew needs to be considerate of each other privacy is of a minimum as the cabins are so close together, so things like respecting your neighbour with a blaring stereo is always a big consideration.
Clearing up after yourself in the crew mess area and not leaving any personal belongings around the mess. Your cabin is your space.
Making your bed daily is expected when you live on board a yacht often there are cabin inspections by the Captain or First Mate to ensure your cabin is kept clean and tidy.
The crew mess is organised, cleaned, stocked and set up for crew meals by the interior department (steward/stewardess ) and/or the watch keeper.
This includes ensuring that there is enough tea, coffee, sugar, milk, biscuits, fruit etc for the crew.
The crew mess is cleaned daily after each meal and usually each morning it has a detailed clean including dust, vacuum, stocking of crew drink fridges.

The Reasons for Going to Sea:
There are many reasons for going to sea, it may be to move to another port or place for maintenance reasons, to collect the owner and his guests or charter guests, to travel to another country for seasonal cruising with owner / guests, or for part of a cruising plan delivering the yacht to another country or port.
Before going to sea the Captain or First Officer/Mate will give the crew notice of the cruising plans, this may be done by a crew meeting or a schedule on the crew notice board.
This includes ETA / ETD (estimated time of departure/arrival).
Other information given may be any information about the cruising plan and destination, travel time, weather, etc.

All the different crew departments have various responsibilities before the yacht can go to sea.
The Captain has prepared his navigational plan.
The Engineer will be busy starting the generator(s) and the main engines, disconnecting the shore power cable, the phone cable,water hose etc...
The Chef will be organising his galley department.
The Deck department will be busy preparing the lines, fenders and anchor, securing the tenders and all deck areas.
The stewardesses are responsible for the stowing of the interior to ensure that any loose items are fixed down like:
- guest area lighting, security checks of doors, glass shower doors, wardrobe lighting, lamps, irons to be turned off and disconnected.
- pantry, dry store secured, getting rid of rubbish…

- Provisioning for drinks, cleaning, and crew foods
- Estimate the figures of amounts needed to provision using the per head ratio, for laundry liquid, water sodas, etc...

Arrival to port or other Country:
- Paperwork: the captain must get ready the crew list, passenger list if any, all passports and any other paper required by the customs.
- Only when you got the clearance and permission from the customs or the yacht agent, you will be able to leave the yacht. Usually, the passports are always held by the captain for practical reason.

Fire Drill & Safety on Board:
- Locking of doors and hatches at night.
- Turning off unnecessary lights.
- Disposing of rubbish safely – broken glasses, cigarettes.
- Irons and lamps unplugged at sea.
- Auto lights in wardrobes and cupboards closed properly and ensuring no clothing near them.
- Deck shoes on deck during any manoeuvre, when climbing stairs facing the stairs always hold handrail.
- Doors and cupboards on safety catches...
This list is obviously longer and adapted to the yacht and your common sense.

- Always report any alarm ringing.
- Learn where all the extinguishers are situated on board.
- Always show guests where their lifejackets are stored.
- Always remain calm.
- On each yacht there must be a "Fire Alarm" procedure with a duties and reaction list for all crew members, same for "Man over Board", "Abandon ship",

This list is obviously longer, and adapted to the yacht, if the yacht is commercial, she must comply with strict regulations.