THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON GYMMARINE.COM
Keeping your boss’ yacht clean and sparkling is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs on the high seas. It becomes an obsession and a passion for many yacht crew; for whom cleaning has become a form of art.
Of course, none of this would be possible without some of the handy products and accessories which we bring onboard by the crate-load to assist us in our work, and make our lives easier. But when you tell your friends and family on land about how they need to toothpick their kitchens, they give you a look like you’ve gone totally crazy. Heres a few of the key items cherished onboard, which no one but a yachtie would understand.
It smells awful and its only common use in life is on chips, but vinegar rules the roost on yachts- where it is liberally spread about the boat on countless cloths, chamois’ and in spray bottles. Pour it, dilute it and you’re good to go; isn’t it ironic that it’s used to get rid of salt though when Walkers/Lays seem to pair it so well with the stuff in their bags of crisps…
2. Cotton Buds
Traditionally used for removing surplus earwax, these little guys are stewardesses’ best friends. For cleaning those hard-to-reach spots underneath the lamp shade, or in the corner of the cabin where the ceiling meets the wall- cotton buds are a staple in the interior cleaning cupboard on a yacht. You do have to wonder whether Johnson & Johnson even realize the sheer volume of sales they make to the superyacht industry. Soon you bet they’ll come up with a yacht-specific model for extra absorption of minute dust particles and bump up the price by 50%.
On the famous tubular Absorber box they extort the virtues of the legendary chamois in such applications as automotive and dog grooming. Seriously?? Can any of you deckies actually imagine applying blue-betty from the bridge-deck cleaning locker to the mottled fur of a mangy Labrador or malting retriever? Thought not. Move over Fido- the chamois is the exterior crew’s best friend. Use it for absolutely anything, especially on motor yachts where if you can see a surface on the boat then it will need to be chamois’d more often than imaginable. Live it. Love it. Its your life now.
4. Bag for Life
Chances are that your chef has a locker somewhere on the boat that when opened unleashes an avalanche of those sturdy Carrefour bags that usually signal the arrival of provisions just at the wrong moment when you’ve just started lunch or 2-parting the teak. Shopping with a yacht chef is like watching an artist at work- each of those thick plastic bags with the irritatingly abrasive green handles will be packed militarily, in order that each food group is together on arrival at the yacht for easy stowage. It’s rumoured that male chefs use their supermarket checkout skills to flirt with women in the queue, who are simply amazed at their organisation and precision despite their sex…
5. Terrible Mobile Phones
You did a yard period in Italy after the Caribbean season, and then headed back to Antibes to get the boat ready before chartering out of Palma until suddenly the boss decided to take you to Turkey. Subsequently you own more mobile phones than an entire town in the 80s, and two of them even boast colour screens! Your parents go berserk because they cant ever work out which number to phone you on, and your crew mates just can’t get hold of you on a night out when you’ve snuck off to be sick in the harbour. Telecoms just simply isn’t suited to yachting at all…
For cleaning out the cracks between the floorboards. You interior lot have a wealth of toothpicks in your yacht’s cleaning locker that if you had the time between charters could probably comfortably be used to erect a small garden shed with the help of PVA glue. Still, they’re pretty useful aren’t they, especially when the owner seems to have a habit of inspecting the inside edges of the picture frames so often…
7. Blue Tape
Undoubtedly the most sought after product on the yacht. The deckies need it for painting and varnishing, the stews use it for laundry marking and taping up the dayhead door to stop the engineer going in; the chef likes to use it to label the weekend food and the engineer finds numerous applications for it in making ‘temporary’ fixes. Ever made a blue tape ball? It will drive your first mate mad but I’ve seen them as big as your head following a particularly large paint job. Its entirely plausible that if blue tape was banned 80% of yachts would sink immediately.
8. Multiplug adapters
Your macbook you bought in Fort Lauderdale, iPhone in St Maarten after its predecessor took a plunge, camera in the UK and Kindle from Cape Town. So many plugs, so little time. Cue the multi adapter- savior of charging dilemmas! Never has one rushed airport purchase proved such good value. Someone will invariably steal it mid-season though and you’re back to square one. Buy 4. Or 10. Go wild.
Old kids t shirts ripped up and packaged and resold for an outrageous amount of money for what is essentially rubbish- who are these rag barons and how do we get a slice? Rags are used outside for polishing the stainless, and then put through the laundry and arrive folded and pressed with your uniform in the mornings. Again, these are part of the critical workings of your yacht, and can’t be lived without. Running out of rags mid-charter is every bosun’s worst nightmare.
Deckhands- you just have to learn to accept that you will lose up to ten pairs a season. Stop buying the expensive polarized ones- they’ll just end up in the sea. If greenpeace find out about the sheer volume of deckhands sunglasses littering the seabed they’ll probably start forcibly boarding yachts and confiscating the damn things. Buy them in bulk and your season should go smoothly.