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niv schechter's Blog

Is alcohol a problem in the yachting world?

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Drinking is a social activity that has been around since the jolly days of the pirates. When I first came to the industry I was amazed by the significant role that drinking behavior plays in this industry.

I don’t know any other line of work that it is acceptable to get your job in a pub over a pint (or two or three). In every major yachting centre there is a pub just for yachtys to mingle, get to know other crews and catch up with old friends.

Now I have to make a confession- I’m not much of a drinker myself, I can enjoy one or two beers but I’d rather be hired by my talents and experience than by how well I can burp the abc.

I can really understand how drinking as social behavior can be fun and nice but my personal experience with drunken yachtys wasn’t so great: respectable captains and mates making a fool of themselves, sexual remarks and bar fighting is pretty common (at least in Europe but I presume it’s the same all over).

But maybe I’m missing something; do you think that drinking is a problem or just a harmless hobby in the enclosed world of yachting? I would love to hear your opinions

Someone really needs to make a social study on the yachting world one day…


Hello Niv!

It's really a drinking place!!!

I'm not a drinker myself too! I don't mind, I get allong well, my friends usually stay at latter ours in the pubs than me and it's ok. I like the morning!!!

I disagree with the social studies on the yachting world alltough I agree with statistics.
" ananlize paralise" kind of stuff.

I remember at some point whenn looking for work that there are some dry boats, wich is great, you know drinking and smoking reduces your Chi level, your natural energy, your vibe, your mood even if for some moments it seems to elevate it. A group that lets their chi level to get stable in good mesures it produces great ambients, levels of thought and understanding and, kind of zen, peacefull and easy going ways.

I think that t good work relation doesn't necessary changes wile some people drink. Some Are great captains and fellow crew members aside of drinking or not wile others don't.

Attention , this is not an attack to those who drink or smoke, I've done it for a long time, sometimes I even miss a cigarret. My best friends all drink and probably smoke!!

Drinking feels good, smoking feels good, I just found that Not doing it feels even better!!!

And yes, I agree that drinking Will Allways be connected to Sailing the Oceans!!!

Posted by: Salvador at 18/10/2010 07:51

Your observation is correct. Ive got a friend who owns a pub which yachties frequent . Yachties routinely sit behind his bar and consumes 50 euros worth of drink a night. Night after night. Good for pub owners but a menace for crew.
The daily internal yacht trench warfare and tight living conditions crew endure fuels the problem.
When you're a crew you cant invite your mates over to the yacht on Sunday afternoon, rally around the saloon, chill out and watch the Formula 1 on have to go down to the pub. The pub turns into your space. Once in the pub one thing leads to another and soon if youre not careful all your spare time, chill out time, get the hell out of the trenches and off the yacht time , is spent living in a world of alcohol and drunkenness.
One proven approach to lowering brain cell damage is to completely eliminate the word PINT from your vocabulary....learn to say HALF PINT. Its absolutely certain that as soon as you sit down with your beer in front of the pub wide screen, your mate Stewburner is gonna hit the scene and order up ........ a round of pints !!!. before you know it Bulkhead strolls in and ...another round of pints....and here comes long lost Seagull with a new haircut... and he shouts another round of pints !!!. Your original intention was to watch F1, eat Nachos and relax off the yacht... not drink 4 pints.
I say Go half pint , halves are easier on your brain cells and your bank account... then learn how to report back to the yacht at a responsible hour and always stand well clear of spirits.
Posted by: junior at 18/10/2010 10:38

Drinking and smoking are much more than a social activity for some people; it is a way of life that is both unhealthy and addictive when taken to extremes. Binge drinking is common in yachting and you would have to pretty naïve to think otherwise.
Just ask any marina or shipyard security guard about what they witness and deal with on Friday and Saturday nights.
Stolen electric cars, forklifts, vandalism, physical violence and inappropriate behavior are often the outcome of a big night out, or consecutive nights out when yachties are out to cut loose.
I think people would be very concerned their doctor greeted them with bloodshot eyes, reeking of booze, cigarettes and yet it is perfectly acceptable on some boats to work off a hangover and risk other people’s safety.
The work hard, play hard mantra of yachting yields no positive outcomes in my mind and the concept it’s OK to party all night and wipe your mind blank, so long as you can be on deck on time and put in a full day is ridiculous. (I think if you wake up clueless about the night’s events you probably drank way too much).
Drinking is something I like to do, smoking is not. Either way I don’t care what people do as long as it does not cause problems amongst the crew, reflects badly on the boat or compromises people’s safety.
Posted by: Septic tank at 18/10/2010 11:53

Greetings, it's funny that someone desided to do a study on drinking in the yachtie world, I for one drink and I for think that drinking in the industry shouldn't be a problem ... as long as drinking is left in the hands of the people that can handle it. Otherwise whoever can't handle their drink should stay away from alcohol.
Posted by: Stefan at 18/10/2010 14:32

Ya sure..think like that and your certain to become an Ian'ized statistic
Posted by: junior at 18/10/2010 15:51

yes it is a problem i recently was on a boat that drank way too much and sadly left after 2 weeks all loons!
Posted by: faybion at 18/10/2010 19:32

Coincidentally, Dockwalk has a feature article on this exact topic coming in the November issue, which hits the docks this Friday. Look out for it.
Posted by: Kate Lardy at 18/10/2010 22:16

Thank you for all the comments, I especially liked the one about that the pub is basically the only place that you can get away from the crowded boat for a bit and feel free. It explains a lot. Which leads me to the next thing: in festival time like now days why nobody organize a crew get together or social networking that doesn’t involve drinking like football (the real one), rugby or volleyball tournament instead of the old boring crew parties with free drinks and free food (not that I’m complaining but maybe we need to find some new hobbies to do in our free time) don’t you think?
So dockwalk, what about raising the glove? It can be interesting, new and a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to beat the some of the captains asses…
Posted by: niv schechter at 19/10/2010 00:27

Its up to the crew. Every now and again a crew comes along who is a natural at organizing non drinking events. Its valuable to the yacht for the captain or YOU, the crew, to keep a sharp lookout for one of these natural , social event without booze, organizer types and include them in the yachts crew. I can think of years when Tuesday and thurday night get off the yacht and go bowling was popular with the whole dock because a crew proposed it and kept it organized for a few months during refit time.. One of the reasons why yachty sea school "Classes" are popular is the off the yacht, hanging out with mates without shedding brains cells, aspect of the school environment.
Posted by: junior at 19/10/2010 08:07

And what you say about bar fighting is accurate. I spent yesterday afternoon unblocking a cockpit drain of broken glass. Back in August we came into port alongside a huge motoryacht. Sometime in the early morning the crew of that yacht was returning from a drinking binge, load mouthing it on the dock and a fight broke out... complete with hysteric stewardess screaming..STOP !! STOP !!! , flying drink glasses raining down on my deck and a couple of drunken crew brawling and slugging it out on the dock. That broken cocktail glass brawl wreckage had been stuck deep in the cockpit scupper plumbing ever since.
Posted by: junior at 19/10/2010 08:25

"yes". Just like it is in ANY party industry.
Posted by: EngineerUnlimited at 19/10/2010 16:54

The yachting problem within the drinking industry is pretty small really.
Posted by: Henning at 19/10/2010 19:17

Drinking is fine - in moderation.

In my experience it was so unprofessional and embarrassing when my skipper got drunk and started talking about work; promising pay rises, promotions, redundancies which would be ignored come the next day.

Fine if you go out drinking, keep work seperate, and are able to work 100% the next day.

If not: don't do it.
Posted by: ytm at 19/10/2010 19:36

Hey, all goes with the territory.Easy money,party hard.Maybe you should do a study for the Aussie,Brit,Kiwi military.Cheers I feel a cold bevvy coming on now.
Posted by: RP at 19/10/2010 19:38

Drinking is a big problem . It compromises the safety of every one on board . The drunker crew roll in at all hours inebriated ,believing that they are fine and capable . Three times this past season we have had emergencies caused by drunken crew .
Also remember the crew who drowned in the BVI a last year and the tender accident in Monaco a few weeks ago where another crew man drowned . These arent the only two , there are lots more incidences .
The other problem cropping up is COCAINE
Posted by: Saafrican at 20/10/2010 01:55

Pubs are now for drinking water only.. at least so in the US.. "budweiser".
Funny how we knew the writer was a wench..nothing wrong with wenches of course just that in the men only world of real sailors wenches just can't hold their own.. I for one suggest that new crew must be baptized in whiskey then given a large rag to stuff in their mouths.. while washing down and Ironing my nike shirt.
Posted by: Capt. James T. Kirk at 20/10/2010 03:32

Capt. James T. Kirk,
For someone who's named after a figure from "Star track" I wouldn't call anyone a wench ;) and by the way I have nothing against drinking (or star track), I just don't understand what is so manly about puking and hang over?? But thats just what I think ye?
Posted by: niv at 20/10/2010 04:59

Gee...cocaine use is a whole topic in itself. Crew packed in a small box with to much money. Its rife. This summer I was having an after work beer with the dockmaster in a major Med yacht port. A late arriving 60 meter motoryacht had just docked, the last yacht of the day. The harbormaster secured and checked in the yacht, then return to the cafe....spit'n, mumbling, cursing..... What the hell do these guys think I am...a drug dealer ? the first thing the captain of this yacht asked after check in was....Can you get us some STUFF.....
Posted by: junior at 20/10/2010 08:32

and so whats the plan? ban crew from leaving the boat, or from the watering holes? yeah im sure pub owners would love that!
most of us spend the best part of the year sober and working like mules.. if the crew want to go out on the weekend and spend their hard earned cash on getting absolutely frazzled meet a few girls, loose a shoe and fall in the piss and do it all again the next day.. yeahh why not ..
Its not your money its not your body and its definitely not your life!
Posted by: Wet Chamois at 20/10/2010 19:10

Ive been sailing and drinking for close on 30 years now and have encountered many more accidents caused by stupid and incompetent people than by drunk people. Yes, drinking CAN cause accidents, but stupid people DO cause accidents. As for the health side of things...Well, I bet every one of you knows more people who have died because of causes not directly linked to drinking. As for making a fool of themselves? thats easy, A person who is drunk and makes a fool of themselves(have an excuse) is much more acceptable than a sober person who makes a fool of themselves(no excuse). I agree with Stefan, if you cant handle it or dont like it then change the channel. Seafaring and alcohol have been intrinsically linked since day one because of the peculiar and often dangerous nature of the job(not floating hotels who hop from port to port) and i hope the tradition continues. Yachting and alcohol mix nicely, whereas, idiots and alcohol do not mix at all. A nice follow on from this post could be, ARE IDIOTS A PROBLEM IN THE YACHTING WORLD?
Posted by: Brian at 20/10/2010 19:45

well put
Posted by: keepingitreal at 20/10/2010 23:25

Cheers to Brian.
Posted by: Olive oil at 21/10/2010 03:20

When you work on yachts, you work in the marine industry. The influential people in the marine industry...project managers, yacht builders, marine contractors, brokers, are all shore based and will never sail with you to vet your skills. Marine industry power brokers are observant, control the jobs, and are sensitive to the shore side social behavior of crew they hire or recommend. If you develop a reputation as a party boy who likes to get legless on weekends because ...I can handle it....its my free time, bugger off.... you will be locked out of valuable job introductions. Yachty pubs worldwide are full of fender crew and bottom feeders whose career opportunities were stunted because of their social drinking behavior.
Posted by: junior at 21/10/2010 10:43

Is there a drinking problem in yachting?

Do fish swim?
Posted by: Ned at 21/10/2010 23:20

I for one am so tired this manny pamby, self help book mentality over alcohol. Guess what: there are drunks in every industry. Have you ever hung out with a bunch of business men? Alcohol is genetically and socially ingrained into our culture, there are always idiots that take it too far, and generally inteligent people that have a bad night. Stop pissing and moaning about booze, drink some coffee and do you f$&@ing jobs. If you don't like alcohol then find somebody other than saliors to spend your time with.
Posted by: Drunk right now at 22/10/2010 01:26

"do fish swim"!!!!! That is correct. In everywhere there are abusers, socials and non users, since ever.
I guess this guy makes a perfect definition on the subject. This is probably 15 y old and very actual.
Posted by: Salvador at 23/10/2010 10:40

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