Top Ten Return Questions To Ask During A Yacht Interview

It’s always an awkward moment when the captain turns to you at the end of an interview and asks if you have any questions of your own that you might like to ask. Don’t stress. The General Alarm has got you covered. Just print out the below and read the questions off when the appropriate time arises. You’re welcome.

  1. Where’d you get this number?

  2. Do you love, really love, or absolutely love, the movie The Life Aquatic?

  3. When you say ‘dry boat,’ precisely which part of the boat are you referring to? Can you show me on the fire plan?

  4. A) Do you have a cash cannon?cash_cannon
    B) If not, then how specifically do you make it rain?

    C) If yes then what is the point of this interview? I accept the position and would like my retainer paid in single notes fired at my face starting now.

  5. Does the owner refer to his or herself in the third person?

  6. Do you like big boats and you cannot lie?

  7. What’s your policy on surfing during work hours: for, or very for?

  8. How many weeks do I have to be onboard before I’m allowed to sleep in the master cabin?

  9. My pet penguin only eats Chilean shrimp, lightly battered with a squeeze of Tahitian lime. Will this be a problem?
    pet penguin
  10. When do I start?

Helpful Chief Mate Includes Hiding Places For Working Hungover In Familiarization Tour

Danger never rests. Neither do hangovers.

“And here on the left we have a linen closet that I’m pretty sure the captain doesn’t know exists,” says Jimmy Goodlife, chief mate on the M/Y It’s A Living, as he gestures expansively towards a false wall panel that pops open when pressed, revealing a personal reality-escape pod disguised as stacked bedding. “In an emergency, such as needing a two-hour nap one hour into the workday, simply move the contents of shelves three and four up to shelves one and two, climb in, curl up in the fetal position, and try not to snore.”

Newly joined stewardess Sarah Diamond takes this in with a mixture of fear that this is some form of trap, and genuine gratitude for such highly prized information.

“Is this a trap?” She asks, being from Australia and not one to hold back.

Jimmy looks surprised. “I beg your pardon. There are no traps on the familiarization tour. I take this very seriously.”

“Then why does your coffee smell like jäger?”


“Why are you wearing sunglasses inside?”

“I’m not.”

“You clearly are.”

“Lets move on. I still have to show you how to get onboard when you’re too intoxicated to enter the door code and how to make a toasty at three in the morning without the chef knowing you’ve been in the galley.”

Sarah trails behind Jimmy as he ricochets down a darkened corridor, protecting his ‘coffee’ like its a newborn baby with a strange German name. While initially undecided now she is sure: she’s going to like it around here. 



Stupid Effing Ice Machine About To Cop All Of Engineer’s General Frustrations With Life


Our unlimited budget allowed us to cast Channing Tatum as the disgruntled engineer.

“You think it’s funny?” Chief Engineer Dan George, of the M/Y Why Me, quietly asks the main saloon bar’s ice machine, better known amongst the crew as That Fucking Piece Of Shit. The ice machine just looks cheekily back, drooling tepid water from its front lip all over the marble floor and threatening to ruin everything.

“It isn’t. It isn’t fucking funny at all you little piece of shit,” Dan whispers angrily, applying a spanner to a frozen valve with unnecessary force. 

“Third bloody time this bloody week. You had one job ice machine. Hint: It is in your fucking name. We don’t call you the spill machine now do we? No. So why the fuck do you only make spills?”

An awkward silence fills the room. Dan works, rough and loose, pulling pipes, opening panels, throwing the odd jab to the kidneys, if ice machines had kidneys. A steady stream of swears issue forth from under his breath. His radio crackles.

“Dan Dan.”

Reaching maximum pissation now, Dan gives his radio a look so dark it actually answers for him. 

“Yeah Dan here.”

“Boss is awake,” says the chief stew, using her vast resources of good cheer to be abominably irritating. “He says the toilet’s backed up, steam shower has no steam, and the outlet by his bed isn’t charging his phone as fast as the one in the office. Also wants to know if we can run the boat on solar power and how buoyancy works. He’s waiting in the sky lounge. Ta.”

Dan’s radio runs and hides. A storm cloud gathers above the engineer’s head, bolts of lightning forking out over the bar he’s working behind. Outside the birds stop singing. The Word Of The Day board in the crew mess switches itself from ‘yuletide’ to ‘homicide.’

And it is right then, with impeccable timing, that the ice machine chooses to expectorate a gob of watery sludge from deep within its pipework. The mouldy wad fragments as it hits Dan’s face, creating a blast pattern of gross shit that encompasses all of the engineer’s upper body. Some of it goes in his mouth.

Dan blinks. 

He blinks again.

He then gently reaches out to close the hatch on the ice machine. His hand lingers, almost lovingly, on the injection-molded plastic door. And then, suddenly and without warning, he begins punching the shit out of the broken appliance.

He hits for the frustration of not having the budget to just get a goddamned new ice machine. For the fact the internet is never fast enough to talk to the girlfriend he’s pretty sure is about to walk on him (third this year). For there always being onions in everything the chef makes and goddammit he hates onions how many times does he have to say it? For low rates of interest on his savings, no raise in three years, should look for a new job but he needs to upgrade his ticket. For the teacher who said he wouldn’t amount to anything and now look. For endless routine maintenance. For worklists, yardlists, and mystery lists to port. For mouthy crew, micromanaging captains, unappreciative owners, dogs on boats, and rainy days-off. And in the end, not even thinking anymore, he just punches for the searing, endless, morbid difficulty of existence. 

The ice machine is a wreck. It looks like it fell out of a plane. Breathing heavily Dan packs his tools away, and exits the main saloon. He passes through the lower pantry, and letting out a deep sigh he glances into the galley where the chef is smashing the shit out of a piece of meat that has long since moved from ‘tenderized’ to ‘pulverized.’ They exchange grim looks. 

“Drinks tonight?”

“Oh you betcha.”



What Yacht Crew Most Hate To Hear, Continued

IMG_0241With interest having been renewed in the original post on this subject, it seems like the time has come to float out a few more of the things yacht crew most hate to hear:

“It’s going to be a little rough.” When the last time the mate said that it was death on a stick out there and you had to sleep in your immersion suit. Plus you’re a little bit very very hungover.

“No raspberries till Thursday.” When it’s the only grocer on the island talking, it’s Saturday, you’re the chef, the boss doesn’t take nyet for an answer, and your mortgage really needs this job.

“No couples.” When you’re a couple.

“The windlass is making a funny noise.” When you’re the engineer, the funny noise turns out be a screeching like all the demons of Hades, and the windlass was made by an Italian man in a small town in the mountains who has since died and been buried with all the remaining spare parts for his machines.

“I’m pregnant.” When that is not an option.

“Someone has a case of the Monday’s.” When that is the fortieth time that crew member has unironically quoted the movie Office Space without realizing they are casting themselves in the roll of the idiotically friendly co-worker at Cha-Chis. And you can’t explain that because you do in fact have a terminal case of the Mondays and are afraid that if you open your mouth you might chew someone’s nose off.

Crew Member Physically Unable To Stop Saying Hello To People He’s Already Seen 100 Times That Day

11689174_m“I need help,” says bosun Tim O’Leary, standing in the lower pantry of a 50-meter motor yacht, saying hello like a damned fool to every single crew member as they come, and go, and come back again.

“Hey Matt, what’s happening?” He says, assailing the chief engineer as he passes, “Still nothing? Cool. See you in six seconds.” There is no reply. 

Tim suffers from a common syndrome found amongst yacht crew, known as Obnoxiously Repetitive Salutations Disorder, or STFU for short, in which the sufferer is physically unable to stop themselves from greeting people over and over again like a poorly trained parrot with a polite version of Tourette’s.

 “Jo-annabanafofama! Howzit? Ok, still good. Nice. No, no, I don’t have to call you that all the goddamn time.”

“On average I’d say I greet the other crew members over a thousand times a week,” Tim says, shaking his head and looking out to sea, gripping the cap rail tightly to stop himself from greeting this reporter for the fourth time since we stepped out on the side deck to get some air. “I think I have a problem.” 

“Tim has a problem,” his captain confirms immediately when asked. “We’ve spoken about it a number of times, and I can see he’s working on it which is good, but has also led to slightly unnerving situations when he appears silently beside me on the bridge and just waves when I look over at him. And that’s a little weird. I’m hopeful he can get a handle on it. Yes, hi Tim.”



A Yacht Crew’s 13-Step Guide To Surviving St. Maarten


  1. Do not, under any circumstances, go to St. Maarten.
  2. If you absolutely cannot avoid going to St. Maarten, do not leave the boat.
  3. If you cannot avoid leaving the boat, only do so on a weekday, at lunch, in disguise, ideally as a nun, or stray dog. Barring that a chicken costume will have to do.
  4. If you must venture into the open during hours other than these, do not, under any circumstances, drink.
  5. If drinking is unavoidable (i.e.; due to a rare medical necessity such as having come off of a busy charter, or unexpected reunion/birthday/Friday) only drink in moderation.
  6. If you cannot drink in moderation, tie yourself securely to a large friend, and inflate your lifejacket. Whatever you do, do not go over the hill.
  7. If you go over the hill, close your eyes and don’t open them until you you hear someone say, “Welcome back to Isle Del Sol, what boat are you on, and where are your pants?”
  8. If the answers to these questions are beyond your reach – or are very complicated – tell the security guard your favourite movie as an answer to both queries, and hope for the best (Gone With The Wind, or Basic Instinct could work – Titanic, or The Passion Of The Christ may require further explanation.
  9. Once inside the marina, do not fall in the water while attempting to get back onboard your workplace/home.
  10. If you fall in the water follow the steps below until assistance arrives.6990271_orig
  11. Once your life has been saved and the mate has installed you in your bunk, forget everything that happened. This will be the easiest step.
  12. Remain onboard, without going near any windows, portholes, friends, enemies, recording devices, or mirrors, until you depart.
  13. When you next consider going to St. Maarten, return to Step 1.

By Helping Out On Deck, Captain Finds He’s Able To Confuse Everyone And Double The Length Of Time Jobs Take

Aye Aye Captain Sea Scouts from West Kirby seen here aboard Captain Scott's ship the Discovery. June 1952 C2842 - 002
“I’m a hands-on kind of skipper,” Says Capt. Kane, master and commandeer of the M/Y Tri Hard. “Not just when it comes to the ladies, but also when I see the team could use some help taking the rest of the day to do a five-minute job. That’s when I’m not shy about getting up to my elbows in overhauling a perfectly good system that I have very little current knowledge of.”

His specialities include launching the jetskis without the bungs in (“We used to leave those in didn’t we?”); sending the entire deck team on a hopeless mission to find fresh produce on an island with no permanent inhabitants (‘You’ll find something, I know I could’); and entangling the fishing gear in a permanent knot that turns four working rigs into one piece of installation art representing the application of chaos theory, as embodied in monofilament (‘I’m just going to leave these here’).

“I’m not a paper-pusher,” he adds as the chief stewardess quietly loads receipts on the other side of the bridge, whilst dreaming of magnums of rosé and the promised sweet escape of day-off, black-out, binge drinking. “I like to get out of the bridge as much as possible. Or at least just often enough to make the deck team wish I would remain on the bridge.”

His first mate cautiously agrees.

“He’s a team-player, as long as he’s in charge. When there’s a water slide to inflate, you can count on him to be there stepping on people on the radio, connecting the wrong lines to the wrong attachment points, shouting contradictory statements, and generally being four-bars worth of nuisance that no one dares to correct. So yeah. He’s a huge help.” He seems about to add something when the radio squawks. It’s Capt. Kane, summoning the deck team to the aft deck for ‘hose-coiling training.’ The mate drops his sunglasses back down over his eyes, pulls his lips back into a grimace-smile that looks like someone asking if they have any spinach stuck in their teeth, and quietly heads off to the bow.

Number Of Facebook Groups For Yacht Crew Officially Surpasses Total Number Of Yacht Crew.

With the creation of the group Yacht Crew With Peanut Allergies Who Like Long Ear Lobes, at 1715 UTC today, the number of yacht-related associations on Facebook officially surpassed the total number of yachties currently on the water. I Shot The Chef, But I Didn’t Shoot The Deputy – Tips For Survival Onboard The Giggityyachts (closed group) quickly followed. And moments later Winnipeg Yacht Crew went live, which went on to amass 24,384 followers by the end of the working day, despite – or perhaps because of – that city’s sub-zero temperatures, and landlocked locale.

Many crew profess that their social media newsfeeds now entirely consist of job postings for positions they will never ever occupy, apartments in cities they have no need for accommodation in, and tips on how to remove tattoos with red wine.

“And for some reason my mother has also joined all these groups,” said recently hired deckhand John Thebread, of the M/Y Saturation, “and she regularly tags me in posts on them. Which frankly is pretty embarrassing.”

Another crew member, chef Annie, smoking and scrolling through Facebook while crouching inside a garbage bin in St. Barths (“The captain doesn’t know,” she explains, waving a massive cigar) admits the resulting affect of having so many groups is to create an online echo chamber.

“A boat caught fire a couple of weeks ago and I had sixteen different pages share the video at me. It’s fine, of course, when those pages are sharing useful information like the complete bullshit The General Alarm makes up, but I just don’t need to see anybody’s boat burn that many times.” She did go on to admit that she was making crew dinner that evening based on a recipe she had seen on the popular page You’ll Eat It and Like It – Feeding The Crew Sammies And Smackdowns. And that she always loved the towel creations shared on Over-Bored Stewardesses. 


Just A Few Days Left For Yacht Crew To Finish Convincing Themselves They Don’t Give A Shit About Christmas


Billy Bob knows your pain.

“It’s really no big deal,” Says Shannon Stokes, deckhand on the M/Y Always Away, discussing what another Christmas on charter means to him. “I plan on doing the same thing I do every year: pretend I’m perfectly ok with sacrificing my seasonal fun, then on the morning of the 25th casually checking my phone, realizing this sucks, hiding my phone in the bottom of the ocean, and promising I will make this up to myself by getting blackout drunk as soon as this trip is over. Then I’ll duct tape a Santa hat to my head, staple my mouth into a smile, and eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s just not a thing.”

Other crew are more methodical in their approach to being away for Christmas, building up support networks onboard throughout the year, carefully hiding vodka in their work spaces, creating small rock gardens in which to achieve zen, and compiling lists of people willing to tie them to their bunks when this fails and they try to light the Christmas tree on fire while screaming obscenities and wearing festive underwear on their heads.

“I think self-awareness and active introspection is key,” Says Janine Griswold, chef on the S/Y No Days Off. “This year all of us on board are working hard to be mindful of our spiritual well-being as we transit this emotional segment of the calendar together. For myself, I’m confident that through deep breathing, meditation, and careful attention to my inner voice, I can make it to at least 10:00 AM on Christmas morning before I lock myself in the head and tell everyone to make their own goddamn eggs benedict because I need a hug, a spiced rum, and a cigarette in that specific order.” She pauses and brightens as a Christmas carol comes on in the galley we are standing in. “So that’ll be fun!”

As part of The General Alarm’s ongoing commitment to improving the mental health of yacht crew, please feel free to comment below with your feelings about working through the Christmas season, positive or otherwise. “FAAAAAAAAAARK,” is a perfectly acceptable response. Any and all feedback will receive this complimentary seasonal mantra: “It’s just another day, It’s just another day, It’s just another….”