Check List, Procedures, Training and Experience


You can’t be awake at all times, you can’t do everyone’s job, there has to be some level of accountability and professional self respect onboard. Not to say that some captains and mates don’t do what you say they do, but those are the reasons I have always given junior officers that think they are getting shafted.


Yes, I’ve seen that, a lot. I think that’s the wrong approach and try to avoid shifting blame.

I use night orders, standing order etc to keep everyone on the same page, I use the “Say what you do Do what you say” method.

From Col Boyd, use commanders intent, appreciate what subordinates bring to the table and monitor their work.

If some one can’t hack it or is disrupting ops get rid of them ASAP.


In some companies today this is the most difficult task to accomplish.

I have also noticed that every ship has a fall guy, someone who can’t seem to do anything right. I’ve spent a lot of time thinkig about this and my experience has been that either there are a number of incompetent crew members and one is picked as the fall guy while the others are viewed as more competent than they really are. OR the entire crew is competent including the fall guy yet the rest of the crew finds problems with his work that are often less serious than their own problems.


Deep-sea union shipping the captain still has the authority to discharge for cause (DFC) and we can tell the office who we want back so that’s not really an issue.

The C/E is of absolute critical importance, than the C/M and 1 A/E. If those spots are held by people with technical competence and the willingness and ability to work as a team almost any other problem can be solved.

As far as crew dynamics at a lower level, I let the C/M and 1 A/E take care of that for the most part. If things are on track and being taken care of I don’t worry how exactly the C/M or 1 A/E are getting it done.

On the other hand if the C/M or C/E comes to me with a crew problem, we take care of it

EDIT: I should add that the 2nd and 3rd mate’s performance in the wheelhouse is my direct concern.


I’m in full agreement. I had a captain when I was Chief mate that wanted me to police the wheelhouse as well. Beyond the minor logbook corrections I’ve always thought this was the captains domain.

I also agree that minor issues should be handled by the department heads. If it can’t be smoothed out below decks and I am brought in, it’s getting settled quickly and most likely neither party is going to be happy.


Never good with to many bosses for one task, Captain must control the bridge and then support C/M and C/E for their areas. Checklist are not instructions, they are checklist for the written procedures. The written procedures are like an instruction book for cars or a cook book, you must study a bit before they are any use to you.