How has political correctness changed the industry?

Not saying that anyone would go directly shoreside. But do you think a management level officer is going to be the one who sits on a report? I had a captain who straight up said to us in every monthly crew meeting that if it gets to his level, he’s passing it on to the office period. And I don’t blame him in today’s climate.

Same at my company, but like I said, once it gets above the individuals involved it’s on the fast track to the office (unless it is something just so obviously ridiculous).

Not sure why you and others put the term protected class in quotes as if it’s something I just made up. Just google it if you’re unsure but (as usual) wikipedia sums it up fairly well:

Yeah, but they’ve got that X-card (with ‘X’ being whatever of the protected class they fall into) to throw down when all else fails. “He’s only doing this because I’m ‘X’”. And once that card is played, watch the sphincters tighten up all the way to the wheelhouse and beyond.

This is the bottom line. This hyper sensitive/PC/protected class reality we have now is just that…the reality. I need my job to feed my family so keeping my head down and my mouth shut for 90 days at a time is a small price to pay to keep that intact.

1 Like

I’ve successfully handled a situation that I thought was very serious and scary by only involving the other person and my chief. The captain never heard about it, the office never heard about it. It could have been escalated, and the consequences could have been serious. But you only get to pull that trigger once, and there will be recoil. Reporting that shit is not easy. Even telling my chief wasn’t easy, and he’s a very sweet man. Its not only the person with the bad behaviour who’s at risk. I don’t know if I did the right thing or if I was being a chicken: but in the end, everyone still has their job and no one got hurt.

Another time, there was an attempted rape on-board, between two men in the deck department. Of course no one consulted me on what should have been done, they handled it all among themselves. Another ship there was a case of an officer who was taking advantage of a very young member of the stewards department. What am I going to do if that ever happens between people for whom I am responsible? It keeps me up at night.

I don’t think you are working at one of the exceptions companies concerning running into a protected class. I wouldn’t even call it “protected class” since that implies it’s a large group of people. Maybe call it “protected individuals”? Almost everyone I have worked with are in it to do a job they don’t mind doing, to get a nice sized paycheck & to go home for as long as possible. Every few years I’ll run across a mariner who has a victim mentally looking for a settlement or easy ride but they don’t last long & have never been a licensed officer. From my observation, almost all other incidents involving harassment complaints or inappropriate behavior complaints were justified. I never seen an innocent, straight, white male be fired or written up over false accusations. I’m sure it happens but I’ve never seen it.

I do know this, if a person privately says to themselves, “Here comes another member of a protected class.” every time a chick or black dude walks across the gangplank that person should feel they are walking on eggshells & be very mindfull of every word thats slips across their tongue.

A person in a protected group can be fired, same as anyone, they just can’t be fired solely for being a member of that group. For example a black women can’t be legally fired just for being black or for being a women.

My unlicensed crew typically includes more than 50% minority and I don’t hesitate to fire for cause if it’s justified. I’ve gotten push back a couple times but as long as the firing action is documented correctly it’s not a problem.

It helps to have a reputation for treating everyone fairly and with respect. When I fire someone I follow the script.


Reading this thread has made me glad that my career at sea began and ended when it did as I’m not sure I would make these days as I tend to speak my mind.

One of my stunts from years ago would get me fired on the spot today. I was going through a nasty breakup and was not a great person at that time. I had made up two memos on Company Letter head. One said “Sexual Harassment Will NOT be Tolerated on The Vessel!” The other one said “Never Trust Anything that Bleeds 3 Out of 5 Days and Doesn’t Die!”

We just happened to be at our company dock which was not the norm as we were usually running the coast. SO, I was down below replacing Powerpacks and had been at it for over 18 hours when the phone went off. The Captain informed me the our Female V.P. was in the galley and wanted to see me. So, up I went covered in grease. She points to the memos and said can explain this! So, I tried to explain the menstrual cycle of women as best as I could do. She just about had her mouth hanging open when I said I have work to finish if we are going to make our ETD and went back below. Later the Captain told me that the ONLY reasons that she did not fire me was 1, she knew what I was going through and 2, that I had put up the no harassment memo also. The Captain just about crapped himself when I started laughing. When he asked what was so funny, I asked him if he had read the fine print on that memo. In very fine print it said “However it will be graded for content”.

This was in my younger years and I was with that company for a long time after all this went down. In that time I worked with a bunch of different people and we had our share of Racial and Sexual problems come up. The Captain and I tried to resolve it onboard first but always gave the person making the complaint to option of taking it to the Office First. Some decided to try and handle it onboard and for the most part we could get it worked out.

The only time that I ever went to the office was when my Filipino AE showed me some messages that were left for him by the AE on the other crew. I’ve seen some nasty shit but the Nazi Propaganda that this clown left was way out of hand and I saw no other option so I made that call. The office must have known something as the went so far as to tell me that this guy lived in the same town that I did, which did not make a bit of difference to me and he was fired!


I don’t think anyone who knows me would regard me as politically correct. I am not. I say what I think.
Which does not mean I don’t treat people with respect.
The industry has changed dramatically in the 40 ish years I have been in it. The culture has been quite different in different companies. Not to mention different countries and nationalities of crews.

Some of what I saw, experienced or took part in way back in the day would be unacceptable now. Even so the old UK Merchant Navy. Was a very much more tolerant and accepting place than most of the outside world.

I am still amazed by some of the things I see. Even though the company and union spend a great deal of time educating our people about bullying and harassment. It still goes on.
Excuses I hear.
What happens on the Bridge stays on the Bridge.
What happens in the Engine Room stays in the Engine Room.
What happens on the Ship stays on the Ship
Its only, He’s is just like that.

Bottom line is if you see something and do nothing you are enabling it and are part of the problem.
Its not always easy in fact its hard to speak up.
Even saying this I usually don’t. Although I have on a few occasions when its been really out of line.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. An idea a couple of thousand years old.
Treat others with respect and you will be treated with respect.

Political correctness has go F!@# All to do with it.


I don’t consider myself very religious at all but quote the golden rule at the beginning of every voyage as a base line for how I want the crew of my ship to behave towards each other. This and common sense as the standard operating procedure have served me well over the years.

1 Like