Video Series About Working Boats

Only a few video series out there cover life at sea on a working boat. IMO the big-name ones are spoiled by contrived drama and make us look like a bunch of bipolar cowboys. The industry needs to do a better job of showing the public what actually goes on in our closed world. Maybe we can share the series which give a realistic view of our profession here.

Coastal Transportation Inc. has a six-episode series about life on their boats. The first episode came out today on Youtube. A new episode will come out each Wednesday and will cover a typical voyage from start to finish. No contrived drama. No bullshit. Just a glimpse into actual maritime life, from the gritty to the sublime.

Each episode is less than 10 minutes long. About 1/3 of the episode is a cooking show, based on Alaskan seafood. Because the boats haul frozen seafood. And because people like to eat.

If we are interested in attracting young people to work at sea, showing them what the job is actually like is a good way to start.


Thanks that looks good!

In the UK they recently did a TV series following people working on the state owned ferry service in Scotland.

It is 8 x 1 hour episodes. I haven’t watched it yet but it is meant to be good, it has just been commissioned for a second season.

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Only works in UK unfortunately.

Can download from Pirate Bay or EZTV.

Every time I advise my fellow crew members to think twice before sharing any work-related information on the internet. You never know who, when, and for what purpose will misuse improperly edited information.

In the presented video material, you can spot at least a few erroneous and irresponsible behaviors of the crew, and without unnecessary malice:

-lack of safety net around the gangway
-use of selfmade tension lever for fastening cargo lashing
-unsafe crossing over safety railings
-crew members lacking proper PPE, working without helmets, adequate gloves, etc.

Honestly, I don’t understand the company’s policy. In today’s world, an employee’s appearance is a form of advertising for the company. In this case, we see employees in incomplete protective gear, oversized and often supplemented with personal items.

And finally, a note, even the finest seafood straight from Alaska in the galley must be prepared following proper procedures.

I’m curious whether this was an initiative from the crew that wasn’t authorized by management, or perhaps the management itself fell short.

Contrary to appearances, creating effective training and/or advertising materials isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Often, when focusing on the main topic, we overlook the background and unintentionally showcase improper behavior and practices or worse yet, we dress everyone in new, wear-free protective helmets and work overalls.

I just watched it and it was a bit underwhelming.
Just a few images at the beginning of preparation, but nothing during the voyage or about actual operation of the vessel.
The cooking show was ok, although I wonder if the food served on the ship would actually looked like that.

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Here’s another series, although this one too will be restricted to the UK viewers, or those with a VPN

Mighty Ships shows it like it is

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Absolutely. Spot on.

But when a mariner does their job right, the job is boring. Compare this to “Deadliest Catch” where the clock is always ticking, something is always breaking, everyone is shouting at each other. Great entertainment. But the complete opposite of our trade, where “drama” is a dirty word.

The purpose of the six episode CTI series is to show an interested 21-year old in the middle in Kansas what a voyage is actually like. What mariners actually do. And for mariners everywhere a lot of the job is staring out a window, or at a monitor, or cleaning a toilet. So the series is going to reflect that. Reality as opposed to “reality show”. Then the 21-year old is actually informed about what the job really is.

The next episode covers the three days on the Inside Passage:


No safety net needed for a fishing vessel gangway. There may be different rules on your particular class of vessels.

We use cheater bars on chain binders because that’s the best tool for the job. Other trades don’t like them, but we do. They, like all tools, can be dangerous without training. Which is why we provide new-hire and annual training in their use, and have very few incidents with them. And since we have 40 years of doing what we do, and incident tracking which goes back to 1993 telling us our track record in respect to chain binder injuries is great, I sleep well at night.

Your experience may be different.


I agree, “The Deadliest Catch” is edited to make it the most dramatic it could possibly be.
My underwhelming comment was referred to the fact that what was shown was a little bit of the voyage preparation with very little explanation of what was being done, and it all stopped before the voyage actually commenced. So no showing what the daily routine on the vessel is like.

I guess the next episodes might show that. Will keep watching.


I like the Joe Franta series on YouTube. He is Union crew. He does a great series on Pitney Point. Joe Franta YouTube


Plenty of videos on “Life at Sea” on all kinds of different types of vessels, both on YouTube and Vimeo:“Life+at+Sea”&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Maybe not so many from US-flag ships (??)

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I had a crew aboard the M/V Paul R.Tregurtha in 2008 on the Great Lakes for the first trip of the season. They were totally unrestricted in what they could film, including our ice damage. It was interesting and fun, the crew got into it, and they took a lot of film that didn’t make it into the final product. The Mighty Ships episode may still be available on UTube.


This isn’t about your or my experience, but about publicly showcasing inappropriate behavior. Using a “cheater bar” goes against best industry practices, and most recognized safety authorities simply prohibit their use. I’m very curious about what the Ship’s Cargo Securing Manual and the company’s SMS have to say about this.

In your opinion it is inappropriate behavior. it isn’t inappropriate behavior in the Alaskan fishing industry.

I get it. You don’t like cheater bars. Some companies prohibit employees from having knives. Some nations drug test their mariners. Some don’t. All in the name of safety. So be it.

Aleutian tender vessels are fishing vessels. U.S. fishing vessels are not required to have a SMS, or the associated Ship’s Cargo Securing Manual. Our fleet follows a 400-page Vessel Operation Manual, which has a section on loading and securing cargo, in which the safe use of chain binders and cheater bars is explained. The section is edited by our deck officers who actually do the work of lashing down cargo themselves. That is their trade. They have skin in the game (pun intended). When new people are hired they are trained in the use of chain and binders by those same officers. They get trained again annually.

Just like they get trained annually in firefighting. Not STCW-class level “entry-is-optional” firefighting, but full-on, as-realistic-as-it-gets firefighting. I personally think it is unsafe for all mariners everywhere not to go through this level of training annually. But the vast majority don’t, and that’s OK. Let other trades worry about their people, and I’ll worry about my own.

I agree. Here it is about 40 years of experience of performing a particular technique in a very particular trade, with real experts observing the results, tweaking the practice, and observing again. We do use other tools for lashing. Ratchet straps mostly, which are very useful in many applications, but not in all applications.

People get hurt by cheater bars because no one ever showed them the art of using a cheater bar. Nobody ever evaluated their technique. Just like people get hurt by axes because no one ever showed them how to use an axe. Every lunkhead thinks they know how to use an axe. And yet the number of lunkheads missing part of their foot or calf are legion. You can take the axe away and give them a chainsaw, but chainsaws have their own safety issues. You can ban both axes and chainsaws, but then how do loggers work? Better to train them in using an axe.

Over the years we’ve tested other devices for tensioning lashing chain. They all came up short. When you are lashing down cargo on a 250’ long boat that can operate all day making 40 degree rolls in 40 seas, lashing down cargo has an imperative all its own, and our officers are masters at the craft of making sure that when this happens nothing moves. Part of that is chain binders and cheater bars.


The outfit that dude is Port Captain or Social Media Officer or whatever of IS the industry. There are no others and hasn’t been for a long ass time.

I’m not sure how they’re not following best industry practices when they’re literally the only people in the industry.

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Definitely not taking a side on this, but this statement just begs for a link to The TJ Hooper.

Self made doesn’t have to equate to unsafe. I remember a safety guy taking away one of our “special” tools once saying we could only use oem tools. The oem didn’t have tool for that and asked for the specs of ours so they could make one just like it. The risk assessment can be more important than the origin.

The PPE thing did make me cringe a little, but only after ten years in the oil patch where one can’t leave the accommodations without gloves, glasses, and enough gear so as to make the most mundane job unpleasant and not much safer. Not every task requires a hard hat.

@freighterman1 I’m curious why no shore power plug. That would seem to me not only to be a safety improvement but also a procedural simplification and time saver. Any opportunity to remove the need to be bolting/unbolting wiring from j-boxes is a good thing.

Some good lines in there…describes both the forum and we who participate:

Nevertheless, he was a man of experience, who swore to a fact of his own observation.
Admissions, especially in cases of this kind, are notoriously unreliable; and watermen are not given to understatement.


Cheater bars are used to lash “high and heavy” cargo on RO/RO ships but not pipes that slip over the end but a shorter solid bar with two dogs made from angle iron welded on that engage the handle of the chain binder.

They’re shorter so not as much leverage but they are easier and faster to use.

Can’t find a photo but it’s a less fancy version of something similar to this.