What kind of leaders does the Maritime industry create and promote?

I have always found it interesting how little Captains and Chiefs interacted with those aboard other company ships. Even if another ship was alongside the dock in an adjacent berth.

You choose who is around you. You control the level of openness others have with you. You can stop it all with a glance.

A doctor is powerful in their realm but is one of many doctors. A doctor cannot shut down his peers of equal standing. They can’t control everything in their realm. Outside their realm they have as much control as the next person. A doctor at the school PTA cannot shut the other parents down with a glance. A doctor cannot stop his lawyer neighbor from having a noisy cookout on the weekend.

It’s apples and oranges. One is sometimes powerful, the other is all-powerful. That absolute power corrupts most people sooner or later.


Rightfully so. I was taught that I was no better than anyone else, regardless of wealth or education but also no one is better than me regardless of wealth or education.


Not to pour piss on a smoldering fire for some of the respected mariners on this site. Had a rather smaller crew, and depended on all knowing what was going on with the vessel. Have said this many times, will continue to do so and beat it into a few persons heads.That morning coffee with the Chief is worth it’s weight in gold . He was honest with me if I was “Being hardheaded”. , I was honest with him when he was doing the same. That he still came up the following mornings for our chat meant we could work it out. We both knew what was going on with the crew,and realized the value of being consistent When you are both on the same page, a happy crew. No mixed messages.


Not really about doctors.

Say, hypothetically, there was a study that showed that the average amount of dumb assholes in all professions was x percent. But in some professions it was significantly higher. And furthermore those professions with the significantly higher percentages had these characteristics:

  • an education (often, not always!) lacking in breadth,
  • the arrogance of overachievers
  • a hierarchical profession
  • a lack of people ever telling them to just shut the fuck up

However, say maritime was not included in the study. Questions is; does it apply to maritime?

Absolutely. Mariners have the same DNA as any other group of humans. The environment they choose to work in and the folks they are exposed to shape them just like any other profession.

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Would be nice if politicians had the same attitude.

Sometimes, it is.

*“Mixing limited flight experience with high-performance aircraft…” *
Smart people are not immune to this phenomenon. In fact, the effect reveals the most competent individuals tend actually to underestimate their ability."


JFK Jr’s crash was an example of this as well as an example of other people being unwilling to say no to a certain perceived class.
I swear the USA is at least as class subservient as the UK ever has been.

Yes, though some segments of the industry are worse than others. In general, positions of power tend to attract those that want power. Those who want to be master of a ship are already more likely to be assholes. In that case, traditional ships are worse than workboats because there’s a stricter hierarchy.

On workboats there’s a pervasive mindset that the most important aspect of being a “great captain” is boat handling ability. In reality, that’s not very high on the list but many workboat “captains” have their job based solely on that qualification.

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That’s a stretch but I agree about JFK Jr being the poster child for that type of accident.

In my experience traditionally ships often don’t really follow a proper hierarchy.

I made a trip once with unskilled relief bos’n. After a discharge he wasn’t getting the car decks cleared and swept up. I figured out, for one thing, he didn’t understand the deck and hold numbering system so he wasn’t understanding my instructions. It’s a little tricky, some of the decks are movable etc.

So I took him aside and told him he needed to take a little time to figure out the numbering system. Before I could explain he challenged me, said it was actually me that didn’t know the system and said he was going to tell the captain I was harnessing him.

So later the captain calls us both into the office and he’s sitting at his office chain behind his desk, sort of like a judge and the bos’n and I are sitting in chairs in front of him like were are on the Judge Judy show.

The captain asks for each to tell his story, I tell the captain the bos’n needs to learn the ship and the bos’n tells the captain I am harassing him because I don’t like him and I am trying to make him quit.

So the captain tells the bos’n to learn the deck/hold numbering system and he tells me to stop harassing the bos’n.

In other words the captain considers that the bos’n and the chief mate are the same level and the captain is at the top of the hierarchy. Captains at the top and the rest of the crew is at the bottom, that’s not a proper hierarchy.


Well we have all been there at some point. Counseling and training as a supervisor being perceived or at least misconstrued as harassment. Telling someone that being instructed in how to do their job is not harassment is usually a dead end at that point.
How that Captain handled it is another story…

Have not worked shipboard, only in offices, but yeah, I’ve been in the same boat. Someone doesn’t like that they’re being counseled because they aren’t doing their job correctly, and you’re harassing them.

Yeah, the captain could have said something along the lines of the C/M is used to the regular bos’n and in the future the mate will give more clear instructions, that way the bos’n could save face.

And I could have gone with him to the deck/hold to show him where more work was needed.

As it was the captain just added more to the bos’n paranoia, I think he must have been fired off a few ships.