I sometimes write about the routines and challenges of running a charter schooner in busy Newport, Rhode Island. Now I’m reporting from Belize city, where I’m on board a Blount Small Ship Adventure vessel, the 180-foot Grande Mariner. It’s work, kind of. I’m the relief chief mate for a few months, and my first order of business, as with any boat, is to familiarize myself with all the important systems on board.
I’m climbing in the holds and checking out the machinery spaces. There are two powerful Cat 3412 diesels, three 3304 Cat gen-sets, and more firefighting and safety equipment than you can imagine. As with any passenger vessel, there are procedures for everything. One of my tasks is a weekly check on all that firefighting and safety equipment. That’s 273 line items to inventory and test — just to be sure.
Your boat might not be this complex, but building that safety checklist is a great way to keep current on flares, extinguishers, EPIRBs, medical kits, and so on. On any extended or offshore trip it helps to have a handy reminder list such as this, and it will help guests familiarize themselves with where all that important stuff is stowed.
The passengers start showing up aboard Grande Mariner in a few days. Until then we’ll be busy fueling up and loading stores for our two-week trip inside the barrier reef all the way to Guatemala and back. I haven’t even had time to look at the charts and voyage plan yet. I’ll try and send in some activity blogs when I can, but in the meantime, remember that making a safety checklist and running through it with crew and guests on board is always a good move, no matter how big or small the boat.