top of page

Your Typical Deck Seaman

A naval officer once offered me his definition of a Sailor: “If you take two sailors and hermetical seal them in an escape proof box, locked down tight, with a Marine guard posted outside, you can return in a few hours, the box still intact and under guard, and you unseal it, only one sailor will be left in the box, with no trace of the other, and the remaining sailor will know nothing, have seen nothing and have no idea of what happened.” I believe that that same definition holds true for Merchant Mariners.

I once watched a deck seaman working a winch during a deck operation on a survey ship where there was gear in the water, and the gear was attached to the very winch that Hector the deck seaman was working. It was Hectors job to reel in the equipment, which was at its extreme limit, and under no circumstances play any more line out. Hectors had to move the lever controller only one of the two ways it could be moved. The lever was conveniently oriented so that the direction you moved the lever coincided perfectly with the direction you wanted the line to move. “Sailor-proof” was the concept, but nothing is Sailor-proof, not hermetically sealed metaphoric boxes, and not this winch.

At a moment when everyone was looking at the gear in the water, there was the telltale sound of the winch and the line suddenly played out, bringing the wire to its extreme end on the winch causing it to shear off, sending the wire whipping across the deck like a giant weed whacker. When each and every face snapped around to look at Hector, without a pause and a perfectly straight face, Hector declared “It wasn’t me!”

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
bottom of page