It seemed like a good idea at the time.
When we meet yacht crew, it seems like most of them smoke. So when we asked at the show if they smoked, we were surprised most of them didn’t.
We weren’t surprised to learn that most yachts don’t permit smoking, however, yet it still took a while before a kind chief mate explained it: crew probably weren’t being truthful.
“Everybody puts on their CV ‘non-smoker’, ‘non-smoker’, ‘non-smoker’,” he said. “Then they get a job and they work it out.”
Although we photographed and recorded the names of many crew, we’re protecting them (and us) from damaging careers by publishing those details.
One young man not ashamed of his history with smoking is deckhand Tavis Brown, who quit four months ago.
“It was a health choice, really,” he said. “I’ve been smoking since I was 14 and I finally kicked it. A busy charter season helps.”
Then I had this exchange with two young men working a passerelle:
Me: Do you smoke?
Man2: Did you smoke last night?
“I don’t smoke during the day, only when I’m in a bar having a drink. As far as work goes, I do not smoke.”
Then it made sense. There’s no time, and usually no opportunity, to smoke while working onboard, but it was too late to re-interview everyone. So here are the stats as we know them.
The question really should have been: Do you smoke on the job? For that question, I believe these answers are accurate.
As I said, it seemed like a good question at the time.