Triton survey comments on cell phone usage

Mar 24, 2014 by Guest Writer

Triton Survey comments on cell phone usage. Click here to read the entire survey.


Some thoughts from captains and crew about the impact smart phones have had on yachting.

Overuse of a cell phone can lead to morale issues as the more responsible crew members see other crew members spend half the day on Facebook, Twitter or texting. If I have to create a standing order that no one can use a smartphone during work hours, then I’m punishing the bulk of the crew for the misbehavior of one or two.

Communication is never enough. Without phones, we’re back to the Stone Age. Maybe he [your captain friend] wants to bring back semaphore?

I have actually taken a cell phone away from a crew member during work hours. It becomes an addiction for some. However, a cell can be an asset to communication, if not abused.

Crew do not have any need to be on the phone during duty hours, period.

We are not free to do as we please; we are all subject to restrictions. Phone use is for off hours, off the boat or the crew mess.

Cell phones have impacted all of working America. I don’t know if any studies have been done, but I would estimate at least 1 1/2 hours each work day is wasted on smart phones.

Cell phones should not be on one’s person during the working day, but I feel it’s a lost cause at this point.

Older crew will ignore a call if not important; younger crew will not. And let’s not get started about the texting.

The crew gets very disconnected with the cell phone. Instructions are not followed and mistakes are made. Common sense and concentration take a leave of absence.

Like the rest of the world, they make working life even more unsociable. Go to a crew mess on a vessel with six or more crew and at least half are on a device. What did we ever do without them?

Not just in yachting; younger people are losing the ability to communicate in person. They can’t hold a proper conversation and things like eye contact are completely foreign to them.

I would rather have crew take short calls than take endless smoke breaks.

Text, e-mail and calls on a cell phone are no less distracting than having to take a landline call. Our crew understand that if they frequently check on or talk on the phone during work time, they will have to leave it in their stateroom.

With today’s communications, everyone wants to be “connected” to their friends. This is fine, but it should not interfere with the person’s work. We are paid to be “at work”, not socializing. I expect crew to limit their social networking to break time, lunchtime or after work. At no time should crew use phones when the owners or guests are on board. This is disrespectful and it sends the message “I have something more important to be paying attention to”  rather than giving the service that we are paid to do.

I find it more troubling with workers hired to do a job that they are charging by the hour, to stop and answer or make phone calls. We have been known to tell them to stop or get off.

Nobody needs to communicate more just because the facility is available. I don’t care what they do ashore or in their cabins, but they are paid to work without distractions. Can’t handle it? Get another career.

If not regulated by captains, cell phones could undermine not only the safety of the yacht but also the management ability of the captain.

Lay down the law early and explain the expectations as well as the repercussions of abusing the privilege.

Cell phones have freed up the captain to be away from the boat and still be contacted if needed.

Texting is about all they are used for and a few phone calls during the day. What profession in this day and age don’t workers pick up the phone and send a text? Police, nurses, you name it.

Time to pull back and get back to basics.

For the better, that’s for sure. If the crew member isn’t mature and responsible enough to know when it is appropriate, then you’ve got the wrong person.

We do need to teach some work ethics. Phones should be banned from the bridge and use while in service.

They are an annoyance on boats just as they are in the rest of society. They and the way they are used are a scourge and the bane of society.

I also believe that with an “open WiFi ” signal being made available to all the crew all the time, this does let the system of SMS and VOIP communications become abused during the working day.

A tool only, like radar or GPS, and should be treated as such.

In certain situations, it is very handy to text throughout the vessel, whereas the radio or even PABX system is not private enough. Other times, the dinging of texts arriving at an alarming rate or staring at the top of someone’s head during meal times or crew meetings will send me over the edge.

Crew or freelancers are on board to work. Is this some kind of antiquated notion? We are servants to the captain and owners, period. When onboard, you are on duty. If you’re a slave to networking, stay on land. Distracted crew members are a hazard to themselves and others.

I feel that they have turned crew and people in general anti-social. At any time during the day, you will walk into the crew mess and whoever is there is using their phone. People have stopped saying “good morning” and looking up to acknowledge that anyone has entered the room.

I think they should be left in your cabin until the work day is over. Unless you need it for your job, it becomes a distraction.

Cell phones are not part of your uniform; a distraction in any work environment.

Mobile phones are an ever increasing distraction and there seems to be poor phone etiquette developing in present crew, especially the younger crew.

The smarter your phone, the more distractions occur.

The younger crew do tend to be obsessed with the texting. This drives me crazy.

It is necessary to implement rules in regards to cell phone usage during work hours, especially for the use of social media pages. I would not be surprised if some of the younger crew could easily waste 20 percent of their working day on their phones.

I hate them. I see the crew constantly checking the things to see who is doing what to whom. I get particularly wound up when I see somebody with a phone in one hand and nominally performing a task, like polishing or cleaning, with the other. They destroy the productivity of the crew member. I wish they had never been invented. I do not like being so easily available 24/7.

We have seen boats docking with half of the crew on their phones, a big no-no. We have a rule: no phones during meals; if you need to text or talk, leave the crew mess.


Crew need to phone home. Depending on what’s going on, we allocate phone call time. It can help them feel not so distant.

Owners are starting to use cell phones to keep in contact with personnel onboard in order to make their own lives easier.

Like it or not, they are an important tool in life now. However crew (in particular, younger crew) become addicted to using them for social media applications during work time. I often see the stews or deckies gathered around a phone wasting time. And it would seem that the art of conversation is now banned from break times.

Conversation is not as spontaneous. Opportunities to make eye contact are diminished, which results in fewer cross-boat conversations developing and meeting fewer crew from the boat next door. And there are fewer dock BBQs.

Obviously, it’s difficult to do conscientious work with one hand and only half of one’s ears.

Like many other crew issues, this is a matter of early instruction, training, and to a greater or lesser degree, re-training. If they like where they are, they will usually do what you ask of them.

Like anything, it is a tool. Valuable in many situations but if not controlled can be a distraction.