Deliveries can be a time to unplug and gain knowledge for crew

Dec 15, 2015 by Rob Gannon

I live and work on the Intracoastal Waterway here on the east coast of Florida, and I love this time of year. It’s the yachting migration season. I enjoy checking out the variety of yachts making their way south from the chilly onset of the coming winter up north. It brings back great memories of deliveries I was a part of, and reminds me of some suggestions I’d like to pass along for those embarking this fall.

One thing I really enjoy about deliveries is the immersion into each day. There is really nothing else going on except the trip, the mission. It always felt good to me to separate from the outside world and all its noise and distraction. I would make a point of disconnecting from the news and any outside influences, and just really get into the trip.

Now granted, some of these deliveries were in the technology dark ages; I may have had a cell phone but not the little computers we use for phones today. It certainly was easier to disconnect then, but we still had to make a conscious choice to do so. It felt good and that’s why I want to recommend it, yes, in this day and age.

So I’m mostly referring to coastal deliveries here. Today, an Internet signal appears just about anywhere along the coast. Megayachts on offshore trips have one as well, as long as owner is willing to pay for it. Without much thought, mariners can check e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and most anything else.

But what if you didn’t? What if you just shut it all down for a while?

Let’s face it; most of that stuff doesn’t fall under the category of urgent, absolutely necessary daily information. For most of us, checking it all is a habit, and we probably fill too many hours with it each day.

Everyone and all the chatter will still be there in a week or so, so here’s a chance to change the routine. A delivery can be the perfect time to go unplugged. It can be tough. It will most certainly be uncomfortable the first couple of days. But for those who can hang in there, it can be pretty cool and worthwhile.

One way to be successful changing habits dependencies is replacing the habit with something else. This fills the void felt when we no longer engage in that old, familiar habit. Here are a couple of replacements to the automatic response of checking that iPhone throughout the day.

Learn something. During deliveries, a lot of time is spent on watch or trying to get some sleep, but there is downtime, too. This is the time to gain some knowledge. Why not? There also might be someone onboard who is knowledgeable in a subject and happy to share. Perfect, right?

Perhaps one person on the delivery is a new crew member with little knowledge of navigation and electronics. There’s a great thing to learn about from the captain. Or maybe the weather patterns and forecasting could be of interest. How about the night sky? Learning about some of the constellations and planets is awesome.

There is a lot going on all around us on a sea voyage. Boring should not enter the description here. How about engines? Don’t really understand what’s going on there? Ask some questions. Showing interest says something about us. It shows the wheels are turning, and we are present and involved.

Read something. Another way to gain some new knowledge is to read. Deliveries offer enough downtime for some serious reading. It could be on a subject that is new and interesting.

Write something. Another replacement for our personal devices can be writing. Writing daily thoughts down along with some introspection or meditation are hours well spent on our emotional health. Keeping a personal log of the trip or just entering random thoughts can feel good and different for those who don’t normally keep a journal in daily life. There is plenty to write about once you get in the flow.

I hope these replacement considerations may be helpful or of some interest. Immerse yourself in the delivery, and carry on mates. Enjoy the voyage.

Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach. Contact him through