The Triton

Crew Life

Small spaces onboard can hurt, but bring friends together


One of the challenges of living on a yacht is the confined small space called crew cabins we all have to live in. Bunk beds, one small bathroom, and a closet the size of a school locker is all we get.

Crew cabin. Photo by Melissa McMahon

Crew cabin. Photo by Melissa McMahon

When I started in yachting, I showed up with a decent-sized suitcase and a backpack. Most of it I never touched since crew spend most of the time in uniform. All I really needed was a couple of my favorite shirts, some clothes to go out, stuff for the beach and something to sleep in. There’s always a chance to buy new and lovely things at every port. I left my first yacht with more than I came with.

A couple tips for people just getting started in yachting: Pack light, fitting all belongings in one soft-sided duffel bag; bring a hard drive to back up the thousands of photos off of smartphones and laptops.

I was given one of the smallest cabins onboard. Organization skills go a long way when living onboard a yacht. My roommate and I tried a curtain rod to hang up a closet organizer to put more stuff away. I rolled my clothes to make more space and to fit more.

We also got foldable boxes to put our gym/random equipment in such as boxing gloves, protein powder, snorkel gear, etc. Every little bit of organization helps.

Being in close quarters with another person can be quite a challenge. Respecting others and doing things in a fair way make the job better. We used charts to show who cleans the room or bathroom each week. It worked great. I think they should be mandatory on every boat.


Crew cabin. Photo by Melissa McMahon

With working long hours, there are times we just need a few quiet moments in our own rooms to relax and unwind from the crazy work days. My roommate and I took turns giving each other alone time in our cabin, which worked out great to decompress and talk to family members or friends.

Having a break from people onboard is hard — you have to work for it — but it’s necessary to keep tensions at bay.

Besides trying to squeeze in all our belongings and juggle some personal time below deck, another struggle about the tiny spaces is accidentally banging into doors, counters, tables and people. It’s fun when under way, too. Balancing becomes a priority skill to learn.

The spaces may be small, people may disagree, but the beauty of yachting is that it brings people together from all over the world. Bruises come and go, but our “sea family” can stay forever.

Melissa McMahon is a stew from Long Island, N.Y., who loves to travel at sea ( Comments are welcome at

Related Articles

Triton networks with Crew Unlimited

Triton networks with Crew Unlimited

Join us as we take Triton Networking to crew placement agency Crew Unlimited on the third Wednesday of September (Sept. 21) in Ft. Lauderdale. Yacht crew and industry professionals are invited to the …

Immerse yourself in a delicious ‘foodie vacation’

Immerse yourself in a delicious ‘foodie vacation’

Once a chef, always a chef is how the saying goes. In those rare moments that as a chef, you want to experience cuisine and remember the moment you decided to become a chef, might I suggest a …

U.S. Coast Guard security zones near Palm Beach continue through Monday

U.S. Coast Guard security zones near Palm Beach continue through Monday

The U.S. Coast Guard security zone established in the Palm Beach area of Florida continues until approximately 11:59 p.m. Monday. The area is in the Intracoastal Waterway and offshore near Palm Beach …

Charter broker dies

Elizabeth Candler “Candy” Isdale of Narragansett passed away peacefully at her home on July 3 after a fight against multiple myeloma. She was 70 years old. Ms. Isdale was president of Custom …

Show Management statement on Biscayne Bay Army Corps Sea Grass Mitigation Project

Statement from Show Management regarding the Biscayne Bay Army Corps Sea Grass Mitigation ProjectJanuary 23, 2014The expansion of the Port of Miami has generated a sea grass mitigation project in …

Top Shelf: Thai Spicy Banana Blossom and Pearl Salad

Top Shelf: Thai Spicy Banana Blossom and Pearl Salad

Top Shelf: by Chef Tim McDonald First encountered at Noiy’s on Samui – a hippy, rough-cut-diamond sort of speak-easy that sits not far off the main ring road. Once you’ve passed the …


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.