By Melissa McMahon
Buying all the food, products and necessities when provisioning is the easier part, but to me, the fun part is getting it onboard and putting it away in a timely manner. Who gets to do what? Do we form a train? Do all crew members participate?
I was one of 20 crew members on my last boat, so you can imagine the amount of provisions we had to get every two weeks. I came to appreciate small marinas rather than the larger ones where we had to push a heavy cart down a long dock to the yacht. I will never forget one marina in Alaska where we had a mile walk down the docks to get to the parking lot. I tried to motivate as much as I could, saying “C’mon guys this is exercise. We have to burn off all that junk food we eat, and all the toasties.” But, of course, I get that eye stare and a laugh by the majority of my fellow crew mates.
But I always find the positive side to the situation rather than dwelling on the negative. Yes, there are two cars filled with provisions. Yes, we need to walk down the long dock probably 10 times. Yes, the stuff is heavy. But, we have food to eat, we are burning calories, and we get to be off the boat.
Our go-to plan was always to make a train. Everyone had a spot, just as we did when we came into port and each crew member was at a designated fender line. I had the “fun” spots: the stairs for when food or other products had to go down to the storage/crew area and the outside deck lockers for when we had cases of beverages.
Each deck locker could fit about 50 cases of beverages. I had to crawl in and maneuver each case to fit as much as neatly as possible. It’s hot work, like doing Bikram yoga.
But it’s important to know your limitations when handling heavy cases or carrying them down a staircase. Injuries may arise, and safety is the No. 1 priority. One of our crew mates pulled his back by lifting a heavy box, and another passed out from heat exhaustion.
A train always gets the job done in a decent amount of time and gives the opportunity for crew members not to have to carry heavy items long distances. There are usually people on other boats in the marina watching, so working well in a train makes everyone looks professional.
Melissa McMahon is a stew from Long Island, N.Y. (www.longislandmermaid.com). Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.