Keep a Watchful Eye During RefitsMar 24, 2022 by Chief Officer Wesley Walton
Credit: Photos by Dorie Cox
Refits and yard periods are an essential part of a smooth yacht program. Any hiccups in the yard could seriously delay or ruin your upcoming season. Here are some tips on how to navigate the yard successfully.
- Check availability and get quotes from contractors before you arrive in the yard. This will ensure an efficient use of time. I also suggest the use of a Gantt chart to help with project management of all the works for that period.
- Ensure vessel security. There will be many people coming and going during a refit, so it is of the utmost importance that you are keeping a close eye on security. Make sure everyone is signed on board correctly everyday with IDs checked, and have the contractors escorted around the vessel. Take all valuables (art, paintings, etc.) off the vessel and into storage before the start of the refit. Lock up the vessel at the end of every workday, and lock any restricted areas.
- Apply protection around all exterior decks and interior. With the large influx of people and equipment coming and going from the vessel, it is important to make sure the decks, paintwork, carpets, woodwork, marble, etc. are covered and well-protected from bumps and spills. I suggest using Corflute (corex.com.au), blue diamond plate surface protection, and old carpet runners. Keep in mind that people can get a false sense of security and become careless when they see protection laid down, so you will need to keep a close eye on all movements.
- It is essential to have regular crew meetings so that everyone knows what to expect workwise in the coming days. This helps departments to collaborate and plan around the upcoming work of other departments. Communication can lead to a far more efficient and seamless yard period.
- All contractors coming on board are professionals in their field, so in your free time watch how they complete their projects, ask questions and learn from them. You will find the contractors more than happy to show you how to complete the task at hand to the highest level. Take advantage of this.
- It is important to build and maintain relationships with businesses and contractors coming on board during a yard period. Offer assistance where you can, ensure they have access to toilets, ensure there is readily available drinking water, and be polite.
- Do not be afraid to tell someone that you don’t know how to do a given task or that you have made a mistake. There are always unforeseen surprises when a vessel comes into a yard — and nine times out of 10, you wouldn’t have experienced the issue before. The yard is a big learning environment.
- Refits and yard periods are busy and intensive, but remember that these periods generally happen between seasons. Be sure to get your rest during these periods so that you are not burnt out as you start the upcoming season.
CHIEF OFFICER WESLEY WALTON HAS BEEN WORKING ON YACHTS FOR NINE YEARS. HE IS FROM SOUTH AFRICA AND CURRENTLY WORKS ON M/Y XXXXX.