Refit Etiquette for Contractors

Mar 24, 2022 by Alene Keenan

Most yacht crew will visit a shipyard for a refit or repair project at some point in their career. Whether they work alongside contractors or simply perform daily cleanup, communication and damage awareness is crucial. The contractor and all employees must abide by any agreement to work in certain areas only and ensure all contents are moved or properly protected as agreed, and crew are obliged to know parameters.

From contractor entry, security checks and work requirements to final installations and cleanup, expensive furniture and fixtures are at risk. Covering decks and interior areas for protection is the first step. Drop cloths, fitted canvas covers, and runners go over furniture, carpets, and cabinetry to protect from dust. Artwork and sculptures must be removed or protected from accidental breakage.

Any work outside of the agreements should be brought to the attention of the captain and crew so that appropriate protection can be applied. If beds must be taken apart to access tanks or wiring, let the department head know. If the air conditioning will be off for any length of time, crew need to know. For example, any wine on board must stay within a certain temperature range, and leather goods can start to grow mold — goodbye, Jimmy Choo shoes and Hermes bags! If workers need to access panels inside cabinets or closets, expensive dishes, glassware, linens, clothing, shoes and accessories need to be protected and valuables placed in a safe place. Contractors should be aware that the cost of replacement for anything damaged will be expensive.

Due diligence is vital. Crew should know what is going on, understand their responsibility, and work with project managers on the punch list for items requiring immediate attention, or any work that does not conform to contract specifications.

Contractors must always provide adequate protection before entering work areas throughout the vessel, including:

  • Remove shoes or wear booties.
  • Avoid touching any surface and leaving fingerprints.
  • No food or uncovered drinks in work areas.
  • Ask permission and use only bathrooms designated for workers.
  • Maintain cleanliness of the work area.
  • Avoid carelessly placing tools and equipment down to prevent scratches and dents, even on covered areas.
  • Don’t pull anything apart without notifying the project manager or crew members.
  • No chemicals or solvents without approval.
  • Address any visible damage immediately.
  • Know who oversees each project and who to communicate with.

Crew must know the scope of each project and be aware of daily progress to properly protect the vessel. They should inspect and vacuum as needed throughout and at the end of each day. Even with everything covered, accidents happen, and something could be scratched, dented, or spilled that isn’t visible underneath coverings.

Shipyard periods can be tense. Scheduling can be complicated. Communication between crew and project managers is necessary, especially when using different contractors and navigating multiple contracts. It can be a great learning experience for everyone involved, and of course, nothing succeeds without mutual respect.


About Alene Keenan

Alene Keenan is a veteran chief stew, interior training instructor/consultant, and author of The Yacht Guru’s Bible: The Service Manual for Every Yacht.

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