So this is blog post is probably one I have the most experience in (for all the wrong reasons) and despite the title, it definitely isn’t encouraging you to go out and have a good time on a regular basis. In fact, this is the total opposite. This is about being a sensible drinker, something I’ve always struggled with. So do as I say and not as I do and avoid the mistakes that I and others have made…
We will start at the beginning when you are looking for your first job. Antibes and Palma have an array of alluring bars and a fairly debauched nightlife. When you first get there you will be surrounded by gorgeous people, everyone in the same boat (sorry) and the temptation to go out is huge. However, you are looking for a job. The fewer hangovers you have, the more productive you will be in the job search and the longer your cash will last. Possibly not good news for your love life but that should be down the priority list anyway! I always had a job so I didn’t make any screw ups at this stage in my drinking/yachting career. Those all came later!
So you’ve secured a job and its happy days. Loads of cash in the bank account and hitting the bars at every opportunity. Having a great time basically. Which is amazing but how long can you do it before it starts to have a negative effect? I reckon you get one season of regular, heavy boozing before it is to your detriment. If it’s a seasonal role then you don’t even get one season of messing around. Here are the reasons why…
If you get a reputation on board as being a heavy ‘socialiser’ it is unlikely you are ever going to be the person picked for internal promotions. It might happen but generally, you will be put in the ‘great for crew morale but not leadership material’ category. You can get a few good years on one boat but you probably won’t progress. Your reputation will possibly precede you onto your next boat too.
Yachts, especially on deck can be dangerous. Driving tenders, dealing with lines, being in the anchor locker, up the mast etc all carry risks. If you are doing it first thing in the morning the risks are multiplied. I almost got hit by a ferry in St Tropez in a tender with charter guests on board as I had been out with them till 5am. Wasn’t a great moment for any of us to be honest. If you are the crew member who was made to party all night with your guests make sure someone else is driving!
Any decent agency or boat will call your references. If they ask the right questions and probe they will find out you spent more time propping up the bar than anything else and unless it is a party boat it instantly damages your chances. Some Captains and HODs will semi defend you and say it was never an issue. Plenty will bury you though. The upshot is… you won’t get a job on an amazing boat and will be left with something average.
This goes without saying. Being a drinker and/or smoker isn’t adding years to your life expectancy.
Drinking horror stories
In the interests of making this blog less boring here are some examples of how not to do it. Some of these are me and some I witnessed…
1. Carried back to the yacht by charter guests in Cannes as overindulged (me).
2. Dragged off principals daughter on the dancefloor in a headlock from principals bodyguard.
3. Going out for Halloween during your first week, hooking up and come back to the yard the next day. Unfortunately still dressed as Harley Quinn and an hour late back to the boat. End result sacked…
4. Drinking in a guests Irish bar the day after charter finished. Get smashed, lose the ability to walk and get taken to hospital in an ambulance.
5. Getting in a fight outside the Hop Store in front of a crew agent who has just sent you to 4 boats. I was the crew agent and let’s just say he didn’t get a job via me.
6. Missing curfew and therefore have to stay out drinking till 8am (me).
7. Missing curfew and rather than stay out till 8am deciding to swim back to the boat and gain entry. Night spent clinging to bulbous bow trying to survive ( he did survive but it was an incredibly bad drunken decision).
8. Being carried back to the yacht by the police and an extremely keen police dog. End result sacked and a trip to hospital for the dog bite!
To be honest the list of drunken escapades and disasters is endless and I could write a dozen blogs on it. I know it’s boring but my main advice is to only drink to excess when you’ve got the next day off. Your wallet, liver and older you will thank you. I have shot myself in the foot more times than I can remember through drinking and with the benefit of hindsight, none of those nights out were worth it.
Last point, some of you will be reading this and thinking I am a hypocrite having seen me drunk in Antibes on occasions on school nights. They would be 100% correct, I am a hypocrite. But I am also right and I’m (mostly) a reformed character so this just about means I can lecture on this. Just!! Lastly… I have a very forgiving boss (me) for my screw ups, you probably don’t…