Mind your Manners

by Guest Blogger

September 29, 2005

As someone who spends large chunks of time in some of the more remote corners of the world, sleeping in the snow and sharing meals out of an aluminum pot, etiquette is placed near the bottom of my priority list.

Chris Plays Frisbees

While wiping my face on my sleeve may not be such a terrible crime in the Arctic Ocean, (Lonnie doesn’t seem to mind) onboard the Arctic Sunrise, decorum, custom and protocol dictate much of daily life. Out of bed by 8 a.m. and sign up for cleaning chores. When the mess is full, eat quickly so someone else can use your seat. Help here, help there. Say please and thank you. Little things, as they say, mean a lot. We are all on this ship together.

But more than just good manners, ship etiquette provides a framework for the entire crew to interact. We are all so different. One of us is from Turkey, another from Germany, still others form Colombia, Canada and France. These small guidelines form a language which help us communicate.

There are more rigorous systems to adhere to as well. Many are designed for the safety of the crew. Fire drills are routine events. Any crewmember on sea watch will always inform the duty mate before making rounds. That way, if the person on rounds does not return, the mate knows something is wrong. These rules apply for other guests, too. Nowhere was this more apparent than during our recent Open Boats.

Interested people were relayed out to the Arctic Sunrise for tours. Of course, the inflatable ride out to the ship was intimidating for some. Welcome aboard folks! You have just passed your first initiation. But through the careful guidance of crew and campaigners each visitor learned the procedures and etiquette required during their short stay. Leaving, I couldn’t help but notice their more confident strides.

We are all scared of one thing or another. A different perspective, physical danger, the unknown… small differences in all of us. Recognizing differences and forming a set of guidelines in which to interact is one of the things that makes this ship function. Perhaps this is a lesson for life.



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