Aviation is full of acronyms and made up words. Shiplife? times that by about 100.
I was fortunate having grown up on the water as part of my parents business that I learned the difference between a boat and ship, port, starboard, aft, fwd, bow and stern. What I didn't know was the alternate language that crew use to name or describe something. For example, when I joined the ship I heard many crew members use the word “Pisano”. They would use it in reference to confirming information, “please take this form to your Pisano” a crew member would say to another.
For my first 30 days on the ship I thought and believed that “Pisano” was a supervisor of some sort on the ship, I in fact believed that it was a position or rank onboard. When I found out that “Pisano” meant “person from the same country as you” I felt, well, out of touch. I was so confused… I now happily share this story with new hires as an example of what it is like to adjust to ship-life. Although it is an Italian word, every nationality on the ship uses it.
What are some other words/terms have I learned?
- “Tell me” - It is universal amongst crew when you call them that the start of the conversation almost always goes like the below. The conversations are all so fast and efficient, “tell me” is the common way of saying “whats up?” or “what can I do for you?”.
- ME - “Hi, it’s T&D Jeffrey”
- THEM “Hi! Tell me”
- I-95 - Down in the belly of the vessel, in the crew areas there is a massive corridor that on most ships runs straight from the bow of the vessel to the stern. It is the “crew highway” that allow crew, supplies and equipment to move from one end of the ship to the next. Most ships also have an I-94, a smaller corridor running in parallel. When the ship is turning around between voyages the I-95 is very very busy and crew are asked to transit via I-94 to avoid congestion.
- Turn Around Day - This is the day between voyages, it is like a symphony, brain surgery and magic all rolled up together. In one day (usually 8-12 hours) the ship arrives, disembarks thousands of guests, turns over all the state rooms, cleaning, sanitizing. The ships garbage and recycling is offloaded and new provisions including food, beverages, glassware, and a number of other supplies are brought onboard. This day is very busy for the ships HR team, it is all hands on deck as we prepare to receive the “sign-ons” and disembark the “sign-offs”. Each turn around day there will be an influx of crew leaving and coming the number differs from ship to ship the largest ships in the fleet there can be up to 250 sign-ons, on my ship the average is closer to 40. In this group up to 25% are new-hires whereas the rest are returning crew coming off vacation. The HR team splits up to manage the process, I head out to the crew bus with the Crew Relations Specialist and we start to receive the sign-ons, verifying their documents, passports etc. Clearing them through security, bringing them onto the ship and then running each person through their contract and sign-on paperwork. Then we hand then to the medical team who verify their medicals and fitness for duty. The day is not done there… We have to explain the training and process and then we greet them later in the day at the HR Centre to take their pictures and issue their crew ID’s.
The dictionary is growing, I wonder how many words, terms that I will bring home with me…
- RING! RING!, RING! RING!! “Hello”
- “Hi! It’s Mom!”
- “Hi Mom! tell me…”
- Speak well,