Who do you Trust on a ship?

I remember having a conversation with a Captain in his office one day about this particular question, Trust. Yes the big ‘T’ word. I have always had the approach of not trusting anyone as far as I can throw them, and even though I may have a good arm, the size of some of the crew on ships I wouldn’t have any hope in moving them. Trust was the topic of conversation on this particular day and to be totally honest my whole awareness of leadership and personal working relationships has changed to a new level. We discussed the purpose Trust and how a ship operates with and without it. But where there is Trust there is also Responsibility. You can’t have one without the other. Being a Master or Captain of ship you have to have full trust in your crew who are working for you because at the end of the day if anything happens it all falls back on you as the Master. An Officer of the Watch (OOW) is in charge of keeping a bridge navigational and safety watch on behalf of the Master to allow him/her to perform other tasks on board. No one is physically capable of carrying out all the shipboard duties on their own so that is why there are crew on board. Officers and Deck Crew all work together to maintain a safe and efficient running of the ship. There has to be some level of trust between crew members to eliminate the chances of tension developing, incidents and accidents happening and even serious ship related issues. So even if you don’t feel like you can trust anyone on board the ship think of the Master on your situation. If the Master trusts an Officer to perform his duties then this is evidence that you could possibly Trust them as well. Some people may have the knowledge but are they competent? Bottom line is don’t not trust anyone so far that you end up taking on more work load and responsibility than you can really manage. Teamwork and Trust is the framework to building a working relationship with your crew on board.
This photo above is of the Captain, Chief Officer and 1st Officer on the Volendam, working together to deploy a weather buoy for the met. service in New Zealand. Location of deployment was in the middle of the Tasman Ocean between the South Island of New Zealand and Tasmanian of Australia.

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