Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On a boat with no name...

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 - Summer time is a good time to hit the water. Whether you are on a 40 ft cruiser, a canoe, a kayak, or sporting a pair of water wings... summer is all about the water.  If you work on the water, the summer is so much easier than working in winter. Gales, high seas and bitter cold are just part of the job... the part of the job that makes you appreciate summer.  But not all jobs on the seas are the same.

Cruise ships don't see a whole lot of winter.  Every day is summer, and when summer fades, you just rev up the engines and sail towards another summer. I can't imagine to many of us North Americans flocking to the cruise ship that takes on the North Pacific in December.  Working on a cruise ship isn't that glamorous a job. Sure you are always in the geographic location of summer, but you work 16 hour days, often split shifts, and may not see the outside decks for days.  The crew sleeping quarters are in the bottom of the boat, unless you are the Captain or one of the high ranking officers.  In that case, your quarters are just outside the door to the bridge.  Talk about a short commute.  The folks that work in the laundry on board those ships really get a bum deal... and I bet they earn less than the servers.  In the bowels of a boat, steaming hot, with hundreds and hundreds of sets of sheets that have everything on them from wine and burger juice to DNA... and your job is to spend 8 days a week in that bowel.  Not very enchanting at all.  What about the servers?  They serve three meals a day, get an hour off here and there, and are forced to wear monkey suits, sing and dance at least one night a week and smile when what they really want to say is "Are you sure you need another dessert lady?  Have you seen the size of your 'cruiser' ass?"

The fishermen of "The Deadliest Catch" have it even harder.  They face waters that you would not believe are survivable, and they do so for weeks and months at a time to haul in the Alaskan King Crab that the servers put in front of the wide loads in the dining room on the cruise ship. But what about the personnel, retirees, reservists and volunteers of the Coast Guard? What are their jobs like? If people volunteer to do the job, it can't be all bad.

The Coastguard has been continuously operating since 1790. In peace time, the Coastguard not only patrols the waters, but takes on all kinds of missions...  environmental cleanup, search and rescue, maritime law enforcement,  maintaining navigation aids and homeland security.  Today has been Coastguard Day... and to celebrate one should at the very least, appreciate the Coast, and the safety and freedom we take for granted.  If you don't have a seashore to visit, or a lake to swim in, then do your body some good and at least drink a little water today.  Eight glasses a day.  It's enjoying the water in the summer.

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