I had the opportunity to move the boat
twice thrice last night. THREE TIMES!
Here on "crewboat row," we squeeze 'em in tight. Sliding a 30-foot wide boat into a 36-foot wide hole with 20 knots on the beam is all sorts of fun.
The deckhands are grading me, and I’m told I’m averaging “A-“ thus far. I can live with that.
So, anyhow, the downside to running only every other day is I’m not getting a lot of wheel time, necessary to really be comfortable with my new boat. The upside is that when we do run, destinations and cargos are varied.
I did stay up into the day watch a couple of days ago when we caught a run just to see what Belle Pass looked like in the daylight. It’s always good to be able to match radar returns to a visual image.
And I’m not complaining. Soon enough, I’m sure, they’ll be running the bottom paint off this boat.
Boat or Ship?
Try to define the difference between a boat and a ship, and you’ll come up with all manner of criteria:
- Ships can carry boats, boats can’t carry ships.
- Boats lean in to a turn, ships lean out.
- When a ship sinks one steps into a boat; when a boat sinks, one steps into the water.
- Boats have only one deck; ships have multiple decks.
- Ships carry cargo, boats do not.
- Boats have operators, ships have crews.
- Boats are vessels under 500 tons, ships vessels over that.
Out here, we call most of the vessels boats – even the 280-foot platform supply vessels (like the 3,000+ ton Gary Rook, left) that are clearly carrying rescue boats under a davit on the weather deck. I suspect that a vessel of the same size, configured with a more traditional aft house, would be called a ship.
By many definitions, the modest 165-foot crewboat I work on could be considered a ship; it requires multiple individuals as crew, it has more than one deck, it carries cargo.
The boat I’m on could carry another boat – even a sizable boat, such as the 100-foot crewboat just down from us. I’m guessing too that whether a vessel leans into or away from a turn depends in great part on where the vertical center of gravity is on a given day.
Tonnage is tricky, as all sorts of smoke and mirrors (and doors and floors and machinery spaces) may obfuscate a vessel’s objective displacement.
I will tell you this: my boat feels really big at first, but looks a whole lot smaller when lying alongside a big platform supply vessel. And it positively shrinks somewhere between week three and four of a hitch.
Déjà vu, Sorta
The lead captain on this boat has been with the company almost a decade-and-a-half. I think I wrote in an earlier post that he was just over here filling in while the boat was re-crewed.
Actually, this has been his boat for quite some time and he’s been trying to get to his new boat, currently in shipyard, and has been delayed while a suitable and stable crew is found for this boat.
Anyhow, he’s experienced, skilled and only occasionally grumpy. (Okay, really he has a pretty ready laugh and some great stories).
Earlier today, noticing his “Corpus Christi Harley Davidson” t-shirt, I asked him if he has a bike. Two, it turns out, with a possible third in the offing, and he not only told me about them but whipped out his phone to show me pictures.
Ah … sociability. It’s almost impossible to over-rate.