R/V Melville Handbook

Section VIII : Ship Organization

HOUSEKEEPING - Clean towels and linen are distributed at the beginning of the voyage and once a week thereafter. The cook will distribute clean linen at the announced hour. At these times bunks should be stripped and soiled linen taken to the place designated.

Bunks should be made up daily. Public heads and passageways are cleaned by the crew. The scientific party is responsible science staterooms and heads and of the laboratories. The responsibility of daily sweeping out the laboratories is assigned by the chief scientist. All laboratories and scientific party rooms should be thoroughly cleaned before departing the vessel at cruise end. Cleaning gear is available throughout the vessel in cleaning gear lockers; if you can't find it ask. Common courtesy calls for the scientific party members to pick up after themselves. Good shipmates leave their quarters or work areas cleaner than they found them.

Fresh water is a precious commodity at sea and must not be wasted. The ship carries only a 5 day supply and must rely on its desalinators to maintain this supply at sea. These desalinators cannot be operated in harbors and work at a reduced capacity when the ship is idling on station. Conservation of fresh water is therefore a must. Salt water should be used on deck when possible. "Navy" showers (i.e., rinse-soap-rinse, turning off water between times) should be practiced. Full washer loads make best use of water.

Washing machines, laundry soap, bleach, and dryers are available. They are used on a first-come-first-served basis. The only request is for users to do full loads of laundry so as to conserve fresh water. Laundry detergent is provided. A laundry sack is stationed in this area to collect soiled sheets and towels from the ship's supply. An iron is available.

The ship's sanitary system cannot handle cigar and cigarette butts, sanitary napkins, etc. Please dispose of such items properly.

Although there is no standard for dress aboard, mature judgement and decorum are expected.

MESS HALL - The mess deck has seating for 32. Since this is less seats than there are members of the crew and scientific party, personnel should not loiter during or immediately after meals. Watchstanders are customarily served first. Meal hours must be respected. Shirts and foot coverings are required at all times in the mess hall.

Meal hours at sea are:

  • Breakfast 0730-0815
  • Lunch 1130-1215
  • Dinner 1700-1800

The mess hall is cleared 45 minutes prior to and after meal hours to allow for setup and cleanup. Messing is cafeteria style. It is most important that each person bus their own dishes and clean up after themselves. When stores arrive at the ship, all hands load.

Cups and glasses disappear at sea. Therefore, everyone is assigned a coffee cup and a drinking glass, marked with their berth number. Use your own, only. If yours disappears, please look for it before asking for a replacement; there may not be one. The chief scientist should work out with the captain any special eating schedules for scientific watchstanders and station times.

SHIP'S CREW - The complement of 23 is the captain, 3 mates, radio officer, 1 Bostswain, 3 able seamen, 1 ordinary seaman, the chief engineer, 3 assistant engineers, 1 electrician, 4 oilers, 2 wipers, and 2 cooks.

The mates are the officers of the watch. The duty station for all operations, including station work, is the bridge, since fantail and other weather decks may be monitored from the bridge wings.

The assistant engineers and the electrician, if necessary, man the watch in the engine room. When winches are required for station work, a crew member will be provided to operate the winch. Call the bridge to arrange for a winch operator.

The electrician is primarily a "day-man", unless included in the engine room watch rotation.

The boatswain also is a "day-man", responsible for general ship upkeep. The able seaman on watch assists him or the officer of the watch, as required, and the A.B.'s and ordinary seaman are primarily responsible for daily cleaning of the ship.

The boatswain will operate the ship's crane (Allied or Pettibone) if requested. Otherwise, the resident technician performs this task. Smaller cranes (Alaska) are normally operated by members of the scientific party, but only after training by the resident technicians.

If assistance from any crew member is needed by the scientific party, it is recommended that such requests be routed through the officer of the watch. Requests for a winch man should always go to the bridge.

It should be kept in mind that requests for after-hours work by any of the crew are treated as overtime, and should not be placed unless urgently needed, and then through the captain or chief engineer as appropriate.