Today I am frantically gathering the adequate safety gear, the proper emergency signage and all the requisite paperwork for schooner Zodiac's USCG C.O.I. (Coast Guard certificate of inspection). The Coasties board tomorrow morning and we take her out for a brief spin around the bay; fire drill, M.O.B. drill (man over board) and inventory of all of our safety equipment/ review of security protocols.
All of this is necessary for a certified passenger vessel. It is quite the kerfuffle, as far as the officers and owners of inspected small passenger vessels that carry over 6 passengers are concerned.... Needless to say, it's crunch time for the first mate.
This week is a funny time for me. I ease out of the boat-mom role on Kwaietek and move over to the first mate role on the Z. Aside from the ongoing transfer of my proverbial shit from one vessel to the next, it requires a dynamic shift in attitude and priorities that sometime interfere with family relationships.
The kids hate it when they have to take orders from their mother the "mate". Often times, predicated by the sentence, "I'm talking to you as the mate here so listen up." In fact any time they hear "OK. Listen up!" it means they're getting an order that can't be argued with or whined about or even returned with over-the-top exaggerated eye rolling.
Juliet, who is currently entering her teenage years with a vengeance, particularly despises crewing on board the same ship as her mother the mate.
Megan at least, has reached the mature age to roll with it pretty well. The chapter in my memoir, Prepare to Come About mentions the intricacies of being mom on one boat and mate on another boat. Prepare to Come About, "Locking Through"
I've pretty much been able to make it through the initial rough patches of working with my husband on both of the boats. There is no doubt that Jeffery has more sailing experience, and has read more nautical books than I could possibly find an interest in delving into. The first few years were interesting as we adjusted to my new role as the deck officer who ordered him around. I remember several times when the captain would send me forward to pass messages to Jeffery that he needed to readjust his sail because he was "killing the tack", where I would finally feel inclined to suggest that the captain deliver these messages himself--as the reaction I'd been receiving was growing frostier with each occurance.
Now-a-days, I can make the call myself, and deliver it with little resistance. It's been a good confidence building exercise. To believe that I have the knowledge and skill set to keep the ship running smoothly and safely. It has also cemented Jeff and my relationship as partners and sailors.
Now, as I run to the marine store yet again in preparation for our inspection, I am eagerly looking forward to my third full season as the first mate. I like knowing that the captain relies on my organization and preparation and that I have a solidly trained core deck crew, (including one surly teenager).
I spend the next six months on the charter ship and transition back into boat mom in the fall... then my orders are met with somewhat more resistance and 14 year old attitude!