21st June 2008, 00:23
our usual tipple Deuchars IPA was off tonight so the bunch of us had a hard choice to make from the rest of the availiable beers.We got talking about as usual about the good old days(we comprise two exbenline, one BP ,one grey funnel line and two normal guys)when it was excepted after a hot morning in the engineroom, at midday to have a couple of pints of lager (all we had then)then a quick shower ,change, into the saloon, chow and back to work knock off at 4.30 a quick pint again shower ,chow time, and then the night progessed depending whether in port or at sea. I said when you were in your 20s and working "quite"hard in high temperatures all alcholic liquids did not affect your working capabilty as you sweated it out quickly.The friends who had never been at sea even though we have known them for twenty years or so were quite shocked by our attitude to drinking while working and I questioned if this is a part of the attitude of the dreaded HSE culture as I cannot remember in all my years at sea(14)where drunkeness caused a problem apart from some bugger being unable to turn to. any opinions on this?
21st June 2008, 01:26
I have often wondered about this. I moved ashore in 1979 but had spent many years at sea before that. I don't remember any problems with alcohol apart from someone difficult to wake up after a night out in port. Now when I talk to former shipmates who are still at sea I hear stories such the master waiting on the bridge for the second mate to come on watch and to breathalise him or the chief breathalising duty engineers and other restrictive attitudes towards alcohol and I sometimes wonder if these attitudes cause more problems than allowing people to drink sensibly. Even in my seagoing days there were people mainly masters who were reformed alcoholics and who tried to restrict what people could drink and these were the ships where as soon as people got ashore they made up for what they could not drink on the ship. This seems to be happening everywhere though even with the numpties in our so called Scottish government with their plans to prevent people under 21 buying alcohol in supermarkets and seperate checlouts for alcohol and of course the favourite of all politicians price increases carefully concealing the fact that the minister responsible has alcohol related convictions.
21st June 2008, 01:48
I agree with you that after a night ashore sampling the local brew and then doing a tour of the local museums and libraries there was nothing better to sober one up than a day lifting pistons in temps of a 100deg.
If you got a engineer, at sea, who was slightly inebriated at midnight we would help him from his cabin into the engineroom, prop him up at the control desk and leave him with a hot cup of tea. The only alternative would have been to stand his watch!!. He would be well sobered up by the time the 2nd came on watch at 4am.
As you say I never knew of any accidents that occurred during my time at sea, but I'm sure the dreaded 'elf & safety zealots have put a stop to such goings on.
21st June 2008, 03:19
At the risk of being put down as a total wowser I feel compelled to reply to those who are posting to the effect that they never experienced accidents/problems related to alcohol during their time at sea. I can only speak for my era, that being the sixties and seventies, but over that period alcohol abuse throughout the UK merchant shipping fraternity was virtually endemic and was the cause of numerous problems both professional and social. Anyone who claims to have been at sea over a similar period and not to have experienced similar problems must either have had an extremely exceptional range of colleagues, have had a very blinkered view of their surroundings, or have a very selective memory.
21st June 2008, 05:35
I'm saying nothing!
Before my time, but I've heard tales of a special strong brew that was made especially for steel workers on Teesside. They supposedly drank it and sweated it out in the heat from the furnaces and rolling mills. I've always doubted the "sweating it out" theory, I reckon that instead of being just drunk, they would have been hot and drunk.
I'm no expert and am open to contradiction on this.
21st June 2008, 13:25
We had our share of drunks at sea. Soem quite violent. Although I don't remember most of them, one second steward comes to mind who had the galley staff terrified of him. He got his just deserts one night from a galley boy and an iron bar!
As for sweating it out, we all drank quite a lot and six beers before going below was not unknown. Having said that, I can't remember going on watch p*ssed, but I know of other engineers who did! Again, very few accidents as you sobered up very quickly in the ehat!