At Sea: How to Take Care of Your Crew during the Coronavirus Pandemic


For those working at sea, living on board of yachts with captain and crew at close quarters, confinement is very different than for most of the population. Some may even have guests, which makes it even more complex and important to protect everyone. Here is some advice.

Entering Ports

International Health Regulations indicate that yachts cannot be refused entry at a port and that crew can embark and disembark. However, governments have made changes to the rules inside their own country and some ports may not be as easy to get to as they were before. Potential delayed port clearance and refusal to embark or disembark, making it impossible to change crew, can complicate things in some instances. This also implies that it is impossible to reload on food, which could rapidly become a problem.

Wilhelmsen Ships has developed an interactive map which indicates current port restrictions around the world which will help you to prepare your route so that you are able to go to ground when you’ll need to.

Plan Ahead

It is important to be ready in case one of the crew memebrs would be suspected of suffering from the coronavirus. There should be a room prepared especially for this purpose where the individual can be isolated. You also need to imagine how food and waste management will be handled for this person, while they’ll be in quarantine. All the personnel on board should be aware of these rules, so that everyone can react quickly and in good order in the worst-case scenario.

What to Do to Protect Everyone

Everyone on board needs to wash their hands frequently using an alcohol-based rub or soap if the first is not available on the yacht. They should also avoid touching their face, especially close to the mouth, nose and eyes and keep in mind that gloves won’t help if they do not respect that simple rule.

The virus is passed on through the droplets that comes out of our mouth, so if you are about to sneeze or cough, do it on a flexed elbow or inside a tissue (if you have one). Blow and wipe your nose afterwards and throw away the used tissue right away. Keep a distance of at least one meter between everyone so that you reduce the possibility of being contaminated by someone else.

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