Alcohol at sea, is it time for a review?

Discussion in 'The Quarterdeck' started by angry_mac, Jul 22, 2013.

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  1. Im a drinker, I like my beer, getting pissed is fun, as some of you on here who actually know me can testify to this. But as I write this thread offshore on a Drillship, no beer for 4 weeks, I dont actually miss it. When I was serving, not so long ago, we were quite forthright in our defence to have beer at sea. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and all the shit i got into, the disrating, the nines/tens stoppage of leave etc was down to one thing, and that was ale.
    We've all got dits of such and such at sea turning up to go on watch shiters, some got caught, alot didnt, WE senior rates not being to get out of bed to fix a snag because they are mortalled :p
    First thing is first, Matelots arent sensible drinkers, they drink to get pissed. So do you think beer/spirits issue for everyone one wardroom down inclusive, should be stopped as soon as you leave the wall.
    Some of you will say typical ex matelot gobbing off, but now working in a dry environment, I really cant see the any positive argument for beer issue while underway, anyways its not like you simply cruise any where anymore, every working day is a continuos OST on our ships now. Beggars belief anyone's got time to smash in a crate of VAT in the dogs/first anymore.
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  2. TBH we never drank at sea on my last 3 boats although it was there if we wanted it. I see no reason to ban/bin it, more of an erosion of what small perks/light relief there is at sea these days.

    Just my opinion of course.
  3. I'm pretty sure this was discussed only a few weeks ago.

    I'm with Wreckage on this one. On boats it is/was there all the time, but due to the watchkeeping routines, most folk just didn't bother. BUT when 'Fall out from harbour stations' was piped - WAH HEY!!!!
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  4. As with you Mac I'm offshore in Iraq and dry for five weeks. Couldn't give two hoots. The client pays me nicely so not drinking IAW with their policy is a small price to pay.

    As for Pusser? Not sure. I think keep ale onboard at least for big nights ie channel night, crossing the line etc. Being small ships there wasn't much day to day pissing up at sea. Not sure how common it is on big ships now days????
  5. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    There was supposed to be a sea change in attitude to drink after 'the' HMS Illustrious gearbox fire in the mid/late eighties. The SSEP were sober but they needed some sober help. Some of the ship's company were so sleepy ( juniors, seniors, officers ) that Emergency Stations didn't get the response it should have. Some of those who did turn up were not selected to take over.

    If I am ship's company, as a rule, I don't drink at sea. I have had my immature moments but when one realises that one has to be sober to save ones own neck, let alone those of ones shipmates it becomes a no brainer.

    My cross-pol experience of the German Navy is that they don't drink at sea but in harbour, they like a scoop.

    I wouldn't buy a ticket for the outrage bus if booze was confined to alongside periods.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  6. In my later years we only drank alongside. Just not possible with watchkeeping duties ect.
    Im honestly surprised its lasted this long.
  7. Didnt drink at sea as I was mostly SSEP. Used to get someone to stand in for me if I fancied a beer. Didnt really miss it that much.
  8. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Personally I never drank at sea (not that I did a lot of sea time or was essential) but it was the principle and the fact that I was on a small metal box that could (and did) catch fire or have any one of numerous other snags.

    Just seems sensible to me to limit it. Then there is what seems to me, glancing at the latest courts martials, to be an increase in incidents onboard - does alcohol play a part there too?
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  9. As a SR I never bothered drinking ay sea, never saw the point in it. But alongside, boy could i wind one on. The last 2 ships I had the only SR's that bothered regularly were the engine room boys, and they only seem to have one or two. But it is nice to be treated like an adult have the option, and I left in 89.
  10. Mid 80s saw the change, Turbs apart for a few Back Afties (1 in 3 or better) the JRs Mess was dry at sea. Trench was was dry until "Fallout Harbour stations" the beers were already out and in your hand and cracked before the pipe had finished, Yehaar, party time.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  11. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    They should ban it at sea, in fact duty free should be banned too. Anyone caught drinking at sea should be flogged.

    There should be more bars in shore bases and they should open earlier, like the pubs do when there's an AFCO close-by. Burp.

  12. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    I've been done for being drunk ashore and drunk on board.

    I say dont change it, because, I think today's serviceman is better than we were and doesn't kick the arse out of it as much as we did.
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  13. As a young dabber officer I rarely drank at sea, simply because I was always on watch, going on watch, or coming off watch. On the rare occasions I got all night in I might have a pint, but then usually turn in straight after scran because I couldn't keep my eyes open. On the wall however....

    In the wardroom, the problem was the HODs more than anything. One ship in particular, no names, was particularly bad. The HoDs union had the bottles out every night at sea, and used to horse race/Mexican liar dice from the comfort of their arm chairs (think of a number for the uninitiated) the Lts and below who were dining at first scran to see who was paying their bar bill for the second sitting. This was in 2004, and pretty much nightly. We had one OoW who used to eat in the CO's steward's pantry every night before going on watch, because he got stitched more often than most....
  14. Being a Doc on small ships so on my own as we didn't have the luxury or an MO, once the ship left the wall I didn't partake until back along side. Been dragged out of my pit too many times to put someone back together in the middle of the night to even think about it. As for banning it out right whilst at sea ... not sure I'd go that far as never saw anyone go really mad and get pissed at sea but know it did happen.
  15. I for one did not bother drinking at sea. Out of 40 in our mess only 2 were regular boozers.
    Never were they pissed though. Mind you John smiths bitter was not the strongest of ales.
  16. If booze were completely banned at sea, I think it would just be an invitation for lads to get more blotto as soon as you get ashore. Look at the yanks as an example. No drinking at sea, but utter carnage while alongside.

    Having said that I agree there is a problem, I've seen young lads barely out of their teens essentially become alcoholics as a direct result of life down the mess. Likewise, we all know of promising careers that have been ruined by a few too many bevvies one night.

    Perhaps the 3 tin rule should be properly enforced or perhaps it's time for a complete culture change? The fridge system in mess decks is clearly open to abuse. On the Fort RFAs there is a bar instead of a mess, basically an onboard pub. Just like a real pub, rules are enforced by the barman, if you act the **** you get barred, if you're hammered, you won't get served another drink. People eventually grow tired of going every night and there is less pressure to get smashed all the time. It becomes more of a Friday/Saturday night kind of thing, just like in real life. If you don't show up to the pub one night, people don't tend to notice.

    On a warship, it's hard to get away from it if you are sleeping in the same place as where you piss up:

    "I'm just going to get my head down lads, mind keeping the noise down a bit?"

    "**** off you massive homo, come and have a few tins."

    "Oh OK then."

    Invariably you drink pretty much every night through peer pressure. The attitude is very much, 'if you can't beat them, join them.'
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  17. Forgot to say - I wouldn't ban it for all that. Except when it doesn't work, self-policing works ok, and is preferable to banning.

    I would enforce the 3 tin rule though - it's not like we don't all know it's going on, and where it's being hidden. I've seen some genuinely dangerous (and quite frightening in retrospect) things on Channel Nights from people who not only ought to know better, but are actually theoretically closed up on watch - all pre going outside in 2006 but not too long ago in the great scheme of things.

  18. What small ships was that? No MO? We didn't even have an MA! I was it!! Winner.
  19. Type 42's - was lucky enough to have the Sick Bay to myself! But yeah ... taught enough XO's / Coxns the abridged MO's course in my time.

    Did a stint on Lindisfarne (about '88) teaching a first aid course whilst at sea to the FA party ... picked it up at Aberdeen and deposited ashore in Stornaway a week later! Happy Daze ... and I was ... in a daze ... waiting for the plane at Stornaway! Did I say something about not drinking at sea!
  20. Small ships! Ha. Brilliant!

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