SEA Currents: News
May 26, 2020
Life aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, alongside at Dyers Dock
After the SEA Semester’s Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean program (C-290) ended in St. Croix in March, a professional crew returned the SSV Corwith Cramer to Woods Hole, where it arrived April 18th. Since then, the ship and a small crew have been alongside at Dyers Dock, making the ship ready for its next voyage, when the time is right. Captain Kevin Murray is the master of the ship. We asked him about daily life aboard the Cramer.
Q: How many crewmembers are currently on the ship, and who are they?
A: There are 13 of us on board. We have a mixture of sailors, scientists, engineers, and stewards. Quite a few of us are alums, including me! (S-218)
Q: Please describe a typical day aboard the ship. How do the crew stay occupied, what do they do for recreation?
A: There is a natural routine to shipboard life. We have put into place thoughtful protocols to keep the crew aboard safe but that hasn’t disrupted our typical work day. Cramer is designed to be quite self-sufficient. We have breakfast at 0730 followed by our morning meeting at 0800 to discuss the plan for the day. Morning snack still comes out promptly at 1000. We gather back up at 1230 for lunch, back to work at 1300 and our day concludes with chores, end of day meeting and snack at 1600. Dinner is at 1830. In between all of the delicious meals the stewards department prepares, we are hard at work in all departments taking care of Cramer.
In order to keep morale up, we have a designated morale officer who comes up with all sorts of events for the crew. Dance lessons and “10 minute abs” workouts happen almost daily on the quarterdeck! Whist and other card games are another way we spend our evenings. We are also using this opportunity to teach each other all sorts of things. There is a celestial navigation class this afternoon that everyone is looking forward to!
Q: What are some of the maintenance projects that the crew has been working on?
A: We have a variety of carpentry projects on board to keep Cramer’s living spaces a welcome home for the next group of students that join the Ship. Some of these include repairing our gimbled tables in the main salon and adding some extra shelving in student bunks. We have a routine annual Coast Guard inspection (COI) coming up and we are diligently inspecting and exercising all our safety equipment in anticipation of that. There are also a variety of engineering and bosunry projects
Q: What steps do you take to stay safe from coronavirus? What lessons have you learned?
A: Before we started this maintenance period a lot thought went into making it as safe as possible. Before joining the ship, the crew agreed to self-isolate and monitor their vitals for 14 days. The way in which people got to the ship was also a big consideration. Normally we have crew from all over the country join the ship, this time we limited it to those that lived within a few hours drive.
Cramer is designed to cross oceans and be self-sufficient. Those same features have allowed us to be isolated from Woods Hole while dockside. If we need things from off the ship, someone from the office will go out and get them for us. The only people coming aboard are the crew. We are keeping our bubble as small as possible. We have a strict cleaning regime that involves sanitizing all heavily touched surfaces 4 times a day in addition to our typical cleaning routine.
A lesson that I have taken away from this is the importance of clear guidelines and communication. To effectively keep the crew safe we all need to be on the same page with the latest guidance from Federal, State, and Local officials and how we are implementing it.