Law of the Sea-The Maiatla Articles

The floging

Maiatla’s Articles                                                        Sept- 2015

Please read the following Ship’s Articles carefully. Once signed they are part of a binding agreement between you and S.V. Maiatla and her owners.

As is the custom aboard any vessel that sails upon the sea, the ship’s rules and operating procedures are set down and enforced by the vessel’s captain for the safety of both the crew and the vessel. These rules must be strictly adhered to.

Sailing offshore can be a potentially dangerous endeavour; environmental conditions, weather and even marine life can threaten a vessel the size of Maiatla and when help, if there is any available, may be days or even weeks away, it is imperative that the crew be as self-sufficient and as professional as is practically possible.

A ship is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship and the ship’s captain has the ultimate authority over the vessel and the crew that sail her. The captain alone bares the responsibility for the vessel and all aboard.

Below is a list of ships rules, and what is required of anyone that sails aboard Maiatla and by signing these ships articles, you agree to abide by these rules and to follow the direction of the ship’s captain or his appointed representative without question or argument. It is also understood that the captain retains the right to change the sailing schedule (start and finish dates, ports of call and destinations) of a particular voyage, if in his opinion, the safety of the vessel or crew may be in danger.


  • There are no passengers aboard Maiatla; all who sign aboard her will agree to participate actively as crew. General duties may include one or all of the following.
  1. Sailing of the vessel, sail handling on deck during whatever the weather.
  2. Standing watch at the helm during designated watch, duration of 4 or 6 hours, (Usually with a partner).
  3. Watch will be kept 24 hours per day, for the duration of the voyage.
  4. At the discretion of the captain, watches may also be kept while at anchor or even dockside if he deems it necessary.
  5. Cooking, cleaning and general ship’s maintenance will be required.

The captain will attempt to run a happy and safe ship and divide watches, duties and responsibilities equitably between all crewmembers. Every attempt will be made to make the voyage interesting, challenging, and enjoyable, while keeping in mind that this is an open sea voyage and there are likely to be times when crew members encounter rough, heavy weather, or physically frightening situations which must be dealt with on an individual basis.

  • While standing watch at the helm, the crewman will wear a life harness and be secured to the vessel at all times, day or night
  • Crew who must leave the cockpit to work on deck shall also be required to wear a harness and be secured to the “jack lines” which run fore and aft.
  • No crew member will leave the cockpit to work on deck unless a second crew member is in the cockpit and watching.
  • No crewmember will alter the ships heading or sail plan without first consulting the captain.
  • If a ship is sighted, either visually or on the radar, the captain is to be immeadently notified.
  • The use or possession of illegal drugs, contraband or substances while on board or ashore is strictly forbidden and violation of this article will result in the immediate removal of the offender who may be turned over to local authorities and or left to their own resources to find their own way home. Illegal activities within a foreign country by members of the crew put the vessel in danger of being impounded and the captain of being arrested.
  • Each crewmember agrees to abide and respect all local laws, ordinances and customs.
  • The captain reserves the right to expel any crew member from the vessel for what ever reason he deems fit. If a crew member exhibits socially unacceptable, physically violent behaviour or is uncooperative in regard to the agreed common goals of the ship, they will be put ashore at the nearest port to be repatriated to a place of their choosing, at their own expense. If asked to leave under the above circumstances you agree by signing this agreement not to seek redress or sue for any real or imagined damages.

(10) The crewmember will assume all financial responsibility for their personal expenses and as well as the cost of their return flights and expenses and post their own personal bonds if a country requires them. (bonds usually amount the cost of a one-way plane fare home and are refundable if unused.)

(11) At his discretion, the captain has the right to search all areas of the vessel for contraband, which includes any personal belongs brought aboard Maiatla.

(12)  Due to the limited space aboard; it is paramount that all the crew respect each other’s personal space and belongings. This consideration includes limiting noise, music which may disturb off watch crewmembers who may be sleeping after a night watch.

(13) Prior to departure or joining the vessel in transit, the crewmember will provide proof of financial solvency, in the form of cash, travelers cheques or return plane tickets. The captain may request to hold the funds or tickets in the ship’s strong box for safe keeping. Proof of health travel insurances and vaccinations will also be required.

(14) Each crewmember must produce a valid passport and other identification, which will not expire within six months of departure.

(15). The crewmember also agrees that the owners of Maiatla my take and use any photographs or video to be used in any manner the owners deem fit. This use may include magazine articles or in published books. The crewmember also understands that as a member of the crew, he/she may be depicted or characterized in literature in any books or magazine articles that may be written and published by the owners related to this voyage.

(16).  It is the crewmembers responsibility to inform the captain prior to departure, of any medical condition or prescription medication that they are on or conditions that may limit the crewmembers ability to perform his or her tasks. It is also the crewmembers responsibility to carry original doctor’s prescriptions for all medications in possession of any crewmember that can be presented to foreign immigration officials.

(Don’t assume just because a prescription drug is legal in Canada it is legal in other countries!)

I have read and agree to carry out the above Ship’s Articles.

Signed: _____________________________ Date: ____________________





Additional information for Crew.


For Central American destinations, certain medical precautions must be taken to prevent contracting tropical diseases. Malaria, hepatitis A&B , Dengue and Yellow Fever. Just to name a few. You must check with a medical travel clinic  4 to 6 weeks before your voyage for the latest recommendations. Nasty bugs and parasites that your body may never have encountered before abound in the tropics. Protect yourself!

Although we respect an individuals right to make their own choices regarding the potential risks of shots verses no shots, all crew will be asked to take whatever precautions we deem necessary. You of course do have the right to refuse, just as we have the right to not let you board the vessel for a cruise. If one of our crew contracted an debilitating or fatal disease on one of our voyages, we would have a hard time living with that. Be safe….get shot!

Use of the Head.

  • The vessels’ head ( Toilet ) is connected directly to the ocean and improper use can result in the flooding of the vessel. Each crew member will be instructed in its use prior to its use. Printed instructions are also placed upon the bulkhead as a reminder. Only the provided toilet paper shall be placed in the bowl along with what comes naturally. No foreign object such as Q tips, paper towels or feminine hygiene products shall be flushed. Anyone who plugs the toilet will be required to dismantle the unit to clear any obstruction, the captain will be happy to coach you through the operation as he has done it far too many times.

Recommend Personal Gear:

  • PFD c/w “pea-less” whistle and strobe light
  • Best available/affordable high seas jacket and bib-pants (Helly Hansen, etc.), sea-boots, gloves, cowl.
  • Several peaked caps (Ball caps-you’ll lose one)
  • Sun Glasses two pair. UV treated (Same reason as above.)
  • Synthetic fleece vest/shirt/jacket/pants
  • “Tilly”-type, quick wash/dry underwear
  • Bedding will be provided.
  • Large “zip-lock” bags to keep underwear, sox, etc., dry
  • Water-proof bag for valuables (wallet, passport, etc.) and your own “ditch bag”
  • “MP3 player, reading material and journal
  • Bring a small day pack or belly pouch for shore excursions.
  • All should fit in one, soft, sea bag. No rigid frame bags with wheels!
  • Cell Phones double nicely as a Music player, however the charging of such devices may be limited. Unlocked phones capable of taking a CHIP is handy as “Pay as you Plans” can usually be purchased cheap in most third world countries.  With a local phone number you can call taxis or other crew if you get separated in a crowded market. (I’m over by the Oxen with the live monkey on its back!) , If you do not have a local plan, make sure your phone is either off or in Air Plane mode. A phone left on as you sail down the coast will hit every tower within range, racking up large roaming charges back warned.

Self Quartermastering:

  • Individual packages of instant oatmeal, hot chocolate,
    soups and juice crystals (if desired)
  • S/S thermos bottle and coffee mug, (Avoid glass or porcelain)
  • Ginger snap cookies & ginger candies (known for anti-seasickness qualities)
  • Sea sick remedies even if you think you will not need them.

Personal Medic Kit:

  • Sea Sick pills/potion/rabbits foot.
  • Good medi-scissors, tweezers and magnifying glass
  • Hot/cold compress, butterfly bandages, elastoplasts roll
  • Lip balm, skin lotion, after-shower talcum mixture
  • Topical anesthetic pads.

Other “Stuff”:

  • Binoculars, a cheap watch (Timex- leave any good ones at home) and a camera, alarm clock, flashlight & extra batteries. Antiseptic hand soap & nail brush. Perhaps a few “trading goods” – use your imagination.

Upon Arrival at the Vessel:

  • Aside from the usual safety familiarization and with the skipper’s permission, check all the rigging possible to familiarize yourself, check all pad eyes, shackles, shackle pins, winches, blocks, sail tracks and reefing gear – even fresh from the shipyard, pins & bolts can be the wrong size/material, loose or missing. Insist on practicing reefing and head-sail changes. A “shake-down” cruise in home waters is essential.
  • Make a diagram of all thru-hull fittings (where they are) and go find them – also rudder shaft fitting and propeller shaft fitting/stuffing box. FIND AND KNOW WHERE ALL THE HOLES IN THE BOAT ARE.
  • Find and examine all hand-holds (and other fittings/fixtures that you may grab), especially around the galley and in the head, to ensure they will take your weight when being tossed about.
  • Snoop around, see what’s in every closet, hand hold and locker. If you see a piece of equipment or tool and don’t know what it is used for, ask!
  • Report ANYTHING to the skipper that doesn’t “feel” right or don’t understand and GET RESOLUTION with him to allay any future doubts or determine a course of action, in advance, for those feelings.

Weird Stuff:

  • Do not present yourself or your abilities with any exaggeration but do emphasize any particular abilities or talents you have confidence in.
  • Needless to say, privacy on any yacht is at a premium and in the tropics, nudity is not uncommon-(sometimes it’s too hot to wear a smile) this applies to both sexes and can be troublesome if not fully confronted – if you’ve got any “hang-ups” about either, ask and clear the air. We don’t want to create an uncomfortable environment for anyone so if seeing nude sunbathing causes you a problem say something so some ground rules can be set in an effort to best accommodate everyone.
  • Additional feed-back:
  • Never have a rigid time schedule – the ways of the sea are not timely as weather, a great anchorage (or beach bar), breakdowns/repairs, etc. can eat into schedules. And, trying to keep a schedule usually coincides with s#*t happening.
  • You’ll never have too much money or enough credit resources – just don’t flaunt large amounts or how to access your private stash. Yep, I’ve seldom met a sailor who cruised “under budget” or purposely missed the bargain of the century in some foreign port.
  • Get fit and keep fit – the vessel will be constantly moving and so will muscles you never thought you had. Legs, arms, upper body and, believe it or not, some internal organs (your intestines are muscles, too). Therefore, bowel movements (or lack of them) aren’t necessarily only affected by anxiety, diet and the sea’s motion if you’re trying to diagnose an uncomfortable feeling – usually tummies settle down after 3 or 4 days.
  • Hydration…drinking water is something often overlooked when you’re surrounded by the stuff. Make sure you drink enough, at least 3 litres/day, ideally 4+ litres aboard  Maiatla we have a 200 gallon a day watermaker but the rule is to conserve water at all times, you will need the captain’s permission to take a shower. While at sea a full shower is usually possible every couple of days augmented daily by sink baths. Although choosing to shower is typically left up to the individual, if 75% of the crew vote that you need a shower, you will take one or run the risk of being thrown over for a swim with a bar of soap.
  • Attitude is EVERYTHING. Your new shipmates may include strangers with their own “baggage”, ambitions and skills – always look for the best in everybody and be prepared for the sharing of deepest secrets – and hearing the most outrageous lies/lives’ stories – when huddled in the cockpit or under starry skies.
  • Above all, especially for neophytes (and sailors with notoriously short memories), remember that as romanticized as sailing is, you WILL find discomfort, fear and a hankering for terra firma at some time or another. This will be offset by finding personal strength in challenging your surroundings, overcoming fears and, perhaps, falling hopelessly in love with the sea, its’ shores and our fragile, beautiful world.

Finally, remember that the boat represents a large financial investment to the owners – The cost you pay to join the vessel is insignificant in comparison to the time, effort and money Janet and I have invested in Maiatla and to what it took to get the boat where it is. We are not a flop house for someone to get a cheap vacation. Maiatla is our home and as crew, we trust you will treat it with respect.

Andrew & Janet Gunson of S.V. Maiatla.


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