Cadet engineer studying in the privacy of his cabin. Lower ranking crew cabins are shared

Cadet engineer studying in the privacy of his cabin. Lower ranking crew cabins are shared

“It is advisable not to lock your cabin doors when you go to bed.”

On first hearing this remark I felt a bit disturbed. After all, how do I maintain my privacy? When I have just recently joined a ship, many of the people on board will usually be strangers to me. Can I trust the people who are traveling with me?

Traveling on board ship can be said to be pretty restrictive.

Imagine being adrift in the middle of the vast ocean, with only about 20000 square meters of walking space available. I should, however, be thankful that I work in the Engine Department, where I get to move around to practically any nook and corner on the ship, even to spaces that ordinary seafarers do not have permission to enter.

Alleyways separate the sea-facing cabins from the engine room at the center of the ship

Alleyways separate the sea-facing cabins from the engine room at the center of the ship

A catering staff may be confined to only the accommodation spaces because other places may be too dangerous to enter. And there will be areas that could jeopardize the safety of the ship if unauthorized people are allowed enter indiscriminately.

And then, the spaces we have, had to be shared by all the people on board that ship. Well, it’s good for teambuilding, that we share everything, but it can be something like a chicken coop, where the occupants fight for space.

Now what is the rationale behind keeping our cabin doors unlocked?

If you are a sound sleeper, it makes sense. Emergencies can happen anytime, although the chances of the ship colliding with another ship or a rock are very slim in the middle of the vast ocean. Still, the advice is meant for saving lives.

What shall we do with a drunken sailor...? How to wake him up in an emergency?

What shall we do with a drunken sailor…? How to wake him up in an emergency?

There are times when seafarers get drunk, or have turned on the music in their cabins so loud that they are not aware of any alarms, emergencies or announcements on the Public Address System. If you bang on their door, they are totally unaware of it, so engrossed are they in their own private little corner on the ship.

So if the cabin doors can be opened easily, it is a simple matter to alert anyone for any emergency.

It’s our choice to lock or to unlock. Which one is safer?