Compiling a ‘Bible’ for the Interior Team

Written by Clair Minto

Written by Clair Minto

Until yacht crew gain psychic powers, here’s why an interior bible will be your best friend.

Stepping aboard a new vessel can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it’s made infinitely easier if there is a comprehensive interior manual in place with all the information needed to make your department run like a dream.

If there’s no handbook waiting for you, or it’s not comprehensive enough, then here’s your first job. But don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting it together all at once, the best approach is to take your time. 

First, you need to prioritise the information needed, and I recommend the following:

Owner and Guest Preferences/Cheat sheets
Things like: how they like their coffee, which brand of vodka they prefer, if they keep anything onboard, allergies, medication, music preferences and pretty much everything you know about them. You can keep adding and updating this as things change. 

Also important to add to this is guest protocol, how do you address each guest on board? Are there certain things that they do or don’t like done? For example, Mrs A only likes her cabin turned up after she has returned and had a shower. Mr B does not like his desk to be touched at all by the stews.

An inventory for each little stew hidey hole that you have on board and where that particular area is. Once these are done it is then easy(ish!) to keep them updated or assign a stew to keep on top of each one.

Instructions for Equipment
We’ve all encountered a temperamental AV system… How many times has something broken down or had a light flashing, and it’d be great if you could just reach for the instructions without searching high or low and then ending up googling it anyway?! Even better if you have time to do a quick cheat sheet with pictures.

Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures 

Laundry guidelines should include information on the system for guest laundry as well as the system for crew laundry and crew bedding. Which laundry products are used and if there are any exceptions also needs to be detailed, and any notes specific to your vessel, for example, napkins and tablecloths are to be hung dry only and not put in the dryer. Reminders about checking pockets and washing guest items separately are also useful. 

Service guidelines would consist of points such as how each meal is served and setup. For example, is lunch always buffet style? Is breakfast always served on the aft deck? Pictures of previous setups and example table decoration are particularly useful, especially if your owners are quite minimal, or the opposite!

Housekeeping guidelines should cover how to complete turn ups/turn downs, a pre arrival checklist, departure day checklist, and cheat sheets on which materials are on board and which products are to be used for these. Reminders such as using drop cloths underneath products, which areas to double check, and the way the cabins are named/numbered can be a help.

SOP’s specific to the yacht, such as operational areas that are guest adjacent so require extra stealth-like silence, can really help life run smoothly. Some boats have a radio protocol (double click?!) and cheat sheets for daily snack setups or how to order flowers (e.g you always need two low arrangements no more than a certain diameter, with preferred flower types or colours if applicable). 

And don’t forget to include the supplier information – An up-to-date list of who you use and/or where you last purchased the main items on board can save future crew lots of headaches and email searching. On one yacht I worked on, we lost our email account and didn’t have as much information written down as we should, losing valuable knowledge and causing unnecessary stress all round!

There are many ways to go about compiling the information that you have gathered. Perhaps keep all the main information that any stew would need together with a welcome page so that you can pass this on to any new hires.  Maybe keep all inventories, with a cover page together and backed up on a hard drive as well as a paper copy for easy reference.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, as you go along you will keep finding and honing the information that is included. But just imagine stepping on board and having all of this valuable information at your fingertips. Hopefully the head of department on your next vessel is doing exactly the same for you!


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