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Old 06-07-2009, 12:40   #76
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It's real simple.

Would you trust your life to the person sitting across from you?

Until you can answer that question with an unequivocal 'YES' you need to do whatever it takes for 'YOU' to be able to say 'YES'. If you don't think you're 'qualified' then get someone who is to do it for you.

But, here's a little multiple choice test any 'unqualified' and 'untrained' person can take:

Which of the following people would you select to accompany you as crew on a 3 week voyage from Texas to the Virgin Islands.

A) The person who is slouching in the chair, blood shot eyes with their arms folded across their chest.

B) The person Sitting up leaning towards you with dilated pupils and appears to be looking through you at the wall behind you.

C) The person sitting up straight smiling sweating and tapping their fingers rapidly on the arm rest of the chair.

D) None of the above.

Right! Congratulations! And you haven't even had FBI training!
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Old 06-07-2009, 14:05   #77
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Originally Posted by cosmosmariner View Post
... If a potential crew member is under that much stress being interviewed for the position I wouldn't take them. What will they do under real stress of a storm in the Gulf Stream? Not worth the chance...
... As far as training to interview it isn't that hard..some people do it better than others that's all...
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Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter View Post
... it can be difficult to detect deception. In fact (and this has been studied, a lot), for every day people, the accuracy is quite poor, even when given training. Even with well trained professionals (FBI/Secret Service agents, homicide detectives, judges, psychologists, etc.) who spend years doing the work, the accuracy rate rarely exceeds 60% and is most often only somewhat better than chance. For regular folks, the accuracy is usually slightly worse than chance. In other words, unless you're one of those trained professionals, relying on those tips may very lead you to make the wrong conclusion...
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Don’t rely on too much on the obvious (macro) tells. They’re too easy to fake, and fairly difficult to detect.

Ie:
I’m a naturally “fidgety” person, who generally can’t sit/stand still.
I’m among the first, of any typical group, to break a sweat.
I often agonize over inconsequential/routine decisions, mentally playing “this & that” scenarios (weighing alternatives, of which I can imagine a lot).

Notwithstanding, I & those that know me well, consider me a cool, composed, imperturbable, and quick decision maker “under pressure”.

Should I be interested in “selling” you, I doubt that I’d fail the fidget test. I know how to assume an open position, leaning back to demonstrate ease; leaning forward to demonstrate interest, making eye contact to demonstrate honesty, and mimicking your posture, actions & words to generate empathy. Such macro techniques are all covered in basic sales training, and fairly well-known to the general populace.

More difficult to control & conceal are the various micro tells, some of which were described in my earlier links.

Maggie is an excellent judge of character, I’m not.
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Old 06-07-2009, 14:40   #78
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Faking it is not the point here. Any psychotic could do that too. If you pass the 'fidget test' you only earn the right to go on to round two, questioning the candidate about their resume and references. As I said it is a phased process. And then round three, the on the water.

I know 2 sailing instructors both certified by a nationally recognized organization. Both instructors have 100 ton Coast Guard licenses. Both have been training sailors for over 20 years. Sounds like a no brain-er, right? I wouldn't take either one of them on board my boat for an extended voyage. The reason is that while they have a lot of 'credentials' they have no real experience. Neither one has ever been out of sight of land, neither one has ever sailed through a storm steering, reefing, navigating or entered an inlet at night.

I know one other person who has a 100 ton coast guard license. I talked to him for 2 minutes about what VHF radio to get. He didn't know for sure what channel 16 was used for. Hearing that I asked him a few other questions about his boat and where he had sailed. In less than 5 minutes I knew that he had no real practical experience outside of day sailing, no matter what he told the Coast Guard. Now when someone tells me in casual conversation that they have a Coast Guard license I say 'Very nice, what have you done?

In one case of the instructors it took an on the water experience to find out the truth. In the case of the other instructor it only took one question. And in the case of the 100 tonner it took less than 5 minutes.

I'll say this one more time. Use every means necessary to get a YES to the question 'Would I trust my life to the person sitting across from me?' And again, if you don't have the experience to evaluate the answers you get from the candidate then get someone who does to do the interview for you.
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Old 06-07-2009, 15:16   #79
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That's all very well, but..........

.....I would figure that anyone willing to crew for someone (and family?) who could have very good reasons for living away from mainstream society..........and may also have sailing and navigational skills that have relied heavily on lady luck. who also provides the maintanence.........would probably need to have a few screws loose .
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Old 06-07-2009, 15:24   #80
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That's all very well, but..........

.....I would figure that anyone willing to crew for someone (and family?) who could have very good reasons for living away from mainstream society..........and may also have sailing and navigational skills that have relied heavily on lady luck. who also provides the maintanence.........would probably need to have a few screws loose .
Perhaps we're saying it takes one to know one?

Ocean Girl thanks for starting this. I think a lot of good food for thought has been shared. I've said all I have to say on this topic so I think I'll duck over to one of the other threads like electrical maintenance or maybe that one about Rum, that sounds pretty good right now.
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Old 06-07-2009, 15:42   #81
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Perhaps we're saying it takes one to know one?
Certainly helps

Just trying to point out that their are challenges for each party. And perhaps following the risk (threat?!) assessment one should also consider risk management (what you would actually do if a crew / skipper goes fruit loop whilst offshore).
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Old 06-07-2009, 15:45   #82
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ID,

So, as a psychologist, is there anything you could do quickly to determine if a person were not sane? Something that a normal person would be able to take but would make an insane person instantly snap? I've got lots of ideas, but really want a professional opinion. I'm not sure what it would be, maybe inviting the perspective crew into an elevator, hitting the emergency halt button when the door closes and then screaming at the top of your lungs "Have you ever m@sterbated!?!" I probably just got kicked off the forum for this one.

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As a psychologist, I'm finding this discussion of crew selection and interactions quite interesting. Like Dave, I've been fortunate in never having to have a stranger as crew (other than for day sails, and that really doesn't count). That is obviously not the case for lots of people and I could see a circumstance arise where I might have to personally consider it. If I were looking at having someone aboard for an extended period, I'd have no hesitation at using all the tools at my disposal to help me in picking someone. Those tools are considerable and include the availability of things like criminal background checks as well as psychological testing and many years of experience in clinical interviewing. However, short of sending prospective crew for psych evals, does anyone know of such a service for crew selection generally available? I've not seen one, but then again, I haven't looked, either.

I do think that a screening tool could be developed. It would take awhile and would require lots of help from the consumers (captains and crew). The CF group would be a great group to work with to develop it. We're really talking about developing a psychological test and that involves a number of steps. The constructs of interest must be identified (that can be done with a survey of captains and crew). Items are then written to try and capture those constructs. The alpha version is then administered to a development sample (which would really need to be at least 100 people, assuming a test that wasn't real long). The results from that are analyzed to weed out items that don't work and improve items that do. You give the beta to another sample and obtain reliability numbers. Then, the hard part comes: You have the data from the sample crew, but then you need to get ratings from the captains about how the sample crew actually performed. That is essential to determine the validity of the scale (does it actually measure what it is intended to measure).

Obviously, this is a fairly ambitious undertaking. Would there actually be serious interest among sailors to actually use it? There would have to be some sort of cost associated with it and since sailors are notoriously cheap, would they actually pay it? What sort of cost would be reasonable such people would use it?

What do you think?

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Old 06-07-2009, 15:49   #83
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Old 06-07-2009, 22:16   #84
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Having worked on a psych ward (no a number of them) for many years, I would say that you probably deal with people that have problems that are medicated every day. Odds are that people responding to this thread have had problems during their life. Its not a us and them situation, rather we as human beings need to understand that almost everyone will need help sometime in their life. People come in all shades of grey, with the grunters and rockers perhaps a little farther out of the norm.
I believe that getting to know someone is the best way to find if they will work on your boat. Take your time, and have genuine interest in who they are. The suggestions here (talk to so's, friends etc are good ideas)
But the bottom line is that I rarely take anyone for crew, so maybe I am not qualified to make this choice.- I generally just say "no". But I don't mind soloing either. In fact, I would go far enough to say for me if I could not take the time to be sure of my crew I should be willing to sail alone.That would apply also if I signed up to crew. If I knew someone wasn't right, I would leave before we left port.
Back to the above scenarios...Should I carry major tranquilizers in my medical bag? How can you tell if someone is going to get psychotic? Well- I do not think you can. Even "normal" people can snap in the open seas. If you have lots of experience- like Erika, I would say that you are a good bet, but who really knows. So drugs, restraints, etc? I am licensed to do so, but a hospital is the proper place for those things in our society, not a boat. I generally do not let other sailors know I was a nurse now a MD. It messes with the karma on the boat. So I think I will just keep on being careful, and do what anyone with common sense would do. Trust your gut and that little voice inside of you.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:37   #85
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Well you have let the cat out of the bag Newt, now everybody knows your secret. The question I have always had is "Who decides what the 'norm' is?" I didn't do well in my beginning psychology class.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:00   #86
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Which of the following people would you select to accompany you as crew on a 3 week voyage from Texas to the Virgin Islands.
A) The person who is slouching in the chair, blood shot eyes with their arms folded across their chest.
Having just looked in the mirror, I may have a problem with myself here
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:33   #87
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Wow, what an interesting thread, so many things here I never thought about. Being on a small boat at sea with someone going bonkers is really scary.

We had an Commodore (4 bar Captain that was CO of a Destroyer Squadron,) that was such an ass he would not go out on the decks of his flagship at night alone. I do not think anyone in the crew would toss him, but the it was "hunorously" discussed. That was on a Destroyer, 235 men and officers, so a small boat with a nutso on board could really be dangerous. I never really thought about it b4.

I did get drunk one night and come back to the ship with a bag of pachinko balls and pour them in the AC vent next to his stateroom. I never admitted to that until AFTER I WAS DISCHARGED. Every time that ship would roll, so would the balls. I bet, now that Pakastan has the Bradley , renamed her, that they never got all those balls out.. He would be on the bridge bitchin and I would just smile. Funny, he always looked tired after that.
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:07   #88
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I believe that getting to know someone is the best way to find if they will work on your boat. Take your time, and have genuine interest in who they are. The suggestions here
Newt, this is one trait that few people practice anymore. Taking a genuine interest in someone else. I am the worst offender, to rushed in lifes business to stop and look at someone intently and listen.
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Old 07-07-2009, 22:22   #89
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LOL- well Capt 58, I am not too worried about the feline and the bag, as if anyone calls me "newt" when I come into port, I will just look at them funny, change tacks and set sail. I don't think even the shipwrights that work on my boat know who I am, to them I am just a nondiscript guy to comes up with checks at the right time. I like it that way. It allows me to observe people as they really are, because they are not putting on airs for me. Once they think I am important, then all types of funny stuff seems to hit the fan. That stuff is alot harder to figure out. On the other hand...
If you see a old Valiant launch a water balloon across your bow...
Rigamarole- thank you for the complement. After 30 years of working with people, I still have to remember to slow down, smile and look them in the eye. I think we all really care, we just forget that time spent is often the best way to show it.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:11   #90
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Mule,
I spent 20yr's in the canoe club, mostly in San Diego. I think it would be pretty funny to have a item / blog here asking people "Funny thing's I did in the Navy".
One of the item's we did to a REAL HORSES A** (officer) who when ever he came into CIC, he would yell and scream at the radar operator's on watch for things that were so small, it was hard think when he was around. After about 3 months into a Westpac deployment, we started to notice that when ever he came in, he would almost always either set his hat down or something else he was carrying, so what the on watcxh would do is put a postit note down where he placed his item and write the Lat & Long on it as to where were were at the time and deep six his stuff. Don't get me wrong, I know it wasn't the correct thing to do, but when your 19 yrs old you don't think like you would at say 30. None of his items that were removed cost too much, it was just our way of getting back at this BIG A** HOLE someway.

PS: needless to say, after about three weeks of him asking if anyone has sceen his stuff, he stopped coming into CIC, except to go one watch.
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