Monday, 17 October 2011

Paint Ship

How often have you heard that our ships are held together by held together by paint and duct tape? Well, the truth of the matter is that this is not too much of an exaggeration. A common saying about the ship is "If it moves, salute it, if it doesn't, paint it" really rings true. Upper deck maintenance is a frequent task throughout any working day and frequently you will see sailors out with a can of paint.
Now, we all know that the proper way to paint is to wash the surface down, sand and feather the edges, prime,
then the paint goes down.

Well, as sailors are all very busy, sometimes a few steps have been know to be skipped, like all of them save the final one. Hey, the rust will be there tomorrow to do this all again, what is the worry?

There is also a proper day to do painting. This day is generally recognized by the sky clear of clouds and this day defiantly does not have the letters SUN prefixing the day. Sometimes, the overzealous forget about what constitutes a good day for painting. Case in point, one SUNday in the mid Atlantic, the ship I was sailing was steaming bravely to the Azores. The Captain came up to the bridge and decided it was a proper day to apply color topping - a thin oil based paint, to the deck. He turned the the Buffer and said "BUFFER, paint the deck". The Buffer looked at him and said, "Sir, its Sunday, the men deserve the day off."
"Buffer, paint the deck"
Buffer looked at the radar screen and saw all of these lovely puffy clouds being painted on the screen
"Sir, the clouds..."
"Aye Aye Sir"
The Buffer set out to accomplish the crazy bastard <read into that - CAPTAIN> orders.
We all got out and painted, watching those lovely, fluffy clouds watch us.

When the final stroke of the brush was finished, the clouds said "CHARGE" and set to chase us
Captain saw the clouds and ordered full speed
Clouds said "homey don't think so" overtook us and dumped. We ended up with this dark paint  spashed everywhere and had it running down the sides of the ship. 4 hours of work on a Sunday afternoon, gone.
We were some unhappy
The crazy bastard decided to remain in his cabin until we got to the Azores.

The first task when we got to the Azores?
Come on, I am sure you can guess....

And that is all about painting in the Royal Canadian Navy

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