Apr 5, 2023 by Alene Keenan
The interior team’s job of organizing for a refit begins long before the yacht hits the yard.
Whether a boat is in the shipyard for maintenance, repair, renovation or refit, owners and captains have many decisions to make — decisions that require planning and scheduling well ahead of time, as well as creating extensive work lists and budgets.
For the interior team, organizing can begin months ahead of time, while the boat is still in service. Arrange for carpet cleaners, marble polishers, and outfitting suppliers early. Use damage and replacement records to create a project management punch list. Depending on time and budget, projects may be scrapped until the next yard period, or new ones may get added along the way.
Clear the way
- Protecting all surfaces and preventing any obstacles for contractors is the first priority for stews. To get started, take photos room by room to document how they are set up for reference when everything gets put back together at the end of the yard period.
- Be aware of which bilges and areas will be accessed and plan accordingly. For example, if you know that the tanks under beds are going to be accessed, prep cabins appropriately.
- Clear and clean tables, countertops, and other flat surfaces. before protecting and covering them. Use the correct tape so no paint or finish is damaged. Have someone do touch-ups at the end of the period if needed.
- Keep in mind areas that could sweat or collect water and check for humidity regularly to prevent damage to walls and surfaces.
- Cover and protect mattresses and flooring in every cabin. Coordinate with carpet cleaners to clean guest and crew mattresses annually.
- If deck cushions and covers will be moved inside for storage or stored off the boat, label them appropriately.
Store service items
- This is a good time to go through all service and décor items. Photograph and update inventories. Compile a list of breakage from the last season and order replacements.
- Inventory all dishware, glassware, and flatware. Handle carefully and wear gloves to prevent fingerprints.
- If fragile items are being moved off the boat, pack and label them carefully.
- Rotate pieces to ensure even wear. Make sure everything is clean and polished before stowing.
- Use foam or felt protectors between all plates and chargers. Store silver cutlery, trays, and service items in anti-tarnish fabric.
- Clean and detail all salt and pepper shakers.
- Photograph and inventory table linens and décor items where they are stored to be sure all items are returned to their proper place.
- Sort linens and check for stains to be treated. Rotate stock for even wear.
- Arrange storage space for any new or replacement items.
Clean and protect
- Valuables should be accounted for and removed for safekeeping.
- If the boat is on the hard, air conditioning may be an issue. Wine and artwork must be kept at a constant temperature and humidity, so make proper arrangements for storage. Consult your insurance agent or an art conservator if needed.
- Check and maintain items left on board regularly for moisture or mold.
- Clean ice machines and refrigerators not in use.
- Maintain sinks, drains, toilets, and showers as directed to keep the systems in good condition.
- Spa bathtubs need to be run with jets to keep them clean and prevent mold buildup.
- Launder bed linens and towels and store them properly.
- Cover and protect all owners’ clothing and shoes with breathable materials to prevent mold or moisture damage. Discovering a closet full of Jimmy Choo or John Lobb shoes covered in mold is a heart-stopper.
Inventory and update
- Inventory items as you go. Bag and label all pillows and soft goods.
- Inventory food or beverages being removed from the boat and create a replacement list.
- Check all sunscreen, over-the-counter medications, canned food, and dry goods for expiration. Make a list of items to be discarded and replaced.
- Inventory and organize bilges, storage areas, and cupboards. Label spaces accordingly.
- Inventory, update, and order crew uniforms. Donate what is not needed.
- Make a detailed inventory of everything that needs to go to dry cleaning and create an in/out checklist.
- Update guest preference sheets and stew reference manuals.
- Organize storage units. Change out holiday/theme items by season and itinerary. List any items taken off the boat and organize them for the next season.
Time in the shipyard can be stressful as contractors scramble to complete their workload before the deadline. By following the guidelines above, stews can make the best use of their time to maintain an organized and efficient workspace for contractors, and at the same time ensure that things will come back together quickly when the yard period is over.
Alene Keenan is a veteran chief stew, interior training instructor/consultant, and the author of several guidebooks for crew.