A day in the life of a Carpenter

Hi, my name is Ariel, I am from the Philippines and I work on board a cruise ship with more than 2000 guests, 1000 crew members and many kilometers of handrails and teak decks which need to be maintained.

As my job title of Carpenter indicates, I am required to take care of the wood on board. However on a cruise ship there are many more duties I am responsible for.

I have a team of 3 Assistant Carpenters, and without them I could not even try to keep up with all the work.

Besides working on wood, I can replace carpets, lay tiles etc, and therefore do all the necessary repairs as they are needed.

My carpentery team are also called when the engine departments need to access pipes in the ceiling to repair – since we have to remove the ceiling panels before the plumbers can get to the pipes.

My day starts at 7:00 am and I meet with my team in the carpentery shop. This is where all our tools and materials are stored. The first thing I check in the morning are the maintenance requests we have received from the various departments. The requests that come from the Reception Desk have priority, since these are normally complaints from guests.

Depending on the work which needs to be done, I send one or 2 guys from my team to deal with this work.

Besides the daily maintenance requests which come in and need immediate attention, we have several ongoing maintenance plans.

The outside handrails around the ship need permanent attention, since they are exposed to the sun and saltwater. Therefore we are constantly working on sections of handrails. At times we replace a section with a refurbished handrail and then refurbish the handrail we remove. This means the varnish needs to be stripped, the wood sanded smooth and the handrail varnished again.

We do similar ongoing maintenance to the wooden framed chairs that we have in the various restaurants.

Often we are called on to replace broken tiles in the Galleys, which due to the heavy traffic and heavy pots which fall on the floor can break or crack. These broken tiles need to be repaired as soon as possible since water can seep through them, and then the metal floor underneath will rust.

Now that I have just started to explain my work as Carpenter, I get interrupted by a call from the Staff Captain, who is my direct supervisor. I am sorry but I need to leave – nobody wants to let the Staff Captain wait!

Ariel Mercado, Philippines