Roles and Duties of Hokule`a Crew Members
Hokule'a is a rigorous job and it requires the participation of all
crew members on board. To ensure that the canoe sails safely and
efficiently, each person fills a specific role. Jobs vary from that
of the navigator, to those crew members whose primary responsibility
is documentation of the voyage for historical purposes. Providing
they fill the job requirements, both men and women can hold the
various positions described below.
The person who carries
the overall responsibility for the canoe and crew is the sailmaster.
While he serves primarily in an advisory capacity, it is the
sailmaster who has the final say on the canoe's sailing strategy and
course and on all other operation s of the canoe. He works in
consultation with the navigators and captain.
determines the canoe's course, sets the sailing strategy, and
determines the direction is which the crew will sail Hokule'a. He
must stay oriented at all times, and this means that generally he is
assigned no other duties aboard the canoe. I n order to keep track
of the canoe's direction, the navigator stays awake 20 hours a day,
seated on a platform at the aft of the canoe. Much of the time, the
navigator gives direction to the crew through the ship's captain.
The captain's primary
responsibility is the safe sailing of Hokule'a and this encompasses
everything from ensuring that a capable well-trained crew is on
board to the physical maintenance of the canoe. Much preparation is
done before the crew and canoe ever leave shore and this is done
under the captain's direction. In consultation with the other
officers, the captain schedules work parties for preparing the canoe
to sail. Re-lashing canoe parts, mending sails, cleaning and
painting Hokule'a's hulls are just some examples of the kinds of
work done before sailing.
Another big job is
loading the canoe with food, water, and safety gear required on
voyages. Again, it is the captain's responsibility to ensure that
this is done properly.
At sea, the captain
executes all decisions relative to sailing. Once the navigator sets
the sailing strategy, it is the captain who directs the crew to
hoist, drop or change sails and he determines which steering paddles
to use. He is responsible for coordinating activities with the
escort vessel and providing a daily work schedule for the watch
captains. The captain holds overall responsibility for maintaining
the canoe's inventory, and he decides when and if to ration food and
water. When approaching l and, the captain handles most
administrative matters, such as dealing with customs officials and
maintaining the canoe's security while it is moored.
The watch captains
direct those crew members assigned to their watch or work shifts,
carrying out instructions relayed by the captain. The watch captain
is responsible for ensuring that his crew is up and on duty in a
timely fashion, assigning specific steering positions to his crew
and directing rotations through the various positions, going through
the safety check list, and maintaining his watch log. He is
responsible for maintenance of the canoe during his watch, including
cleaning up after meals. Additionally, the watch captain is
responsible for monitoring the safety, health and morale of his
Other tasks are
assigned to crew members and carried out in addition to standing
watch. The medical officer, usually a certified doctor, is aboard
Hokule'a for each long voyage. His primary responsibility is the
health of the crew. It is the medical officer's responsibility to
ensure that the canoe is equipped with all medications and medical
supplies needed for a long journey. When the canoe is in foreign
ports, the medical officer is also responsible for attending to the
crew's health and medical needs on shore.
The radio operator
handles all radio transmissions between Hokule'a, and the escort
vessel and between the canoe and land. He maintains an accurate log
of all radio traffic, and is responsible for the upkeep of the radio
A designated carpenter
oversees all repairs done on the canoe. He also maintains the tool
inventory. An assigned electrician maintains all electrical systems.
The cook plans the
canoe's menus, maintains inventory of food supplies, and does most
of the cooking. While this may not seem like an important job, the
ability of the cook is directly related to the morale of the crew as
meals are the highlight of each day. Good nutrition is also an
important factor in maintaining the health of the crew.
The quartermaster is
responsible for provisioning the canoe--loading food, water and all
needed supplies, and for maintaining Hokule'a's inventory. While
this is not an on board job, it is critical to the safe and
efficient sailing of the canoe. Weight must be evenly distributed
for optimum sailing.
Fishing off of the
canoe is not a leisure time activity, but an actual designated job,
and one crew member is responsible for setting and bringing in
fishing lines each day and for landing all catches. Fresh fish
provide an important food source at sea.
historical records of the voyage by various means including writing,
video and audio taping.
The safety officer is
responsible for all safety and emergency systems and equipment. Life
jackets, life preservers, flares and fire extinguishers are just
some examples of the gear the canoe carries. In addition, all crew
members must be trained in man overboard and fire procedures.
are exactly the same as the watch captain, with the exception of the
administrative duties. Off watch, crew members main obligation is to
keep out of the way of those on duty.
Leisure time is spent
in a variety of ways including resting, reading, writing, and taking
care of personal chores (laundry, cleaning out compartments etc.).
In the event of bad weather or an emergency and an all hands on deck
call, all of the crew member s are expected to work.
All jobs on the canoe,
no matter how routine they may seem, are important to the overall
safe sailing of Hokule'a. A crew member's most critical
responsibility is to realize that his crewmates depend upon him to
carry out his assigned duties, and to work well as part of a team.