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Be a good guest on a tall ship 

Nik Pilsworth is bosun on the S.V. Concordia. He shared his advice to landlubbers last week while the Concordia was in Boston, its last port before Halifax.

Don’t whistle when you visit a tall ship

Nobody ever whistles on a ship. The reason is that if you whistle you could whistle up a storm. There are a exceptions---if you have sailed around Cape Horn you are supposed to have seen the worst it can get, and if you are a cook, you get a pass. Otherwise, any sailor will get on edge if you whistle.

Leave the cook, and the bell, alone

It's bad luck to ring the bell if it is not telling time. It also gets pretty annoying if 3,000 people walk across your deck ringing the bell the whole time. When you get that many people, everyone also comments to the cook, asking what they're cooking, or that it smells good or something like that. And I know that the cook gets really tired of hearing that all day. Working on a ship, we never ask what's for the meal, for that reason. The very last person you want to annoy is the cook.

Lean over the railing if you get sea sick

We run a pretty interesting program on the Concordia because we are a high school and take up to 48 students to do semesters at sea. You get to see funny stuff sometimes, like seeing 40 out of the 48 students sea sick---as well as teachers---jumping out of class to go throw up over the side. Makes me laugh every time I see it.

Ask questions, but not too many questions

We understand that the public don’t fully get why we go to sea, and that 90 percent of people who come onboard don’t know a single thing about tall ships or sailing. So there aren’t any questions that are wrong to ask---just don’t ask for the life story of that crew member, you have just met. But ask away for sure on why they started sailing, or what draws them to it. I really enjoy telling people about the ship, or life at sea. Sailing tall ships is a crazy world, because none of us are doing it for the money. If you want to make money you can go clean super yachts all day. Tall ships you can walk around with paint on your hands and a knife on your belt and it’s all good.

Remember you’re visiting both a home and a workplace

Since we all live on the ship, we don’t want anyone going down below (we don’t say downstairs---it is down below, or below decks). This is our home, so we don’t want 3,000 people walking through our bedrooms (cabins). Same with playing with any lines on deck. Some of the lines on ships hold a lot of weight, so if someone slipped one of the lines off, it would be very easy for someone to get hurt. We spend time getting all of the coils, brass, decks and everywhere else clean for the public to see, so leaving or dropping garbage on deck is pretty annoying.

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