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BOTD 02-05-14 All at Sea - A Memory Man Production

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Bransom Postmaster
All At Sea
A Memory Man Production

You are the captain and part owner of a sail training ship.  You typically take groups of schoolchildren, boys and girls, aged between thirteen and sixteen on voyages lasting for approximately three weeks.  You love the sea and you get tremendous satisfaction from watching your young charges grow as they tackle and surmount the challenges presented to them.

You are coming to the end of the first week of a voyage with a mixed age group of boys on board.  Unfortunately this voyage has become soured by having Damion (an aggressive foul mouthed fourteen year old shirker who has somehow managed to bluff his way past the selection panel) on board  An insubordinate brat he has got up the noses of both your team of instructors and of his peer group, apparently single handedly managing to disrupt the bonding and team spirit that normally builds over the first few days of a voyage.

Today things have come to a head; Damion in an altercation has punched and injured a younger boy; he has been roughly (very roughly) restrained and dragged before you by two irate sixteen year olds who, you note with satisfaction, have him restrained in a painful hold.  You look at him with distaste as he struggles and curses his captors and reflect that in bygone days you would have had no hesitation mustering the ship's company to witness his "kissing the gunners daughter." In fact, at this moment nothing would give you more satisfaction than to leather his bared breech yourself.  Unfortunately though you have never ever sought any parental permission to use corporal punishment to discipline your young charges.

Damion - 14
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You demand an explanation from Damion but none is forthcoming; he just looks insolently at you and defiantly tries to stare you out as you deliberate your limited options. (casting him adrift in an open boat sadly not being one of them)

Sailing in international waters under a flag of convenience you are the captain; the ultimate arbiter and dispenser of justice on board your vessel.  It will be another two weeks before you are due to reach port and while the incident is not serious enough to warrant you aborting the voyage you are fully aware of how unpopular Damion has become amongst his peers.  You consider your options mindful that in the current atmosphere on board your decision will flash round the ship in seconds and that a weak or indecisive response would be quite likely to engender outrage, possible reprisals and a spell of volatility.

Aware that in loco parentis that you are responsible for the safety and welfare of all your young charges (including Damion) you determine that you are not about to let one bad apple spoil the barrel.

You ponder and make your decision.

But what is it?

Can you dig it?


I guess it depends on when this scenario is taking place.

Even 15 years ago, and in loco parentis, I'd have told young Damion what would have happened to his counterparts during the "Golden Age of Sail", and likely administered (private) CP. Following that, he'd get the "shape up or ship out" talk, being advised that if there are any further problems between now and the next port, he'll be flown home from there at his parents' expense.

If it's now, even though I'm captain of my own ship in international waters, that solution would likely get me sued or worse, and while I would likely prevail, it's not worth the risk or the bother.

So, if it's now, I'm going to put Damion in the brig, letting him know he will stay there unless he promises to mend his ways, or until we reach the next port, at which point his parents can pay for him to be transported home by some other means.

If you've not seen "White Squall", I highly recommend it.


I presume this takes place in the "current era", so we do have the ability to communicate with home. Since I can't cast him adrift (and in my chewing him out I will tell him exactly how much I'd like to do just that) I'll try to contact the boy's parents and seek permission is probably the most realistic option I have. Once I obtain the green light I will render him a very sorry lad indeed.

On the other hand, perhaps seeking forgiveness is better than permission. I am Captain of my vessel in international waters and that does give me great latitude. Maybe I'll "flog" the little brat and let that serve as a message to the rest of the crew.

I think once Damion has paid for his behavior (and be SEEN as paying for it) perhaps we can reset morale and everyone will have benefitted.

Stone Man

Nowadays it should be easy to get in contact with Damion's parents (and I would have before now) to either get permission to "flog" him with "a pussy on his bare posteriors" or to send him home at our next port of call.

Now where did I put that cannon.

I can't imagine the boys guardians would give their permission for any type of CP, so we shall change direction and head for sore shore. And yes, the misspelling was an honest mistake.  Shocked 

David M. Katz

As much as I would love to take my belt to him I am going to have to restrain myself and copy Kier's answer.

But . . . if peer justice were to prevail I might be really slow to intercede.  Twisted Evil  A well planted "suggestion" to the boys who dragged him in my presence may be all that is needed.  Twisted Evil 

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

John Boy

David M. Katz wrote:As much as I would love to take my belt to him I am going to have to restrain myself and copy Kier's answer.

But . . . if peer justice were to prevail I might be really slow to intercede.  Twisted Evil   A well planted "suggestion" to the boys who dragged him in my presence may be all that is needed.  Twisted Evil 
fine ditto


Two weeks in solitary confinement would seem to be the only option I have open. Perhaps I can also keep him on bread and water?


Well, trips like this will certainly be on a schooner of 90ft or above. There will be at least a staff of four. The students will sleep in bunk rooms, however, there will be some space where he can be locked in - for the ship's safety and his own. His deed certainly justifies that.

We will have a staff meeting and go from there. The law might allow me to use the belt on him but I certainly won't jeopardise my enterprise. His parents will be informed at the next opportunity.


As a total landlubber I find Pad's answer the most realistic one. But Katzy's I like the most.


I am confining him to quarters for two days and then assigning extra chores in the hope that isolation during the day will give him time to think about what he has been ding. I will also be reporting back to his his parents before we reach port. I will certainly imply that were corporal punishment part of my remit that this young man would certainly be nursing a sore rump by now. See what his folks make of that

Emlyn Morgan

I'm going to whack him!

Emlyn Morgan

I'm going to whack him!

Pi Beta

Pity that keel-hauling would also probably land me in trouble. Realistically as captain, I could hold him in solitary confinement (partially for his own safety!) until I can get him to port from where his parents/guardians/whatever can collect him.

Because of his age, I somehow doubt that I can do what the captain of a British trawler I invited myself on board in Reykjavik harbour had organised. The trawler had put into Reykjavik for repairs. There had been a fight on board between a rating and a trainee. The trainee, who showed me around the vessel, had a black eye, but the seaman had been escorted from the ship by the Icelandic police and put on board a plane back to the UK.

That was the only time I saw a whole halibut ( several, actually) - frozen, lying on top of boxes of frozen cod and haddock. I'd not realised quite how big halibut could be.


I do not know what I am worrying about, because the release that I require every parent or guardian to sign specifically allows corporal punishment as well as training on the use of a 18th century cannon!

Also I am the captain of the ship in international waters!

And as it is my ship, of coarse I have a cannon on board  so I will order the 2 16 year old cadets to strap Damion to it in the proper manor to "kiss the gunners daughter" just like in the old days!



I'll do what I should probably have done before - isolate him with cleaning details. If he can't work with others, those are things that can be done by himself, and I'm sure there's plenty to keep him from getting bored - he can start by cleaning the galley floor with a toothbrush... and it had best shine if he doesn't want to repeat it.

BTW - realistically, wouldn't we have some method for dealing with people who get aboard and can't or don't want to be there part way through?

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


Editor Extraordinaire
I agree with Kier's carefully thought out answer.


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