My Canadian Chief engineer joined the ship , and i could see that he had a severe back problem.
I had two choices-- send him back to Canada OR turn a Nelson's eye and allow him to operate from his bed for a couple of weeks.
I chose the latter option as he was a good man.
The Engine staff was good enough to carry on with telephonic guidance--so i gave orders to the steward to feed him in bed. --and also to replace his soft matress with a hard one .
( now, i cant do this as per regulations, and can lose my own job and be disgraced , if my company knows about this . Captain is not expected to run his chemical tanker on sentiments, as lives could be lost . But then this is the meaning of compassion )
Later I went to visit him and he was praying while lying down with rosary in one hand and the picture of Jesus in the other--looking very distraught.
I asked him " Tell me exactly how you hurt your back, this bad!"
He said " Half the men in cold countries have the same problem, caused due to shovelling heavy snow"
Then he showed me a picture of himself shovelling snow at his porch.
To be frank i found the shovel of STUPID ergometric design. Naturally he had hurt his lower back.
As you grow older your back muscles get stiff in cold and and can cause both muscular and disc injuries.
So i gave him a few shovelling tips, where the principle of PREVENTION was paramount --
1) Change your stupid shovel and use a ergonomic hoe type spade .
2) Never ever bend your back, stand upright. If you have to lower yourself use the thigh muscles.
3) Don't do repetitive action, continuously.
4) Wear a back support while doing the job
After the next winter , I got a call from him. Thanks! Your advise worked!!
So read this with an open mind. It may work for you too.
The hoe type spade must be in two sizes--one large and one small.
The smaller hoe must have a longer handle.
In India nobody ever uses a spade, which hurts the lower back.
Chop, lever up , shorten the handle , throw-- all the time standing upright. Do not scoop up too much wet snow.
Ice-denizens , pl pass this around --
CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT IN LIFE.
On our ships , our rat guards have been falling off for the past 500 years , and will continue to do so for the next 500 years. On all the thousands of ships all over the world!
My son at Cornell, when he was 8 years old , sailed with me.
One day he asked me " Daddy, why are sailors so stupid. All ships keep replacing their rat guards on the mooring ropes, which fall off every half an hour. Why don't you sailors put the hole off-centre, so that the centre of gravity of the metal sheet shifts downwards and gravity will keep the rat guard in place" ?
This coloured picture is just to imagine-- how to shift the centre of gravity, downwards !-- it is moronic to hang weights!!
This is the usual stupid rat guard with a hole in the exact centre-- one tiny gust of wind and it falls off.
Yes- at sea we too suffer from a severe lack of brains!--like the snow shovellers!!
If you cant get the hardware, just improvise-- see video below-- so that you keep your spine straight at all times-- DO NOT BEND!
CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL