In a UK prison a shared cell will be 4.5m2 per prisoner excluding the toilet. On a large yacht, the crew accommodation must be not less than 4.5m2 per crew member including the toilet. The design of yachts is great these days with lots of really interesting options available to an owner.

The owners always want a happy crew who appreciate their fortunate position of being employed on such an amazing and beautiful yacht. The yacht always benefits from crew longevity and the longer the crew stay, normally the better the experience for the owner. They get to know the crew and the crew get to know the boat and her nuances.

So why, in that case, do we make them live in a space which is smaller than a prison cell? How happy do we think they will be and how long will they stay? I wonder how many owners have spent any time in their crew accommodation? Or even been in there at all? Why should they? After all it's been built to the correct rules and there's a certificate to say so.

The rules state that a chief officer and a chief engineer should have their own cabin, yet often they don't, simply because the rules say should and not must. Even on a new build 70m! The minimum requirements have become the standard so that more space can be given over to the owner. Of course an owner will always want to have as much space as possible, it is up to the designers and the authorities who provide the rules and guidance for the designers to ensure people have appropriate living space. There should be a requirement for a separate crew lounge and a crew mess. These spaces don't have to be palatial - just somewhere to sit and relax after work where everyone isn't crammed into the same small space.

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