Boatswains… sew what?

A Boatswain in works to sew some privacy curtains.

A Boatswain in works to sew some privacy curtains.

Capt Jenn Jackson, Operation Caribbe PAO ~

When one thinks of a boatswain’s work sewing is not something that comes to mind.

But it is part of their cache of skills, and one boatswain is busy stitching while in HMCS Nanaimo during Operation Caribbe.

“It was a last-minute decision to add a sewing machine to our kit,” says the boatswain, who cannot be named for operational security reasons. “But it has already come in handy, allowing me to make some additional privacy curtains for around the accommodations pod.”

Learning the basics of a sewing machine is part of QL-3 boatswain training, and at the QL-5 level they are required to make bags and other small projects to hone their skills. While it is part of the core training for the trade, it’s not always a boatswain’s first exposure to sewing.

“I first learned in junior high, and then learned more from my grandmother. I like doing it. There’s a rhythm to it that clears the head and it is great to see my finished project and the results of my hard work.”

Sewing is a regular part of this boatswain’s shift as a day worker during Operation Caribbe, when he is not working on other duties such as special sea duty helmsman or as a small boat coxswain.

“You’d be surprised how much sewing is needed on a ship. Uniform repairs, covers for boats, nametags. I have even sewn some fancy napkins for a reception.”

As HMCS Nanaimo continues Operation Caribbe, rips and tears will be well mended.

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