Organized voyaging

As a former management consultant, I used to tell other people how to get organized. When I moved aboard for a long voyage, I took my own advice. But I must admit it’s easier to solve someone else’s problems than your own. However, over the years a few solutions emerged: Automatic electronic transfers pay all my bills from a checking account or through a VISA debit card. I monitored these transactions via the bank’s web page whenever I found Internet access.

I use a mail forwarding service for my mail. I avoid having to change addresses every time I change marinas or spend extended time at sea. About once a month, I sent an email message to the mail forwarder requesting an express shipment of mail to a marina or at the next port.

I carried two different credit cards (VISA and MasterCard) for use with cash machines available all over the world. When a card expires, the bank renews the card in the next mail shipment. My yearly income tax calculations are straightforward. Tax information follows me as I retrieved mail at various points. The latest tax software CD arrives in the mail and allows me to calculate taxes and print the current forms at a local Kinko’s or public library computer.

I routinely update a detailed list of people and organizations in my life that I might need to contact routinely or in an emergency. The list includes names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, as well as all my account numbers, expiration dates, and membership numbers. I carefully compressed this list down to two pages and laminated them to avoid moisture problems in the marine environment.

All of these careful preparations worked well on short hops or extended voyages. I never lacked for “normal” business access. As the Internet matures, managing these administrative details will get easier and easier from even more remote corners of the world. The only remaining problems will come from hackers, phishers, keyloggers, and other Internet scoundrels.

By Ocean Navigator