Art Tray Tactics and Training
“You are hereby requested and required to convey to your crew the merits and methods to swab clear their mess in a timely fashion and to proceed with the utmost diligence to not dampen or dissuade their fighting spirit in the execution of these imperatives” – A ShipCaptains’ Guide to Fatherhood
A twenty-one gun salute to you Captain and welcome aboard The Fighting Ship Phifer, settle in and lets begin.
Training a crew is tricky business. Picking up after oneself is a good maxim to instill but lengthy and/or large projects can be deceptive waters to navigate. You want your crew capable of engaging in complex tasks yet these can get especially messy and may require special instruction to clear.
To begin, things must have a proper place that is within your crews’ sphere of influence. For example, aboard the FSP, all crew related cups, plates, and silverware are in a designated drawer within easy reach of all hands. Charging the crew with such everyday items builds a routine of initiative and is a fine foundation for other skills.
For non-routine item pick up you may encounter resistance from your crew born, perhaps, from a rebellion to the arbitrary nature of your request and its direct opposition to the inspiration that spawned the mess to begin with.
While mutiny may seem on the wind, a wise captain will maintain their cool and recognize that this impulse is evidence of your crew’s fighting spirit, a trait that must be fostered most diligently. Unharnessed, it will empower a tyrant; yet if let extinguish will leave naught but a husk. Instead, a captain must temper and mold this force with the utmost care so this spirit can grow to become a light to shine upon yonder hill.
Competing objectives demand tactical flexibility and that is why an “art tray” is a particularly useful device in in this situation.
For starters, its mobility empowers deployment to even the most overwhelming of salvage operations and its’ lightweight, well balanced, and sturdy structure are well suited to enhance the abilities of even the most landlubberly seaman. Its lipped walls provide a containment area for loose objects while its bright colors boost moral.
Having several on hand is preferable as crew have a tendency to leap from one project to another without warning or direction. A general rule that has governed these matters aboard The Fighting Ship Phifer is simply that each seaman may have one (1) art tray actively employed at a time so that one project may be swapped with ease and all can be stowed away as needs such as dinner dictate.
Some activities (painting and slime being some of the obvious ones) require and necessitate the exclusive use of such a tray. Other activities merely find their way onto a tray when demands dictate their immediate cessation.
While slightly heavier than what’s pictured in use aboard the FSP, cookie sheets make a fine art tray in a pinch.
I hope these words bring you value on your voyage and may the fates forever guide your course.