A long-time client of mine owns and operates three tugs and a crewboat. She has bought and sold several tugs over the years, and with each purchase I have reviewed the layout of the tug and checked out the galley, crew quarters, engine room and wheelhouse.

During our walk-throughs, my client, who I like to call the “Tidy Tug Lady,” would discuss what improvements she planned to make in order for the tug to meet her standards.

It’s always been wonderful to revisit each tug after she had worked her magic. In every case, the end result was an engine room that was painted out and so clean that it sparkled and could rival any high-end vessel galley.

I’m certain that the Tidy Tug Lady’s vessel crews would sometimes prefer to be doing something other than cleaning and painting an engine room (and other crew spaces), but I would also bet that they felt some pride when others marveled at the cleanliness of their work platforms. I remember seeing drapes on the ports and clean, bright tongue-and-groove wainscoting in galleys and wheelhouses.

Drapes? Wainscoting? Floors that would pass a white-glove test? Hard work? Of course it is. But how does all of this close attention to detail on a vessel pay off?

• Inspections: Whether it’s the Coast Guard for a trip-and-tow survey or your insurance surveyor, an inspector will comment every time on the cleanliness of your vessel.

• Crew morale: Employees will be proud of their workplace and be in a better frame of mind because they’re in a welcoming place.

• New business: Potential charterers will be favorably impressed when they come aboard.

• Insurance rates: Your insurer may give you a more favorable hull rate (because insurers really do use subjective information in making their rating calculations).

• Everyone else: A good impression is important. If my office were a mess, wouldn’t you think twice about doing business with me?

It’s true that cleanliness is next to godliness. And it also makes for a healthier bank account.

A collection of stories from guest authors.