I’ve got a suggestion I would like to share for 2015 and beyond and it has to do with improving onboard partnerships leading to more enjoyable time at sea for everyone. On occasion we find the captain to be more passionate about boating than his crew, often known as his wife. This has been manifest in Basic Power Boating Courses we have held over the past 30 years.
That’s a course that blends classroom and onboard instruction, including hands-on practice with various skills. The instructors tell me that some students pay especially close attention to coursework focused on knot and line handling. On more than one occasion there have been questions about the hangman’s knot. That’s been a tip-off.
Please note: We do not teach the hangman’s knot. The liability associated with such a lesson far exceeds the income generated and we have no interest in defending ourselves against a charge of being accessory to murder.
Let me tell you how we know. More than one student has muttered something along the lines of, “if that jerk at the wheel doesn’t lower his or her voice, I am going to rope his/her neck, not the piling.”
No names, finger pointing or any other suggestion to specify the identity of the “jerk,” so you can draw your own conclusions.
On the other hand, there have also been reports of comments such as, “Boy, I can’t wait to tell my Bob. He’s been doing it all wrong.” While I am glad we hear more comments such as that than those that are troubling, I am bothered that any such comments are made at all.
The person typically at the helm should periodically ask themselves how they are measuring up against the high standard of being a good skipper. That’s a person who knows his job so well he or she doesn’t have to think about the details of doing it, according to Charles F. Chapman in Piloting and Seamanship. A good skipper thinks ahead, is vigilant and knows that capabilities of his crew. That includes good communications.
Skipper, if you measure up, good for you. If not, please adjust accordingly and think about ways you can improve your on-board communications. That, I think, will help improve boating, but there’s more.
I think that the passion the skipper has for boating can be expanded to include the passions of the skipper’s crew even if that crew member doesn’t share that love for boating at the same level. Read that, spouse. If you think about it expanding that passion for boating to other endeavors while on board is not all that hard.
It’s reading books, traveling by boat, dining out by boat or even shopping. Yes, that’s right shopping. Here in the waters off southwest Florida we have Fisherman’s Village, a whole mall that’s easily accessible by boat. Those are just a few suggestions, there are many more interests that can be matched with boating and they run the gamut from birding and cooking to astrology and the myriad of endeavors available while at sea or on the hook. Just think of the great natural photo opportunities and artwork options available not to overlook shelling and other activities only possible while boating.
Boaters are typically creative types able to find solutions to the most challenging problems. I think this is a pretty easy way to enhance the passion for boating for all crew members. I know one thing for sure; it most definitely beats mastery of the hangman’s knot. So while this New Year is still fresh, let’s broaden our horizons and embrace those varied pursuits that can become part of the boating life.
I’ll bet that’s one we can make happen.
Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via phone at (239) 257-2788.