Summer is visitor time for many of us. That often includes time on the boat. Whatever our boating plans may be, friends are most often included. That brings to mind a cartoon about the invited couple arriving at the hosts’ vessel for the overnight cruise.
The lady is wearing a miniskirt and high heels. He’s still wearing his rumpled suit from work. He has an overstuffed briefcase tucked under his arm. His shoulder is weighted down with golf clubs and tennis rackets. And they have two stuffed, hard-sided suitcases and the cell phone on his belt is ringing.
Some of you have met this well-meaning couple. The cartoon overstates the typical scenario, but makes the point clearly that non-boating guests just don’t know what to bring or what to wear when they’re invited to cruise.
We can also safely assume they do not know boating’s protocols. For example, they do not realize that on a boat it’s bad form to take long showers or turn on the galley tap and let the water run. They don’t know that reading lamps are used sparingly, if at all.
Well, you may reasonably ask, if guests are such a problem why do we even invite them to cruise with us? The reason is, we like them. They are our friends. We enjoy their company and we like to boat, combining the two is great.
The challenge is how we gently educate new friends about the do’s and don’ts of cruising. The answer is what I call Cruising for Newbies.
I usually talk to the female ahead of time and tell her what to wear and what to bring and, importantly, what not to bring. I tell them the boat only has so much fresh water so we take quick and infrequent showers. I say boating is a lot like camping. Space is tight. Reading lights are fine when the boat is running or plugged in to power at a marina, but otherwise they just drain the batteries. My husband Vic carries on the male version of that conversation with the man.
I’ve found it helpful to couch all the warnings in the context of the rewards of boating. Cruising is that way, I say. We give up some luxuries in order to experience the joy of being on the water.
Some items are best discussed when the guests are on the boat and can see what you’re talking about. We show them the PFDs and how to put them on. We show them the first aid kit, the flashlight, the fire extinguishers. We tell them what to do with wet towels and such. We cover safety matters like never letting their hands get pinched between the boat railing and the pilings. Regarding the propane stove, we just simply ask them to let Vic or I take care of all the cooking and heating.
There is another reason why Vic and I like our friends to cruise with us. Ambassadors of boating that we are we want all our friends to like boating, too. To do that, we’ve got to get them on the boat and give them a taste of the good life.
I’m pleased to report that the vast majority of our “students” pass with flying colors and often return for advance courses. Cruising, it’s catching. Try it!
Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters, and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, 6095 Silver Kind Blvd. Cape Coral, Florida, 33914. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 800-262-7939 or visit: www.swfyachts.com or www.flsailingandcruiseschool.com.