Back in 2003, Doug and I witnessed many new boaters and even veteran boaters, really struggling with their boats, handling them in close quarters, docking, anchoring, communicating, tying knots, hanging fenders, managing the interior and exterior—everything to do with BoatING. In many cases, the Captain wasn’t sure of procedures, so couldn’t communicate to his First Mate, becoming frustrated then yelling at her when she didn’t know either.
As a result of our observations, Doug and I decided that we needed to start putting the “ING” into boating. Boaters need to know what to do with their boats, after they make the purchase and get started into the boating lifestyle.
Looking back, I realized how lucky I was. Doug Dawson was 5th generation in the family Marina (I think that qualifies him to have bilge water in his blood LOL); so, back in my teens, I got to learn from one of the best. Coming into the family business, I was able to learn from Doug’s Mom as well. She had to learn everything from scratch and was happy to share all her tips with me to shorten my learning curve.
Between Doug and I, we have many decades (more than I want to admit) of boating knowledge, but we looked on the internet to find even more. We weren’t satisfied with what we found there; so, we started writing our own books to help boaters enjoy boating more.
My first book was “First Mate 101”. I believed sharing knowledge would help to eliminate fear and empower First Mates to not only know what to do, but also how to do it.
“First Mate 101” covers everything that the First Mate needs to know and how to do it easier. Why re-invent the wheel, when you can shorten your learning curve by learning from someone who has already mastered it?
Over the next several years, we ended up writing over 30 boating books. To reach as many boaters as possible, Doug and I launched our website in 2004. We are in contact with boaters around the world every day. We continue to send newsletters to our subscribers, and post blogs and articles on our website to help boaters. You can sign up for our free newsletters.
Now, after 6 decades of boating, we enjoy boating mostly on Georgian Bay in our 30’ Windy Power Boat—a Norwegian built express cruiser. We have recently spent 2 complete summers living aboard.
Boating is a TEAM SPORT and as such, Captains and First Mates need to develop a plan and practice the same procedures as a team. Docking, for example, should be a procedure that can be perfected eliminating the need for yelling, swearing, jumping, boat hooks, bionics, dock helpers, guesswork and embarrassment.
I believe there is always a BETTER WAY to do things—we just have to find it. Why not shorten your learning curve?
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. But, it only makes perfect if you practice the correct instruction. So, it is very important to get good information and practice good instructions to get good results.
The positions of CAPTAIN & FIRST MATE don’t have a gender. They are simply jobs that have to be done; so, the one who gets behind the wheel, is the Captain responsible for the boat, and the safety of everyone aboard. The one who takes the position of First Mate, is in charge of everything else.
This may be a little over simplified, but it usually works out this way. He is the Captain and She is the First Mate.
The Captain and First Mate should Switch Hats often. For example, when anchoring; she can take the helm and become the Captain, while he goes forward on the slippery, sloped deck with low safety rails as the First Mate to drop or haul the heavy anchor. Or, if the Captain is under the weather or injured, the First Mate can take the wheel/helm as Captain, knowing what to do.
First Mates can shorten their learning curve, by investing in First Mate 101 today. Available in printed or downloadable pdf format.