Your Boat Rules

washing-dishes“Can I do the dishes for you?” asked Peter. I was hesitant to accept his offer but “sure” I said.

I was delighted that one of our non-boater guests wanted to help, but what kind of a mess would he make in my galley?

Most non-boating helpers don’t know how to “help” on a boat.

Then, Peter said something that I’d never heard before.

I was so impressed and excited by his statement that I want to share it with every boater—especially First Mates.

airplanePeter immediately rolled up his sleeves and said “Check me out in the Galley”. Our guest on board was a pilot and he would never do anything on a plane without “being checked out” so he would know the correct procedure for that plane. He was asking me to show him my procedure in my galley so he could follow it. Needless to say, I was delighted. Every boater, including me, has a procedure for everything on their boat. But how often do your guests want to be instructed on how to do it your way?

I quickly explained the procedure and he took over in the galley suggesting I go and relax. Lo and behold, he did everything exactly as I do—just the way I explained it to him! What a relief. I was delighted. I didn’t have to do a thing. He followed my procedure perfectly.

I learned a lot that day decades ago. Boaters need to share their procedures with their guests. As Doug would say, “don’t keep it a secret”. They are eager to help but they aren’t mind readers. Share the procedures and share the load.

Share your procedures with all your guests whether boater or non-boater because each boaters’ procedures will be different. It eliminates tension and stress for both and creates an enjoyable visit and memory. Also talk about your boat “rules”. It only takes a few minutes to explain how things work on your boat so the rest of the visit/cruise is stress free and enjoyable.

relaxedA few other procedures and rules you could cover with your family and friends:

  1. emergencies
  2. safety
  3. handling garbage aboard and at the marina
  4. handling recyclables
  5. flushing the toilet and use of the head
  6. “opening up the boat”
  7. “closing the boat”
  8. docking procedure
  9. shore cord procedure
  10. water filling procedure
  11. meal procedure
  12. bbq procedure
  13. pfd procedure
  14. shoe rules
  15. smoking rules
  16. dog rules
  17. kid rules
  18. cell phone rules
  19. swimming rules
  20. drinking rules
  21. fenders and lines

What else do you share with your guests to make their visits more enjoyable and memorable, AND reduce your stress level at the same time?

Share your comments below….

Brenda Dawson



For more information on First Mate Tips, see First Mate 101

See also:

What Would You Do IF?


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