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 tipoff.
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 some 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
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.