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
That brings to mind a cartoon about the invited
couple arriving at the hosts’ vessel for the
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
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
really 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
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 101 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
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!