Most of our yacht chartering customers have
cruised before. Many own or have owned yachts.
When I go over the do's and don'ts, they get it.
But I really like explaining it to “newbies”. If
I do it right, I tell myself, they'll enjoy the
cruise even more and feel like they'll want to
cruise again. They'll get what cruising is all
I use a variety of approaches that I’ve
developed over the years.
For instance, if I tell them, "Don't feed the
wild animals" that gives me an opportunity to
talk about the wild dolphins that might show up
and ride their wake or the other critters that
will not doubt experience while cruising our
Of course, most of the do's and don'ts have to
do with more mundane things than dolphins. It's
not as easy to sell things like using lamps
sparingly. The generator is great, I say, but
it's even greater when it is turned off and you
can hear mullet jumping and great blue herons
squawking. Instead of cranking up the generator
at night and turning on the TV, tell pirate
stories and fish whoppers. In other words, take
advantage of the great opportunity to talk to
Space is at a premium on a boat. So soft-sided
luggage like duffel bags gives you more room in
your small cabin than hard-sided luggage.
Ironing board? Nope. On board, you're supposed
to be proud of your wrinkled fabrics. You're on
Sometimes humor helps the sales pitch. I ask
them not to throw paper and other incidental
trash into the toilet unless they've chewed it
first. They get it.
People typically want to be well thought of. So
when I remind them that fresh water is at a
premium, I also tell them that taking long
showers is a no-no until they dock at a marina
with showers. I tell them shoe soles that leave
dark marks on white fiberglass decks will leave
a mark on your boating reputation. Boat shoes
solve that problem, and give you traction, too.
Children? You are a good parent, aren't you?
Give them direction, I say. (Better from you
than a harsh word from the captain, eh?) Leave
the video games at home and limit time on
laptops and iPods, too. Instead, have kids keep
a written and/or photo record. It'll come in
handy if they are assigned to write a school
essay about what they did on their summer
Boating has a long tradition of established
protocols that, I'm sure, sound off-putting if
you're new to boating. One such tenet is that
the captain is boss. But, the point is, safety.
So, for instance, if the captain asks you to
wait in the cabin while he docks the boat, don't
take it personally. He just wants to make sure
nobody gets in the way of the docking procedure
or is tempted to step onto the dock before the
boat is secure and he gives the word. And when I
put it that way, I see nodding heads.
The real joy of my job is when the new cruisers
return and tell me this is the best vacation
they ever had. Then I know they got it.