No matter how much experience you have on a boat, or at the helm, stressful situations are inevitable. Learning how to communicate properly can make all the difference in safeguarding your boat as well as your significant relationships.
I was part of a group headed to Fort George on a recent weekend. Trying to anchor up while fighting both wind and current can be very challenging, and frustrating. It was one of those days.
Time and again, I overheard couples yelling and talking loudly over each other as they attempted to raft up. It sounded like a taping of the Jerry Springer show.
There are a few things that are as important in a sticky situation than how we communicate. It is normal to get anxious when handling a boat in changing conditions. Unfortunately, when we start yelling and talking over each other, mistakes can happen.
Being prepared, and following some common sense guidelines, can keep a tense situation from descending into mutiny. Here are some tips to that might protect your boat, save your fun day on the water, and salvage your relationship.
1). Understand that challenging circumstances can arise quickly. Know that you will sometimes need to make quick decisions on a boat and that you can do it without yelling or losing your cool.
2). The captain needs to communicate clearly the exact responsibilities of the first mate. And the first mate needs to understand exactly what his or her role is. Is the captain planning on spinning around back in to the opening? Does he want the first mate to throw the line to someone?
3). If it is not clear to anyone on the boat what the captain wants, and when, calmly ask him or her to clarify.
Planning ahead means knowing who has the bow line and who has the stern line. Discuss what will happen if they don’t get the line to that person the first time. Is the captain going to back up and try ? What is the fallback plan?
If it’s windy and noisy remember you have to turn your head and look directly to the person you are addressing so they can hear you.
Recently, while at Fort George, I witnessed my friends, Doug and Leslie, pulling their boat into a pretty tight spot between two other boats with wind and current. There handled it like seasoned veterans.
I noticed that Doug kept his voice low at all times and just said what needed to be done.
In addition, Doug listened to what other boaters were telling him to do. They knew the situation knew how to direct Doug. And, most importantly, he listened.
There was a good outcome.
Doug went slow. He didn’t react by pushing the boat too much. And he had his crew on the front and the back with their lines ready. They was no yelling and screaming. Doug rafted up with ease.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Well, at least they all had a great day on the water.