I recently saw a tshirt that I initially thought was funny – “I apologize for what I said when we were docking”. Upon reflection, I changed my mind. It really wasn’t funny at all!  What a great way to get a new boater excited about boating – to yell at them when they already don’t know what they are doing!  And I have seen this all too often.  I am blessed because during my journey through the boating experience my husband never – not once – yelled at me for trying.  But I have seen it enough to warrant a discussion. What happens on your boat when something goes wrong?

Here are our 4 cardinal rules: 1) are you in any immediate danger of hitting another boat?  2) are you seriously injured and requiring immediate help? 3) are you sinking? 4) have you hit an underwater obstruction? If you answer “yes” to any of these then obviously you need to call for assistance!  If you answer “no” to any of these, then what you have is an opportunity for instruction and cooperation.  I understand that the unexpected brings on a lot of stress.  We all handle stress differently.  Some yell, some cry, some retreat (as I used to do), but the result is the same.  A day of boating that is dreadful, not enjoyable.  And who wants that?

A few simple hints:  READ YOUR OWNERS MANUAL and have it on the boat at all times. Become familiar with the systems in your boat so that if something does go wrong you have some idea of how to troubleshoot.  Know where your fuses and circuit breakers are, and how to reset them.  Know where you keep the rescue tape.  Buy headsets if your boat layout is such that the person at the helm can’t hear the person at the stern or the bow.  This eliminates the urge to yell.  Remember, also, that there is more than one way to do something.  If your mate makes secure to the dock differently than you, as long as you end up secured it doesn’t matter how it was accomplished.  If its different than how you would do it but the end result is the same, let it go.

Knowledge can prevent a lot of frustration and tears while operating a boat.  Remember that you are trying to get your newly minted “first mate” to love boating as much as you do.  Yelling is not the way to accomplish this!!

Happy boating!!

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