Crew Responsibilities

The occupants of the boat must understand and give the skipper the authority he needs to keep the vessel safe. If the skipper says jump the people should jump. Before you set out on a trip long or short, review the safety features of the boat with your passengers. Tell them where the dangerous areas are on the boats, what to touch and what not to touch. If they are required to help you dock, let them know what they are to do well before they need to do it.

Have you ever watched a distressed husband and wife team coming into the dock? The captain husband is barking out order to the wife who is clueless as to what he wants. She is doing the best she can but the real problem is that the captain didn’t let her know what he wanted for her to do. I know this is true because I have done it myself on many occasions. This can be a major source of entertainment on a windy day.

The funniest one I saw was where the husband told the wife to jump onto the dock to hold the boat with no line in her hand. She dutifully jumped then tried to hold onto the boat railing while the wind took it away. She wasn’t strong enough to hold the boat and had no line to wrap around a cleat, so she hung on right into the water. To this day I can still see her hanging from the railing while everyone on shore was laughing. This is not the way to improve relationships.

Obviously, the goal of having a recreational boat is for enjoyment but, since the skipper has the responsibility he/she should readily take control. If this means barking out orders, so be it. Again, if you want to have a crew next time out you should be nice, think ahead and communicate the thinking to your crew before someone gets wet.