Crew Tips from George

Good manners on the boat:

Always stow your gear

Bring something for everyone to eat / drink

Do NOT talk about work or personal problems…we’re out there to get away from it all, not bring it all with us.

Be supportive, even if you’re the best sailor on the boat.

Be on time or call if you’re delayed or need to cancel.

Clean up the boat and put stuff away before you leave.

If you don’t know where stuff goes, leave it alone.

Take your garbage with you.

Request “permission to come aboard” before you climb on the boat. It isn’t a metro bus. The skipper’s granting you a favor by inviting you aboard. Be appreciative. Say Thank You at the end of the sail, even if it was a tough day. DON’T say “I would really like to sail / race or whatever again” unless you really mean it.

1) good sailors are always looking…for puffs, for faster/slower boats, for lifted/knocked boats, for wind shifts and holes, for tide lines, for deadheads, for buoys or obstructions, for other boats, for screwed up stuff on the boat, for sail trim. they talk about what they see.

2) Good sailors ask questions. You’re out there to have fun and learn about stuff. Ask questions. If something looks wrong ask about it. Frequently after evolutions (roundings, sails going up and down) lines are misled or proper sail adjustments are forgotten. It’s always good to ask about this stuff. (“Is that line really supposed to be trailing in the water?”)

3) Good sailors compulsively tidy up lines. Make sure halyards and sheets will run when necessary. They put away gear properly when done (handles, binoculars, GPS, etc.).

4) Good sailors know how to talk about something outside the boat: ” small powerboat is at 4:00, 50 yards.” or “EMERGENCY! COME DOWN! Deadhead at 12:00, 20 feet!!” Good sailors know the the helm can’t always see through the jib, and keep an especially good watch out ahead and to leeward. When you’re on the jib sheet lookout forward and to leeward and good sail trim is your job.

How to communicate on the boat:

Things always go wrong on the boat when you’re racing, and the amount of non-constructive screaming is unbelievable. Accurate communication in confusing or chaotic situations makes things a lot easier. Here’s how to get it right when you’re talking to others on the boat:

Raise your voice only to be heard, yelling at someone does not make them suddenly smarter. For urgent events, try repeating the command again or adding “quickly.” Polite and respect goes a long ways on a boat.

Position, action, amount

What I mean by this is instead of yelling “ease the damn guy” to nobody in general, yell “cockpit, ease the guy 1 foot”. Listen for your name or position when you hear yelling.

The positions on the boat are:

* Bow

* Mast

* Halyards

* Cockpit

* Helm

So if you know who has the task, and you know what they need to do, use the position, the action, and “how much” to communicate.

One little thing that makes me crazy is that on many boats they don’t use the word STOP! On many boats there are a lot of words used for this simple command. Whoa! Sounds a lot like Go! and is very confusing. Just say Stop!

(Editors Note: George has been sailing and racing for about 35 years, many of those years on top placing boats)

Boating Etiquette – What a skipper expects your mother to have taught you about proper boating manners.

Crew Tips From George Formatted for Printing (pdf):

George Harvey Seattle, WA.

( © 2008, 2009 )

This entry was posted in Safety Thoughts, Sailing and Boating Skills and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Crew Tips from George

  1. Pingback: Useful Web Sites and Information for Boaters and USCG Auxiliary Members | Boating Safety Tips, Tricks & Thoughts from Captnmike

  2. Pingback: Boating Etiquette | Boating Safety Tips, Tricks & Thoughts from Captnmike

  3. Pingback: Skipper & Crew Pet Peeves On the Boat | Boating Safety Tips, Tricks & Thoughts from Captnmike

  4. Pingback: Sailing Crew Class Resources–Fall 2011 | Boating Safety Tips, Tricks & Thoughts from Captnmike

  5. CAPT Mike says:

    Hi George,
    This is a wonderful primer, well done Sir.

    Best Regards,

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