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Jul 13, 2016

Yesterday I witnessed yet again, the lost art of boating communication. Now I’m not a counselor, but these few tips could save some hurt feelings and lots of embarrassment.

Communication is an art form, and on a boat it can also be a source of entertainment. I'm talking about couples who yell while docking, negotiating a lock, or trailering. All of us (myself included) have been guilty of this. I recommend a simple solution. Have a quick review about your intentions, expectations, and procedures before you leave or approach a dock, drop anchor, secure or release the boat from its tether, or conduct difficult navigational chores. This is the time to ask questions and bring up other concerns or options. For example, before leaving a dock, knowing in what direction the captain will pilot the boat away from the dock helps the first mate know what to expect and how to prepare. Unforeseen circumstances can occur. Wind can kick up or current may be swifter than anticipated. Without ongoing communication, the docking procedure becomes just a guessing game, which can lead to wrong decision making, regretful harsh words, and hurt feelings.