Friday, May 26, 2017

4 Tips for Enjoying a Holiday Weekend on the Water

 Summer has arrived!  Your boat is in the water, ready to go.  The weather is getting warm, and the beer is ice cold.  Your family, including the second cousin you haven’t seen in twenty years; and friends that you haven’t seen since kindergarten are calling you offering their services on your boat.  On top of that, every other boat owner in America is planning to be out on your water this weekend.  This presents some challenges that you should be ready for.  These tips will help make sure you have a great weekend.

  1. Safety First- The traffic will probably be doubled or tripled, and the average experience level will be half or less than normal.  Keep your eyes peeled, and be ready for anything.  It’s the beginning of the year, some people are on their boats for the first time of the season.  They might not have known the rules very well at the end of last year, so now they’re really rusty and their reactions are going to be slow.  Take it on yourself to avoid dangerous situations, make your intentions known early and obviously, and always keep a good lookout.  Also know the uses and locations of all of your safety gear, and make sure it didn’t expire over the winter.

  1. Prepare Ahead of Time- The sleepy fuel dock where you have to wake up the attendant to fill up your tank?  Get ready for a three deep raft of boats.  Their fuel, beer, and water prices might have gone up as well, and they’re probably out of ice.  If you possibly can, fuel up the boat the day or weekend before, and show up with your coolers full and ready to go.  Finding a mechanic is also going to be a lot more difficult or expensive than usual.  A dead battery or a bad impeller can keep you stuck at the dock when you should be out.  Either do a shakedown in the week leading up to your big days, or pay someone to take care of it for you (and make sure they’ll answer your call on Saturday morning)

  1. Be Patient- Traffic will be up on land and on the water, parking will be crowded, local restaurants will be slammed and slow.  These things can be enough to make you forget about the beautiful weather, and the special times with friends and family.  Take a deep breath and smile.  There’s nothing you can do but make sure that you and everyone else continue to enjoy the day.  Rushing will either get someone mad, cause an accident or unsafe situation, or get you to ruin the day by yelling at someone.

  1. Make Sure You Can Enjoy The Whole Weekend- It may have been a long winter, and you might not remember some important things.  Wear your sunscreen.  You want to show off your tan back at the office on Tuesday, but peeling skin isn’t going to impress anyone.  Stay hydrated.  Make sure you have a lot of water, especially if you’re drinking something else.  If you are drinking, be responsible.  Never operate your boat under the influence, and follow your local laws.  I always assume that the other boats out there might not be, and stay further away as it gets later in the day.   Look out for this guy.

With these tips, you’re well on your way to having a great weekend.  Take some time to remember what Memorial Day really means.  As always, post any questions that you have.  

If you find yourself stranded on land this weekend, I can help find you the perfect boat for you and your family.

Thank you for reading,

Rob Harring


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 Tips for Training Your Less Experienced Spouse

You may dream of sailing off into the sunset with your spouse some day.  This is a wonderful goal, but it can be difficult if they don’t have the skills and confidence that are necessary.  Teaching them yourself can be very tempting, but there are some potential downsides. There’s nothing that kills a day on the water faster than yelling.  “I’m Not Yelling” is usually not the right response.  We want our partners to share our joy of the water, but they need to build experience.  Here are five tips to help them gain skills in a safe, fun way.    

Image result for couple sailing

  1. Choose Jobs Well- There’s an advantage to knowing your crew member intimately.  You should have a pretty good idea of what jobs are best (and worst) for them.  In general, if you’re the experienced boater, take the hard jobs.  On a sailboat, work the lines while your partner holds the wheel.  Be the one to step off the boat at the dock.  Too many people get stuck in a rut of doing the easy jobs themselves and trying to train people to do the physically harder jobs.    

  1. Don’t Let Yourself Get Stressed- One of the biggest mistakes that people make is trying to train someone else when they aren’t fully comfortable themselves.  Make sure that practice is done in a safe place.  Open water for driving, a soft buoy to practice pulling up to, or a wide open dock can be very helpful to someone trying to gain confidence.  Making mistakes and correcting them is one of the most important parts of learning.  Do your training somewhere that you can allow that to happen safely.  

  1. Pick Your Times- People learn best when they are fresh.  I prefer to do the bulk of my teaching early, and relax more as the day goes on.  Set aside an hour or two at the beginning of the day for teaching, and then allow people to use their new skills throughout a normal day of boating.  This helps avoid a major problem that I’ve seen.  At the end of a day, people are tired and usually dehydrated.  The first thing that a tired, dehydrated person loses is their temper.  Get the teaching out of the way early and avoid losing yours.    

  1. Set Reasonable Expectations- Some of us were lucky to learn our boating skills when we were too young to think too much.  Your spouse did not have those years to learn slowly and steadily.  They need to make up for those years now.  Make sure they can feel good about small steps of progress.  That will keep them coming back out.  Your spouse most likely won’t be sailing the Southern Ocean anytime soon, so let them feel good about the baby steps of getting comfortable on your home waters.    

  1. If All Else Fails, Have Someone Else Do It-  Most of us don’t home school our children, and there’s no need to be a boating instructor to our families either.  Learning on a boat is stressful enough for some people without adding family stress as well.  There are a lot of professionals out there who can take care of teaching for you.        

If you or anyone you know is in the market for a new or used boat, I use my expertise to help match people with the perfect boat.    

Thank you for reading,

Rob Harring