Do you know the capability of the people on board with you? As skipper you are responsible for them but you are also relying on them to help you should the boat - or you - get into trouble. It also makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone if you can give appropriate tasks to people so that they can be tested but not unpleasantly challenged during their sail.
Find out the following when you have a new or old crew joining you for a trip out:
- Are they able to get on and off the boat? Will it be easier to pick them up from a marina or use a water taxi?
- Have they been on a boat before? A full boat briefing are essential and pointing out the location of safety equipment is very important. Show them how to turn of the gas in the galley and how to use the radio.
- Do they have their own lifejackets or do they need one? Make sure they fit and are appropriate for the size and weight of crew.
- Find out if they have a tendency to get travel sick. Carry some anti-sickness remedies from ginger to tablets. Ginger biscuits are always a nice afternoon snack!
- Have you told them how long they can expect to be out for? You don’t want to find out that somebody needs some routine medication and you are a mile off shore.
- Would they be able to control the boat if you fell over board? Could they come back and pick you up? You may think that, because they have been on a boat before, they know what to do in an emergency but that’s not always the case. A safety briefing and a quick man over boat procedure is a great way to keep everyone safe.
Communication between you and the crew should start well before the boat leaves its mooring so that you can all enjoy a great day together.