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Old 13-09-2016, 00:51   #31
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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When voting is needed. These people are guests on a boat. They are not paying for food or anything. But that is almost beside the point. A boat has a Captain. These people have no vote. They have the duty to follow reasonable instructions. The duty to be respectful of the Captain -home owner, Duty to contribute in the galley and on deck. And the absolute duty to be thankful that a kind person has given them so much and such an opportunity.

If this was a shared boat where everybody owned shares in the boat and everyone contributed equally as boat owners then a vote would be appropriate. But even then. A person who is the nominated Captain is the person in charge. Deciding when to leave a port is the Captains decision because of weather conditions. Etc. Etc.

If these people lied about experience and ate your food, slept on your boat (home) and we're not able to contribute as this was the purpose of you having them on board. You have every right to put them ashore at the next port. And to heck with how they get home. They lied.

Liers and rude pieces of work have no place aboard a vessel.

I would be very concerned about having on board a real nut case that could stab you while asleep. Or push you overboard because he didn't like being told to be more careful how he used the head.

With the general deterioration of society in so many ways you need to be very careful. Any sign of mental instability. They are off.

Would you go around picking strangers up off the street and have them come and live in your home? It's like playing Russian Roulette if you don't know very well who they are.

I like what the other sailor suggested. Take potential crew out for a full day or overnight cruise first. Watch them, test them and any sign of rudeness, lack of teachability, skills or mental emotional issues then return them to port and wave them goodbye.

If you can sail solo then enjoy your freedom. If you get lonely, buy a cat or dog. If it's a mate in the long term relationship you are looking for then relax, walk you cat or dog to cafes and let destiny work it's magic.

Good luck and happy sailing.

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Old 13-09-2016, 01:31   #32
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

A boat is not a place for democracy. My wife and I have a saying "first we take care of the boat and it will take care of us." We know what works best while docking, sailing in poor weather and how the systems on the boat operate most efficiently. Invited people can make recommendations if asked, but the bottom line is... We know the boat better than them and we make the final decision.

It they don't like it because they aren't getting a warm and fuzzy feeling... Tough!

After the last two bad experiences, hopefully there won't be a third.
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Old 13-09-2016, 01:42   #33
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

¿'Vote'? ¿Qué 'Vote'?

A memorable quote be going on with..... coming into a 'hot' and tight anchorage, too much sail up, things happening at an alarmingly fast rate, I tell a crew member to go frd and sort the anchor out..... response ' we haven't had a meeting yet about who is doing that today'......

That was up there with 'you didn't say please'.....

I've already shared the story about the Dickhead who said steering the boat wasn't in his contract, told the cook the previous night's dinner was pig swill and other fun stuff.....
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Old 13-09-2016, 02:10   #34
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

Benign dictatorship.

In the States, I owned a couple of under 50 foot offshore motor fishing boats. I would often go out a couple hundred miles and spend 2 or three days fishing.

Of course it made me a lot of friends.

I only ever chose people to come with me that I knew personally, and trusted. They were all keen fishermen and most had their own flats boats for the Florida shallows.

We would meet on the boat, I would show them (those that had not been out day fishing with me before) the cabins they were assigned to, walk through the systems they needed to know, show them the helm stations, the equipment and then take them to the galley and show them the cooking situation.

Now every one of them was either a 6 pack captain or held qualifications for boating.... plus knew the waters well. ALL of them were better local boaters than me. In saying that, they all defered to me as "the captain" and they as experienced crew. In truth I could have gone to bed for three days and the boat was in safe hands...

When we returned to dock, the boat was in immaculate condition, the fishing deck washed down, all the rods and reels cleaned and stowed, the cabins stripped of bedding and all bundled in a laundry bag which one of them took off with him and dropped at my clinic 3 days later.

There would be note for the fuel dock to fill whatever we had used and it would be paid by them. (remember we could easily burn 36 gallons an hour if I leaned on the lever...I kept it down to about 20)

I paid for all beverages and food and ancilliaries.......

We sometimes would take the wives and children of my friends... all of them jumped in to help and were very appreciative... one teenage son of a friend 'prefered' not to help and at dinner he got just a plain salad instead of the steak and trimmings......... he became the most enthusiastic of all after that. I still get an email from him from time to time as he goes through college...

So - I guess I dont really want to go the route of unknown persons on my boat. Like minded people are the best. Its not a democracy ever. The captain is the person in charge yet with professionals nothing really has to be said except in a seaway manouvre or docking procedure...and what is said is for timing or for clarification... Sometimes I would just let the guys take over and I would go cook... Each one was truly skilled and trusted and capable. I learned more from them than they from me... The sign of a good mariner is accepting someone else has the responsibility even if you know better... its called professionalism and humility. I am competent in my boat handling but these guys were lifelong experienced and defered to me.

I cant imagine what it would be like to have someone on board that gave grief. Naah, not going to happen. Better to sail alone or have genuine paying guests who want a holiday and have no intentions of helping.
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Old 13-09-2016, 02:15   #35
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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Obviously, you've never sailed with an out of control drunken jackass onboard your boat. You're right "time will tell." I sincerely hope your luck with democracy continues.

True.

But I don't allow significant quantities of alcohol on the boat in the first place. Partly for safety and partly because the legal implications are a nightmare here in Oz.

I did have one dinner party on board one night where a tragically inebriated uninvited guest came aboard. Thankfully he was not aggressive but it was a terrifying moment when he appeared in the cockpit and attempted to negotiate the 7 foot descent to join us in the cabin. We were able to save him from a broken neck.


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Old 13-09-2016, 02:17   #36
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

20 years ago when I caught the boating bug a buddy who introduced me to it was giving me pointers on how to choose a crew for longer than an overnight cruise. Pretty much what was said before - take them for a day sail, etc. Well I've gotten so good at spotting the dead weights, the destroyers and the drama queens and kings that in 98% of the cases I can spot one just looking at the way they came to the dock.

A few years back an otherwise good buddy of mine was invited for a day sail with a view toward more invitations in case he proves to be an OK fit. Well first red flag was his nagging about having to have a smoke even after I gave a lecture against smoking while under sail. After we anchored for lunch I have relegated his smoking area to the swimming platform with a proviso to extinguish the butts in the water but not to leave them there. Of course this caution went over his head and after I saw him flickering his butt in the water I gave him a 3rd degree about it. About an hour later I notice a smoldering butt by the bulwark by the look of which this must have been just recently flickered, so an hour after my rant. I did not want to make a scene as there were other, well behaved, guests present but needless to say this guy was never back on the boat. Since that time he's been giving me not so subtle hints how much fun he had during that outing and if I ever need someone to help with the lines... Yeah, right.

Over the years I have found that the best guests are the people who either own boats, owned boats before or had parents who owned boats. But even then there were exceptions but mostly due to substance abuse and such. Most others need to be educated long and hard before they acquire enough of an understanding to be in sinc with the boat's needs and my terms. And then there are those who insist on coming with their small children, dogs and mothers in law. But that's a whole 'nother story.
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Old 13-09-2016, 02:39   #37
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

My experience is totally opposite to all this.

I've had dozens of volunteer crew over the years and I've never had a single really bad experience. It happens regularly that a prospective crew exaggerates his experience or abilities, but this is usually not a big problem when there are other people -- people always find something to do which suits their abilities. Otherwise I've had no significant problems and different crew have become really good friends.

I can only think of two reasons why you all have been having such problems

1. Maybe there’s a cultural difference between Europe and the U.S. Volunteer crew in Europe are usually of two types – either (a) retired or self-employed people with time on their hands who ywant to go sailing, don’t have a boat or don’t have a boat in the area they want to sail in, and find volunteer crewing cheaper and easier than chartering; (b) or RYA yachtmaster candidates who are building sea miles and experience.

Both types make good crew. The yachtmaster candidates often have little practical knowledge because they are learning by theory, but usually make up for it in eagerness. They get taught in the first courses all the things crew should do to help. The other group vary a lot in ability, from very little sailing ability to really superb sailors. Just as an example, I had three Danish guys with my last year on my trip from the UK into the Baltic, which included a North Sea crossing. They were all Yachtmaster Ocean qualified, all absolutely superb sailors, and great guys. They have their own boats (one boat shared by two of them), and we met again this year and did a lot of very pleasant cruising in company – they had brought their own boat this year to some of the places we explored together on my boat last year.

In Europe, unless it’s a delivery, volunteer crew share expenses – food, berthing, and fuel. When the crew is sharing the expense (even if it is a symbolic amount compared to the total cost of running the boat), that makes them “co-owners” of the voyage and are definitely not any kind of “employees”. I find that the roles are much clearer, and expectations much easier to manage, if the crew is either sharing the expenses and so are “partners” in the voyage, or are being paid by me, so clearly employees. Crew you don’t pay, and don’t pay you, are neither fish nor fowl, and I think this makes the relationship harder to manage.

2. I’ve got to think that there could be some leadership issues here. Just because you are feeding them, doesn’t make them your employees – sailors don’t work for food, as a rule. So it means you need to understand that they are expecting to get something out of the voyage besides just working on deck. For this to be pleasant and worthwhile for everyone, there has to be a meeting of expectations – on both sides. You need to communicate clearly what you expect from them – before you agree to take them – and listen carefully to what they expect from you and from the voyage – and you have to be sure that you have a meeting of the minds, before you take them on. Then, once you’ve taken them, your job as skipper is to manage the whole process, to get out of the crew what you need from them, and make sure they are getting what they need and are happy. This is leadership and is the essence of skippering.

If it’s just a delivery and you don’t plan on stopping anywhere, then you need to clearly agree about that. There are plenty of crew who like to do deliveries and are available for that, but this is very different from volunteer crew participating in a cruise, where there should be some shore time, and everyone should be having fun. For a delivery, I would expect to pay some daily rate on top of covering the expenses, and for that I would expect a certain level of professionalism, and no need to entertain anyone. But if it’s a cruise, and they are participating in the expenses, or you are just covering expenses but not paying anything, then you can’t subordinate their interests to your desire to get the boat somewhere – what they signed up to was some fun cruising besides making miles, and so you need to make it a fun cruise. Yes, it does mean that you are in effect entertaining them, to some extent. As skipper, you are responsible for overall organization. Again, the crucial thing is that everyone understand everyone else’s expectations, and that there is a clear agreement.

One expectation which is very important to meet is, if you have yachtmaster candidates who are trying to learn, you have to make sure that they are in fact getting a rewarding learning experience. You have to make sure they get jobs which are expanding their skills, and share your own knowledge with them. Of course if you don’ have much knowledge to share in the first place, they may be disappointed.


Concerning putting dirty sea boots on silk pillows – people’s well-brought-upness varies, and you should try to choose people in the first place, who are less uncouth. But there will always be something or another like this when you have strangers in your home. You have to know how to tell someone that you would prefer that they didn’t do that, in a friendly and polite way so that it doesn’t cause friction. Unless you’ve chosen real barbarians as crew (which will have been your fault), this can always be regulated.

I really enjoy volunteer crew. I’m sure that part of it is just luck, but I’ve never had a really bad experience, and I’ve made some lifelong friends. I rather like single-handing sometimes, but a vessel at sea is, I think, fundamentally a group activity, and managing and leading the group is THE fundamental job of the skipper. Like the other jobs we have on board, it’s fun when you get it right, and the ship is running well, and people are having fun and are enjoying each other’s company. It is a distinct skill.

I don’t by any means claim to be the world’s greatest skipper myself. I bring to my boat the same leadership style I have used in different companies I’ve run during my career, which is very much to set clear overall goals, and get people inspired by a certain vision of how to achieve them, but try to allow people to find their own way to do their own part in the process, just giving a nudge here and there. This is not always the best way to do it – sometimes in business like on the boat closer management is needed, which is not my forte.

I disagree completely with the idea that consensus and leadership are contradictions, and I think Margaret Thatcher was misquoted. On the contrary, leadership is totally based on consensus – it’s based on making people WANT to do, what they need to do, for the group effort. It doesn’t mean that people do any old thing they feel like doing at any moment, it does not mean an absence of authority or discipline, but it means you have to get people signed up to and fully on board, your program or project, whatever it is. Authority itself, will never exist, if you can’t do this. Lady Thatcher was superb at this, at least in her first years in office. A good skipper has to do the same.
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Old 13-09-2016, 02:51   #38
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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True.

But I don't allow significant quantities of alcohol on the boat in the first place. Partly for safety and partly because the legal implications are a nightmare here in Oz.

I did have one dinner party on board one night where a tragically inebriated uninvited guest came aboard. Thankfully he was not aggressive but it was a terrifying moment when he appeared in the cockpit and attempted to negotiate the 7 foot descent to join us in the cabin. We were able to save him from a broken neck.


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The drunken fool brought his own Scotch onboard. Like you, we don't bring any booze onboard and just have an occasional beer maybe once or twice a day if even. Nothing during passages.
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Old 13-09-2016, 02:53   #39
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

Certainly if you're picking among people already involved in boating of some kind chances are you will find the majority of them at least proficient enough to be a decent crew. Personality wise it can still be a problem but that's another issue. I never had a problem with any of my boat owning/chartering buddies bringing their boatie friends, etc. Where I often find a problem it is with the staunch landlubbers, even if on land they're fine people with good intentions. Some people are just not born to be on the water. And one may not find that out until one is some distance from land. That's why I am a firm believer in those trial day sails and such.
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Old 13-09-2016, 02:57   #40
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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My experience is totally opposite to all this.

I've had dozens of volunteer crew over the years and I've never had a single really bad experience. It happens regularly that a prospective crew exaggerates his experience or abilities, but this is usually not a big problem when there are other people -- people always find something to do which suits their abilities. Otherwise I've had no significant problems and different crew have become really good friends.

I can only think of two reasons why you all have been having such problems

1. Maybe there’s a cultural difference between Europe and the U.S. Volunteer crew in Europe are usually of two types – either (a) retired or self-employed people with time on their hands who ywant to go sailing, don’t have a boat or don’t have a boat in the area they want to sail in, and find volunteer crewing cheaper and easier than chartering; (b) or RYA yachtmaster candidates who are building sea miles and experience.

Both types make good crew. The yachtmaster candidates often have little practical knowledge because they are learning by theory, but usually make up for it in eagerness. They get taught in the first courses all the things crew should do to help. The other group vary a lot in ability, from very little sailing ability to really superb sailors. Just as an example, I had three Danish guys with my last year on my trip from the UK into the Baltic, which included a North Sea crossing. They were all Yachtmaster Ocean qualified, all absolutely superb sailors, and great guys. They have their own boats (one boat shared by two of them), and we met again this year and did a lot of very pleasant cruising in company – they had brought their own boat this year to some of the places we explored together on my boat last year.

In Europe, unless it’s a delivery, volunteer crew share expenses – food, berthing, and fuel. When the crew is sharing the expense (even if it is a symbolic amount compared to the total cost of running the boat), that makes them “co-owners” of the voyage and are definitely not any kind of “employees”. I find that the roles are much clearer, and expectations much easier to manage, if the crew is either sharing the expenses and so are “partners” in the voyage, or are being paid by me, so clearly employees. Crew you don’t pay, and don’t pay you, are neither fish nor fowl, and I think this makes the relationship harder to manage.

2. I’ve got to think that there could be some leadership issues here. Just because you are feeding them, doesn’t make them your employees – sailors don’t work for food, as a rule. So it means you need to understand that they are expecting to get something out of the voyage besides just working on deck. For this to be pleasant and worthwhile for everyone, there has to be a meeting of expectations – on both sides. You need to communicate clearly what you expect from them – before you agree to take them – and listen carefully to what they expect from you and from the voyage – and you have to be sure that you have a meeting of the minds, before you take them on. Then, once you’ve taken them, your job as skipper is to manage the whole process, to get out of the crew what you need from them, and make sure they are getting what they need and are happy. This is leadership and is the essence of skippering.

If it’s just a delivery and you don’t plan on stopping anywhere, then you need to clearly agree about that. There are plenty of crew who like to do deliveries and are available for that, but this is very different from volunteer crew participating in a cruise, where there should be some shore time, and everyone should be having fun. For a delivery, I would expect to pay some daily rate on top of covering the expenses, and for that I would expect a certain level of professionalism, and no need to entertain anyone. But if it’s a cruise, and they are participating in the expenses, or you are just covering expenses but not paying anything, then you can’t subordinate their interests to your desire to get the boat somewhere – what they signed up to was some fun cruising besides making miles, and so you need to make it a fun cruise. Yes, it does mean that you are in effect entertaining them, to some extent. As skipper, you are responsible for overall organization. Again, the crucial thing is that everyone understand everyone else’s expectations, and that there is a clear agreement.

One expectation which is very important to meet is, if you have yachtmaster candidates who are trying to learn, you have to make sure that they are in fact getting a rewarding learning experience. You have to make sure they get jobs which are expanding their skills, and share your own knowledge with them. Of course if you don’ have much knowledge to share in the first place, they may be disappointed.


Concerning putting dirty sea boots on silk pillows – people’s well-brought-upness varies, and you should try to choose people in the first place, who are less uncouth. But there will always be something or another like this when you have strangers in your home. You have to know how to tell someone that you would prefer that they didn’t do that, in a friendly and polite way so that it doesn’t cause friction. Unless you’ve chosen real barbarians as crew (which will have been your fault), this can always be regulated.

I really enjoy volunteer crew. I’m sure that part of it is just luck, but I’ve never had a really bad experience, and I’ve made some lifelong friends. I rather like single-handing sometimes, but a vessel at sea is, I think, fundamentally a group activity, and managing and leading the group is THE fundamental job of the skipper. Like the other jobs we have on board, it’s fun when you get it right, and the ship is running well, and people are having fun and are enjoying each other’s company. It is a distinct skill.

I don’t by any means claim to be the world’s greatest skipper myself. I bring to my boat the same leadership style I have used in different companies I’ve run during my career, which is very much to set clear overall goals, and get people inspired by a certain vision of how to achieve them, but try to allow people to find their own way to do their own part in the process, just giving a nudge here and there. This is not always the best way to do it – sometimes in business like on the boat closer management is needed, which is not my forte.

I disagree completely with the idea that consensus and leadership are contradictions, and I think Margaret Thatcher was misquoted. On the contrary, leadership is totally based on consensus – it’s based on making people WANT to do, what they need to do, for the group effort. It doesn’t mean that people do any old thing they feel like doing at any moment, it does not mean an absence of authority or discipline, but it means you have to get people signed up to and fully on board, your program or project, whatever it is. Authority itself, will never exist, if you can’t do this. Lady Thatcher was superb at this, at least in her first years in office. A good skipper has to do the same.
I'd be happy to give you the contact information for each of our previous problem guests.... Your outcome will be the same.
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Old 13-09-2016, 02:59   #41
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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The drunken fool brought his own Scotch onboard. Like you, we don't bring any booze onboard and just have an occasional beer maybe once or twice a day if even. Nothing during passages.
Yeah, fair point, in which case, I have been lucky so far. And so far I guess we've only had a few dozen crew members on board... but I have not yet felt a hint of problems, and I've met some really fun people.

It's been one of the best things about owning the boat so far.
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Old 13-09-2016, 03:17   #42
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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Yeah, fair point, in which case, I have been lucky so far. And so far I guess we've only had a few dozen crew members on board... but I have not yet felt a hint of problems, and I've met some really fun people.

It's been one of the best things about owning the boat so far.
The best guests we've had onboard were those with no prior sailing experience, a blank slate willing to learn. The first thing they said onboard "what can we do to help? How about if I clean and my wife does some of the cooking, just tell us what you need."

We had a wonderful two weeks.
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Old 13-09-2016, 03:23   #43
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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I'd be happy to give you the contact information for each of our previous problem guests.... Your outcome will be the same.
I don't doubt you -- I wrote that I've been lucky. Naturally there are some irredeemable, unmanageable people out there.

I have been lucky a few dozen times in a row, however.
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Old 13-09-2016, 05:04   #44
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

Three times I have taken people on our boat who were not boat people. Twice for brief day sails, once a nice enough fellow on an extended trip.

Never ever again!
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Old 13-09-2016, 05:40   #45
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Re: How Much Abuse do you Tolerate on Your Boat

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2. I’ve got to think that there could be some leadership issues here. Just because you are feeding them, doesn’t make them your employees – sailors don’t work for food, as a rule. So it means you need to understand that they are expecting to get something out of the voyage besides just working on deck. For this to be pleasant and worthwhile for everyone, there has to be a meeting of expectations – on both sides. You need to communicate clearly what you expect from them – before you agree to take them – and listen carefully to what they expect from you and from the voyage – and you have to be sure that you have a meeting of the minds, before you take them on. Then, once you’ve taken them, your job as skipper is to manage the whole process, to get out of the crew what you need from them, and make sure they are getting what they need and are happy. This is leadership and is the essence of skippering.
I think this is true for family and friends as well. The point is that by communicating expectation very early on, your guests will know expected behavior on your boat. "Please enjoy yourselves. I take a lot of pride and care in my boat, I love to share it with my friends. But please understand that this is my home. Respect goes a long way eh?"

Said with a warm smile.
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