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Old 26-09-2017, 03:48   #1
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How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

We were in a bay with a number of other boats when along came a very nice couple in a tender saying they were thinking of buying a catamaran and was it possible to come on board for a look. No introductions or other other small talk. I politely refused and said we were having lunch right now but they were welcome to check back later.

On one hand it's a nice complement, on the other, an invasion of privacy.

Just interested in how other cruisers have handled the same request.
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Old 26-09-2017, 03:57   #2
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

Show them around, have done it lots of times.
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Old 26-09-2017, 04:18   #3
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

Well, it depends. I would have showed them around probably after some small talk, they seemed to be boaters too - not everybody is driving around a dinghy in a remote bay...

Most likely it will come to "show me yours and I'll show you mine" - having a nice sun downer together and exchange sail stories...

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Old 26-09-2017, 04:20   #4
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

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I politely refused and said we were having lunch right now but they were welcome to check back later.

On one hand it's a nice complement, on the other, an invasion of privacy.
The boat is your "home" and a personal space, you have no obligation to give tours to everyone who asks. So that's the starting point. Same as you'd do with your house/condo/apartment. Conducting a tour, answering a lot of questions is also an effort, sometimes.

From your description, it sounds like the people were just chasing a whim, so a refusal isn't going to be a mortal blow. There are dealers, there are rentals and charters, so there's no lack of opportunity for them to look inside boats if they're serious.

I'm a little bit reserved; I wouldn't feel any obligation to show a complete stranger around. I would be less reluctant if it's someone who we've already spent some time with, so that a level of trust has already been established.
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Old 26-09-2017, 04:26   #5
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

I have found that if I want to check out a boat I ask a lot of questions about it and if the owners are amenable to the idea they will invite you aboard.
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Old 26-09-2017, 04:44   #6
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

We have had several people stop to see our boat. We have even had people driving over the Interstate bridge next to the marina get off the Interstate to come see our boat.

To me it's a compliment and we always invite them in to see the inside. We don't see this as an invasion of privacy, we see it as a compliment.

It's your boat though and your decision.

I will add though, the people we have dealt with were relatively well dressed and not threatening looking or dounding. In some situations, I might act differently.
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Old 26-09-2017, 04:52   #7
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

If they look reasonable and otherwise seem nice (driving by in a dingy suggests they are actually boat people), sure but it's not an obligation.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:03   #8
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

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We have had several people stop to see our boat. We have even had people driving over the Interstate bridge next to the marina get off the Interstate to come see our boat.

To me it's a compliment and we always invite them in to see the inside. We don't see this as an invasion of privacy, we see it as a compliment.

It's your boat though and your decision.

I will add though, the people we have dealt with were relatively well dressed and not threatening looking or dounding. In some situations, I might act differently.
This.

It is customary among sailors to be much less compulsive about privacy, than on land. It is a very common request, for someone to want to see the inside of your boat, and it is very common among sailors to accommodate such requests. It is very common also to invite other sailors to have a look below if they seem curious, not waiting for them to ask.

I don't like to do it when the cabin is in disorder after a long passage, but I rarely refuse even in such cases. Like Ron, I might refuse if the person asking is obviously not a sailor or seems dodgy looking, but in my experience such people don't usually ask anyway.

I also like to see other people's boats and am not too shy to ask, if I'm not invited already before I can make the request.

This showing of each other's boats often ends in invitations for drinks and conversation. The ease of making new acquaintances among sailors when out cruising is one of the joys of cruising, in my book. I do go out of my way, not to miss chances of meeting new people when I'm out.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:10   #9
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

Sounds like you handled things just fine. Not sure what the issue or question is.

Of course there is no obligation to open your boat/home to anyone. But most boaters take this sort of thing as a compliment, and in this case, as a way to help a fellow boater. I wouldnít bend over backwards to give them the tour, but if it was no skin on my brow, then why the heck not?

Of course, if my spidy sense started tingling and I felt there was something sketchy about the request, Iíd politely refuse. But I canít recall a single time this happened.

We have a somewhat unique boat which tends to stand out from the crowd. Requests to see her are not uncommon. I am proud of her, and donít mind showing her off. But if I donít have the time, or am too busy with something else, I donít have a problem responding the way you did.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:31   #10
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

Some years ago an older- even elderly- gent appeared on my dock and asked to look at my boat, a Catalina 30. He explained he'd just bought a C27 a few docks down.

I invited him aboard and he was awed. He went home and told his wife that now he wanted to sell the C27 and buy a C30. She responded "dream on" which, not so ironically, became the name of the C30 they bought months later.

Despite a 30+ year difference in ages, we became best of friends. We cruised the lake and Thousand Islands together with our sisterships. We'd hang out at his lake house. While on cruise in Kingston, Ontario we peeked into the Veteran's club (he was a WW2 vet), wondered if the Canadian members would let us in- well, we stumbled out a few hours later with the same money with which we entered, and a few new friends. Once while crossing Lake Ontario we wanted to stop at a quaint mid-way harbor; I could get in but with his fin keel he could not, so we continued on together. For a decade we did so much boating together and shared many great times.

He's gone now, but when somebody asks if they can come aboard for a look-see, I remember the rewards from a similar request so long ago.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:54   #11
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

For what it's worth the couple came back later, were very polite, asked many questions and left after about 20 mins.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:59   #12
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

You were dead-on correct in your reply, and kind to leave them a window of opportunity, to which the outcome attests.
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Old 26-09-2017, 06:09   #13
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

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Originally Posted by FlyTheCoop View Post
For what it's worth the couple came back later, were very polite, asked many questions and left after about 20 mins.
Perfect. Good on ya!
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Old 26-09-2017, 08:43   #14
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

I'm pretty outgoing. The worst thing that can happen is that the people are unpleasant boors. In that case, you blow the visit off and continue your day. The best thing that can happen is that you make some new friends.
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Old 26-09-2017, 08:57   #15
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Re: How to handle a stranger's request to come aboard for a look.

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Originally Posted by FlyTheCoop View Post
We were in a bay with a number of other boats when along came a very nice couple in a tender saying they were thinking of buying a catamaran and was it possible to come on board for a look. No introductions or other other small talk. I politely refused and said we were having lunch right now but they were welcome to check back later.

On one hand it's a nice complement, on the other, an invasion of privacy.

Just interested in how other cruisers have handled the same request.
Some years ago we sailed a San Juan 24 from Youngstown to Ontario Place in Toronto. They moored us up along the quay and shortly two young guys came by and admired the boat. They ID it and began by discussing it's record as a MORC racer. After much pleasent conversation, asked if they could see below. Flattered, we gave them the tour pointing out the advantages and disadvantes....after which they thanked us and went on their way.....a dock mate wandered over and asked how it felt to be checked out by the RCMP......

Man and His World was playing in Montreal and the Canadian's were taking no chances. Professional eh hoser........
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