Devin Noone

On-Water Training Coordinator

Boating with Friends: Tips from a “Pro”

Part One

Whether you are taking new friends boating or you are new to boating and have been invited as a guest, consider these pro-tips so all aboard have a fun, safe time. This two-part series will cover safety and comfort considerations for the boat owner to keep in mind, and next blog post, some things to keep in mind as a guest so you’re sure to get invited back.

One of the best parts of boating is sharing the experience with our friends and loved ones. Some of the best memories in life are created out on the water. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, as the boat owner, so that everyone has a positive, memorable experience. This week, we will cover a few things to keep in mind as a boat owner to ensure your guests have a great day out on the boat.

Ask about your friends’ boating experience – Knowing about your friends and guests experience level(s) before you head out will help you get a better understanding of what they need to be informed about and how to communicate with them while onboard.

Go over safety equipment and procedures with everyone on the boat – It is always important to put safety first. Getting everyone familiar with the location and use of all safety equipment on the boat will ensure a level of comfort for new and seasoned boating friends alike. You should also inform your guest(s) of the safety procedures and what to do, or not to do, during an emergency. Going over this information now will make an urgent situation easier to handle if one were to arise.

Make your friends comfortable – Letting your friends know where the best places to sit are, encouraging them to wear a life jacket if they are nervous or wish to wear one, letting them know what your plan for the day is, and creating a fun, safe environment will benefit everyone onboard and set the tone for a great boating day!

Ask your friends to help, within reason – Teaching your friends something new is a good use of your time, but do not ask or demand tasks outside of their experience or knowledge level. This will undoubtedly set them up for failure and make things harder on everyone aboard. Have a plan before you go when it comes to docking, anchoring, line handling, and any other technical skill, using yourself and experienced crewmembers to accomplish the task.

Expect your friends to ask for help – Most guests, or at least the ones that wish to be invited back, will likely ask if they can help with the tasks at hand. The bad news is that many of the jobs will require some level of input from you. How do I coil this? Where does this get stowed? How do you extend the boat hook? All great questions. You should expect most guests to be inquisitive…you may even find some guests who are willing to help with navigation and helming the boat. Think of these offers to help as teaching moments - unique opportunities to share an experience not found in any book or video.

Tell your friends about other fun things you have done aboard – many of your friends would be delighted by just how many things you can actually do with a boat. It is not just sailing along, or planing at full-speed. Tell them about anchoring in a private cove, going to a dockside restaurant, or beaching for a swim. Alternatively, you might have stories about fishing at first light or seeing shooting stars at night. Nevertheless, a word of advice, save the scary tales and war stories for after the boat is tied up at the dock at the end of the day.

So go ahead! Invite someone new to boating this summer, and make some new memories and possibly some great new crew members. Next post in part-two, we will talk about guest etiquette and what they can do to ensure they get invited back!

Do you have any tips you can add? We would like to hear from you. Send your tips to!