Captain's Corner

Captains may call us for a copy of a generic "crew agreement" that they can adapt for their needs. Unfortunately, in today's society, it is often advisable to have a written understanding signed and witnessed before departure to cover oneself against liability. Generally more important for international travel where you become responsible for your crew.

It is the captain's responsibility to put a good crew together. Ask prospective crew about their sailing experience, longest passage, night sailing experience, and worst weather experience? Look for people who might compliment your weakness (someone with mechanical skills? Cooking abilities? A clean freak?) Remember it is important to choose people that you and everyone else can get along with. Pick crew that are interested in learning and good at following orders. Take a chance on someone with a little less experience or a little older than you think you might normally take along. These crew members often work out well by putting in the extra effort. My best crew normally comes from these two groups.

It is very important that the captain explain what the crew needs to bring and what should be left behind. The crew should know before hand what will be expected of them and where and under what conditions they will be living. When the crew joins the boat you should go over the boat with them explaining safety equipment and ships systems. Review the planned itinerary and courses to steer. Explain the watch schedule and how you like to keep your log. Go over the first aid kit and learn who has what skills to offer.

Our "crew members surveys" ask many basic questions to help explore compatibility. We will be happy to send any captain a copy of our crew survey's so they can use them as a guide in evaluating prospective phone over the phone and then in person. The survey covers subjects such as concerns about special dietary needs. Does any one smoke or ban smokers? Do You allow drinking at sea. It is the captains job to set the tone of the trip and let everyone before hand how he likes to run his boat and his crew. Make sure your rules are understood before getting crew to agree to sail with you.

Also find out what special skills or tools crew members may encouraged to bring along. If some one is a musician they should be encouraged to bring their instruments. If they are mechanics, they can bring their special or favorite tools, navigators can bring an extra handheld. Look for medical skills, foreign language skills, and especially conversational skills that can help out on many a long passage.

With proper preparation and qualifying over the phone, there is no reason why you should not be able to find qualified crew that will make your offshore passage experiences more enjoyable.

If you do have a problem please do not hesitate to call us and we will see what we should do about taking any opportunity off our list that does not seem to work out. Please feel free to call 1-800-4PASSAGE for this purpose.