FAMILY FUN OR FAMILY FEUD?
Last week I conducted a skipper’s course that included two ladies on their own, as their partners were already licensed. They each had vessels varying in size from 4.8m to 6 metres and were regular boaties. I asked them why they had come to the course and besides the obvious answer of wanting to get their license, one stated that she was keen to know how to respond if anything went wrong, while the other was more blunt. She was sick of being ‘bossed’ around, yelled at when she did something wrong and not being shown properly and calmly how to be a good deckie. This one was feisty, keen to know everything I had to offer and was looking to turn the tables on what had sometimes been a difficult day out on the water for her family.
I immediately knew I had to tread carefully, as my aim was not just to have the client achieve her license, but to come up with strategies to help her, hubbie and the whole family enjoy their time on the water. Nothing worse than it all turning to mud at the start or end of the day when the boat smacks into the jetty, no ropes ready, no idea how to tie a decent knot, kids jumping off the boat before it is secured, etc, etc, etc. As I worked through the theory session, she asked many great questions and I encouraged her to come up with the answers herself, as it was obvious she had the basic knowledge, but perhaps it had been ‘forced’ into the background. I also know there are always two sides to every story, so did not want to get too involved in the banter.
When I discussed the need for the skipper to brief everyone about the location of the safety equipment and how to use it, she stated, “He has never done that and I’ve got no idea how to use the EPIRB”. Same again when we outlined the need to have a launch and recovery plan, “Never have a clue what’s going on!” And as for how to secure the vessel to the jetty while he parks the vehicle, “He just drives off, no instructions and complains it’s not done properly when he returns”. Ummmm!
As we went further, I brought in another approach, which was firstly to admit that many of the issues she was having, I had also done, in earlier boating years, with my own family and friends. If she was genuinely keen to make it better, the last thing she should do when she returned home at the end of the day would be to say things like, “Wayne said you are doing that wrong”, or “Wayne said you should have told me this”, as I could likely expect a burly Port Hedland miner meeting me at the boat ramp one day with a “Please Explain”! She had to find a way to gradually introduce the strategies we had discussed, not all at once, in a suggestive manner, rather than a must do manner, or she would just be perpetuating the problem and this could be a recipe for disaster.
Now some of you blokes out there may well be wishing I had never written this article, but I have thrown out the challenge to you if you have an enthusiastic partner and kids, keen on boating, but they have forever been ‘passive recipients’. Let them have a drive now and again under your supervision, get them involved in all the seamanship skills required for a good, safe day out, invest in their boating future by enrolling them in a course as early in their boating life as possible, so less time for bad habits to be formed and most importantly, be patient and keep it fun for the whole family.
To answer last week’s question, the BHP Billiton ore train typically carries 268 carriages, which means be patient at the railway crossings. This week’s question is, “What is the purpose of the ‘Tag’ function on a VHF marine radio?
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