Boat Guests Notes From the Dockside

Throwback Thursday: Having Guests Aboard

Thursday, July 31, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

From October of 2013, some tips for surviving boat guests that we've learned over the years.


When I asked David if he had any advice about having guests aboard, his recommendation was “don’t.”  Which is exactly what I knew he would say.  Whether on land or on the water, guests can be stressful.  Part of this, of course, is simply because they don’t know your rhythms and routines . . . or what drives you crazy. But whether you have a “good” guest or a "bad" one aboard, there are some things you can do to make the experience enjoyable for everyone:

  • Choose Wisely:  There are exceptions to every rule but, in our experience, friends and family with some boating experience make the best guests:  They understand that there’s an ebb and a flow to this lifestyle.  Landlubbers.  Not so much. 

  • Flexibility is Key:  This is the one that seems to get into the way most often.  Plans change.  Things happen.  Weather interferes.  And boat equipment fails.  We don’t sail to a schedule and can’t say with any level of certainty where we’ll be at any given time – we live in generalities, which is perfectly fine with us.  But try to add a third party to the mix and it becomes complicated.  So, unless we’re tied up for the winter, flexibility is key for anybody who’d like to come for a visit. 

  • Communication:  It’s your job to educate your guests on everything and anything they may need to know while aboard – from the general “boat rules” to knowing where everything is and how to use it (this goes double for the head). 

  • We All Need Our Space:  Make sure your guests have space of their own, or they’ll always be in yours.  This goes for their things as well.  Cambria has a great layout for guests with a private v-berth and ensuite, but lacks when it comes to common areas.  The salon is “cozy” and the cockpit is built with ocean passages in mind, not entertaining.  So it’s important to keep these areas clear of “stuff” to make room for people (not to mention a curious dog who likes to be part of the action). 


  • Plan, Plan and Plan Some More:  And when you’re finished with that, make back-up plans.  Keeping your guests busy is key.  While we’re happy to spend lazy days aboard doing next to nothing, guests who just spent a lot of money to see us are not.  Visit anchorages with plenty to do and rediscover some of your favourite places through the eyes of your guests.  The days will pass much faster and, before you know it, your boat will be yours again.

  • Galleys Weren’t Built For Two:  They really weren’t, so share the responsibilities.  There’s nothing wrong with allowing your guests to help prepare some of the meals (three times a day adds up to A LOT of extra work) or to help out with the dishes.



  • Be Realistic:  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  If guests aren’t your thing, so be it.  Know yourself and how long you can share your space – if at all. 

  • See the Light at the End of the Tunnel:  Nothing lasts forever, even boat guests, and it’s important to recognize that they will be leaving sooner or later and mentally mark the days off the calendar.

And remember, having a guest aboard is an opportunity to spend quality time with people you love, so let go of your routine, relax and enjoy!



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