I work regularly with a boat brokerage which also charters vessels. There are some fifteen boats out, and during the peak weeks, virtually all of them are earning money for their owners, helping to pay some of their operating costs, at least.
It's interesting to see the charterer check-out process. As we said some JIB SHEET issues ago, the best skippers tend to be the ones who are "studied" in their approach to boat handling, those skippers who have organized in their own minds and with their crews exactly what they're going to do, and when they're going to do it. These are the boat operators that are calm, and definite about their intentions. They never yell at their crews, and docking operations tend to be smooth and well-rehearsed --- or they rehearse!
It's no surprise that the airline pilots who charter are among the best boat operators: not only can they navigate, but they're used to making quick, yet cautious decisions, and they're used to manipulating large machines, requiring not only good depth perception but also co-operation on the part of other crew members and folks on the "ground".
With fifteen boats out, for weeks at a time, each week of the summer is equal to at least two years of an average boater's experience, so like all charter operations, we have a share of minor problems, and virtually all of them, at least with our fleet, are "cockpit error". So far this summer, we've had a guy who decided he didn't need to use his charts --- he'd been there once, after all --- and nicked both props on some rocks. (He was very, very lucky! If he'd done that half an hour earlier, the tidal difference would have allowed him to take the boat's bottom out.)
Another guy made it easier to handle a dinghy, towing it with a heavy, non-floating line, and wrapped it around a prop. Hauling a boat in the middle of a Desolation Sound vacation was his punishment.
Another character kept pumping effluent into his chartered boat's holding tank without emptying it, until it simply burst into the bilge; but the resultant olfactory distress was sufficient penalty for his failure to consider why "the pumps were working so hard" before continuing to work the head handle.
It would be really easy to snicker and say "stupid charterers", but face it, we've all done something dumb like this.
Instead of being know-it-alls, let's learn from these boo-boos, and reaffirm our commitment to orderly, disciplined, "boring" boat operation! It really does make the cruise (or race) more fun. It even smells better!
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