Enjoy Boating with Your SpouseYou want your spouse to enjoy boating as much as you do, right? Of course. The reason is simple: if your first mate loves boating as much as you do, you will be able to spend more time on the water. If your life partner does not like boating, or thinks he or she will not like it, boating can become a point of contention. Unfortunately, some people are not enthusiastic about boating. Sometimes it is the intimidation factor, or that they may not be comfortable while on board. Here are a few tips that can help your partner have fun, and can have them asking “When can we go boating again?”

Be Kind

Try not to bark orders at your spouse, or become exasperated when he or she does not immediately understand what you are saying. No one likes to be yelled at, and no one likes to be made to feel stupid. Just because it is a boat and you are the captain does not mean that it is your personal empire. Treat your first mate like you would at home. “Please” and “thank you” can go a long way.

Avoid Boat Terminology at First

Boating has a language all its own. From bow to stern, there are different terms for just about everything on a boat. Try to use landlubber language when helping your first mate learn his or her way around the boat. As they become more comfortable and interested, then you can begin using boating terminology.

Keep it Smooth and Easy

On your first few trips out with your spouse, try to go places where the water is calm, the weather is warm, and trip is relaxing. A big part of the joy of boating is the feeling of escape from every day stress. It is not going to be much fun if your first mate gets queasy or feels unsafe. If your boat does not have a head (bathroom), make sure you stay in waters where facilities will always be nearby.

Make it Fun

If the boat is just another place where your partner is expected to cook, clean, fix, or repair, he or she is not going to want to get involved. Bring refreshments and some snacks, or go to a dockside restaurant with a fun atmosphere. Play some music that your partner likes. Make it clear that the boat belongs to both of you. Later, when your first mate is totally in love with boating, he or she may want to pitch in to feel a greater sense of ownership and contribution.

Teach Your Partner How to Drive and Operate the Boat

There are many benefits to helping your first mate understand how to drive your boat and how the boat works. First of all, for safety, it is important that anyone you frequently boat with knows what to do if something goes wrong. It is important that your partner knows how to get you safely back to port. Also, as you already know, driving a boat is fun! Always let others experience the aspects of boating that are most fun. 

Use Labels on Board

This may sound a little unusual, but using a basic label maker to create stickers that identify various parts of the boat can make communication on the boat much easier. For example, if you mark the throttle, gears (forward, neutral and reverse), you free people from asking: “Which one is the throttle again?” By putting a label above the tachometer that reads, “Cruising speed is 3,000,” your spouse or anyone else operating the boat will know how fast they should go. Labeling storage compartments and what is in them (lines, fenders, tow ropes, life jackets, etc.) can also help a great deal when asking someone to retrieve any of these items.

Many couples enjoy a lifetime of boating together. Some travel for months or even years at a time. For this, both people must enjoy boating and the lifestyle associated with it. While you may not end up crossing oceans together, spending time on the water as a couple can bring some of the most pleasant and rewarding experiences in your relationship. Think about it — if your first mate likes to go boating, you are going to get to spend more time doing what you love. Even better, you are much more likely to have his or her full support when you want to upgrade to a bigger boat!