Feeling Welcome

Hi! I’m glad to have you here at The Boat Galley! I hope you find it interesting and helpful — and please, pass on your wisdom (and tales of what not to do) through the comments at the end of every post and on TBG’s Facebook page.

I’m serious about that, but actually this post is about making others feel welcome — whether at a marina, an anchorage, a yacht club or wherever. In general, boaters are pretty friendly people and will respond with a “hi” or information even if they don’t know you.

But when you’re the new kid, it can be hard to break the ice. Remember that feeling when you moved and went to a new school, new scout troop or started a new job? All it takes is one person to greet you and suddenly you feel welcome.

Dave and I recently had an experience where we went to a small weekend regatta. Now, we’d been to that sailing club before, and I’d even been a member of it about 25 years ago. It was a very weird feeling, though, as none of the club members were at the club on Friday to greet people as they arrived. We were okay on our own, but the experience didn’t give us the feeling that the local fleet particularly cared about their guests. And yet the next day they seemed surprised that there were only a few out of town boats.

As Dave and I sat out on Friday evening, we talked a bit about so many times we’d felt welcomed to a marina or anchorage. I can’t begin to recall the number of times that shortly after we’d anchored or docked, someone had called on the radio or stopped by to just say hi and welcome. Sometimes they’d pass on some local knowledge, sometimes they’d only arrived an hour before themselves.

Hence the topic of this post (even a less-than-perfect experience has value: you can turn it into a blog post!): encouraging friendliness and also saying thanks to those who have made us feel welcome.

I’m not suggesting you have to go over to the “new boat” with a plate of still-warm-from-the-oven cookies or immediately invite the newcomers to happy hour on your boat — but why not? — but just do something to say hi and making people feel welcome.

Everybody likes to feel welcome, and not like an outsider. So let the newcomer know about the potluck, dock party, shuttle to the supermarket, great snorkeling spot or best hike. Or if you just got there an hour ago, you can band together as you discover what’s what.

And who knows? Maybe your new friends will have just the part (or knowledge!) you need for your current project.

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  • Sue
    Posted at 12 September 2014 Reply

    This is so true Carolyn! We arrived in Sydney Australia, anchored with 5 other boats. We are now all very close friends…still close after 8 years. We were made to feel so welcome. We were the smallest yacht club in the world the BYO, for obvious reasons.
    When we were on the Gold Coast, Queensland we had a cruisers drinks on a Sunday afternoon on the beach after all the locals had gone home. I hope this tradition is still continuing. Great people good times. So important..in business it is called networking

  • Suzanne Nikolaus
    Posted at 12 September 2014 Reply

    As an about to be new cruiser, I appreciated this post. I’m having flashbacks of the first day at a new school-ha. I wonder of you or your readers have any advice for us as the new boat when we come into an anchorage or marina? It’s hard to be new as you said so can we new boats do anything to help ourselves settle in? Offer a newbie happy hour or something?

  • Betsy Merritt
    Posted at 12 September 2014 Reply

    I can speak personally to that. I have already met a few awesome ladies and looking forward to sailing with them soon. This is a great site and great place to share boat ideas and travel by sail.

  • Ted Broom
    Posted at 12 September 2014 Reply

    Hi Carolyn, your post is pretty spot on. Even in our own “one particular harbor” we see this. Our spot is close to a couple “yachty clubs” They have their outings and don’t bother with anyone else. Many times we sit in our cockpit and wave at them going by in their dingys and have them turn the other way when they approach to pass. As we head to shore or go out past them and wave we are ignored. Because we don’t display a burgy from an isles club we get ignored. No problem. We have been coming to this little bay for 20 some years and three different vessels. We know the lay of the bottom and where to find the neat stuff. We have learned to enjoy our life minus the upturned noses. Those cruisers that do bother to say hi are welcomed with open arms and invited aboard for conversation or just sit in dingies and talk. We spent one of the best Thanksgivings with a group of 8 strangers having the best pot luck ever..none were from our area and all had stories to tell.
    S\V Ten-Ten

  • Linda Miller
    Posted at 12 September 2014 Reply

    Well written and agree. Thanks!

  • The Sea and Sailors
    Posted at 13 September 2014 Reply

    Thanx! 🙂

  • Skylar Walker
    Posted at 14 September 2014 Reply

    You guys do a fabulous service! We live aboard and have spread the word about The Boat Galley – everyone here subscribes for sure and even some land lubbers as well. Thanks so much!

  • Kathryn Weber
    Posted at 16 September 2014 Reply

    Hi Carolyn, thanks for all your great articles! Last season was our first in Mexico so everyone was a potential new friend. When we arrived in a new anchorage, we would get in our dinghy with our boat cards & go visiting the other boats in the anchorage. We made many new friends, learned local knowledge, & felt part of these little communities. Waiting for others to come to us wasn’t as effective.

  • Melissa Herr
    Posted at 18 September 2014 Reply

    Hi Carolyn,
    We are new as boat owners, but not boating. Your blog has helped in so many ways! We decided on a marina and launched Summer Fun last weekend. Settled her into her slip and enjoyed our new scenery. Our pier fingers off of a main pier so not a lot of foot traffic. It was the weekend of the Star Spangle 200th Anniversary and that night there were to be fireworks. Our slip mate came to ready his boat to take the family out to watch the festivities. It felt so good when he gave us a very welcoming hello! We exchanged numbers and he said he would keep an eye on our girl because they only live up the road. He made good on that offer, we forgot to close a window. He did it for us!

  • New Girl on the Dock sv Firefly
    Posted at 08 March 2016 Reply

    Sure does! HI!!

  • The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick
    Posted at 09 March 2016 Reply

    great advice!

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