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.