The San Juan Islands archipelago is located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and belongs to the state of Washington. It is comprised of 172 amazing islands with wonderful wildlife to watch and a whole lot of nature to explore. And what better way to do that than by taking a San Juan Islands cruise?
A cruise is an excellent alternative for enjoying the majestic beauty and natural landscape surrounding the area. Once on the main Island, you can take a sailboat to sightsee and spend time exploring the area. But, before you get on board, heed these few tips on sailing etiquette so that you can feel like a welcome guest on board.
Getting on the Boat
Regardless of the type of vessel–be it a sailboat, a yacht or a catamaran–it is customary to request permission to come aboard. It is a tradition that, albeit not mandatory, is customary. It is a respectful tradition that will instantly win favor with the crew and will surely get everyone in the sailing mood.
Dress code highly depends on the weather forecast and conditions. Ideally, you should wear waterproof clothes that feel comfortable on you. At sea, winds do come up quickly so a windbreaker will serve you well. And without one, it can turn pretty cold once the sun starts setting.
Remember your indoor voice
Even though you will be outdoors, you should avoid being too loud. In other words, be considerate of the other people on board.
Let the crew do their job
You need to mind what the crew and the skipper are doing. Be aware when they are attending to specific duties and stay out of their way. This guarantees that the work needing to be done on board is done safely and in an efficient manner.
Your assistance is always welcomed
The “all hands on deck” saying exists for a reason. You can always volunteer your help by asking the skipper or 1st mate if there is anything that you can do. Let them know if you are familiar with certain boating tasks, while remembering that doing a task the wrong way can be more trouble than help. Even if you don’t know anything about sailing, there may be time to show you a useful task.
Do not touch or move anything out of sheer curiosity
If you do not know anything about sailing, and are on board as a guest, do not push any buttons or pull any ropes unless the skipper specifically asks you to. Keep in mind that everything on a boat serves a function.
Ask before using the “head”
The head is the boat’s toilet. This toilet may look just like the one you have at home but operates on a slightly different system. You need to know the rules of using it to avoid a clog or overflow. Never dispose of diapers, baby wipes or feminine products in the toilet.
Almost any boat is equipped with one toilet, so, you should be sensible and avoid taking too long in the head. It should also be kept in the best conditions possible, so, make sure it flushes properly after you have finished using it.
Keep it tidy onboard
Don’t leave food leftovers on the deck, for they can attract unwanted pests. Avoid leaving personal gear on the deck that people may trip over, or even accidentally fall into the sea. Considering you are sailing on some of the coldest protected waters in the U.S., this is an accident you definitely don’t want to be responsible for causing.
If you find these quick tips interesting and you are ready to enjoy the beautiful scenery that the San Juan Islands offer, contact a charter to schedule your trip. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse or two of the resident orcas in the area.
Sailing Tradition, neusesailingassociation.org