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But We’re in Love – How to tell the captain you’re dating

Feb 16th 11
By Louisa Cowan

You’ve met the person of your dreams. The spark of attraction is instantaneous, you share the same interests…s/he might even be “The One.” But there is a problem: s/he works on the same yacht as you. You both want to make a go of it, see if the relationship is heading somewhere, but there is a hurdle that needs to be tackled first: telling the captain and crew.


“I was so nervous,” says Bosun James. “We had been seeing each other on the quiet for a couple of months, but we decided that although the secrecy was quite exciting, we were serious about each other and we wanted to go public [with the relationship]. I was really worried about telling the captain and crew.”


When you live in close quarters with your co-workers, you have to be sensitive to those around you, especially when some captains and crew have strong opinions about onboard relationships.


“There wasn’t a ‘no dating’ policy on the boat, but I suppose we were worried that people might think we had upset the crew dynamics,” James maintains. “In the end, I decided that being the more senior crewmember, I would take the captain for coffee and come clean.”


Reactions to relationships aren’t always what you would expect. James went on to say, “Our captain was great [about the relationship], but we did get some mixed reactions from the other crew. You just have to accept that you’ll be the subject of crew gossip for a while, but it doesn’t last for long and pretty soon our being together was just normal.”


So what’s the problem? People meet, they fall in love, it’s what makes the world go around, doesn’t it? But what if there is a no-dating policy in place aboard your boat? Even your contract may state that entering a relationship with another crewmember is strictly forbidden. However, despite the fact that you may be jeopardizing your position aboard, this someone special may be worth the risk. That’s when you have some decisions to make.


There are several options: you conduct the relationship in secret. This is a high-risk strategy and could mean that everything comes to a nasty end at some point. Alternatively, you come clean with your captain and hope that some agreement can be reached. Or, finally, one or both of you leave the boat so that you are free to continue your relationship without breaking any rules.


“I make it very clear that I am not keen on crewmembers hooking up and hopefully this discourages mere flings,” says Capt. Mick. “If I had crew who got together and were serious about each other, then I would hope they could tell me about it and not keep it a secret. We could then talk about a code of conduct that would make the situation as workable as possible.”


It is all very well trying to figure out how to tell the captain that you have fallen head-over-heels in love, but it isn’t any easier for the captain to fess up to his or her crew.


“When we got together, I had no idea the animosity I would face from most of the other crew,” remembers Chief Stewardess Ailsa, who is now married to her captain beau. “Although we had been completely upfront about our relationship, the backbiting was horrendous. Eventually we left, found a new boat and worked as a couple from the very beginning.”


It isn’t always easy to meet that special person, so when you do, who can blame you for wanting to go for it? On boats, although it isn’t always easy, honesty appears to be the best policy. Don’t hide and keep secrets, be open and frank, but also be prepared to deal with the consequences because, at the end of the day, if this really is “The One” then it will be worth it.


Rating  Average 4 out of 5

  • problem is that when they break up, you lose at least one crew if not two, and depending on their positions it can create a lot of drama in the crew, most of the time this is a negative.
    Posted by CaptErik 03/10/2017 21:31:52

  • A year or so ago there was an article about a boat with an all couples crew. Don't remember if it was on Dockwalk or 1 of the other e-mags, but does anyone know how that crew or boat are doing these days?
    Posted by Kevin 18/02/2011 05:13:15

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