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

16 February 2011 By Louisa Cowan

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

“I was so nervous,” says Bosun James. “We had been seeing each other onthe quiet for a couple of months, but we decided that although the secrecy wasquite 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 besensitive to those around you, especially when some captains and crew havestrong opinions about onboard relationships.

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

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

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

There are several options: you conduct the relationship in secret. Thisis a high-risk strategy and could mean that everything comes to a nasty end atsome point. Alternatively, you come clean with your captain and hope that someagreement can be reached. Or, finally, one or both of you leave the boat sothat 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 andhopefully this discourages mere flings,” says Capt. Mick. “If I had crew whogot together and were serious about each other, then I would hope they couldtell me about it and not keep it a secret. We could then talk about a code ofconduct that would make the situation as workable as possible.”

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

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

It isn’t always easy to meet that special person, so when you do, whocan blame you for wanting to go for it? On boats, although it isn’t alwayseasy, 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.