No Dating!

4 September 2009 By Alex Scott

Once the initial rush of infatuation wears off, romantic relationship are, for the most part, work. For some, if it’s “true love” it can be easy work. But unfortunately, a lot of romantic relationships are just not meant to last and trying to salvage a fading relationship is hard work.

The only thing more difficult than trying to save a bad relationship is trying to end one when you have to live and work side by side with your ex and pretend like nothing ever happened. It's a maneuver not well executed by many crew, which is perhaps why there are boats out there with “No Dating” policies.

It's human nature to seek compassion and affection from those closest to you as a means to dissipate the monotonous stress of non-stop work and when crew are cooped up and working side by side, relationships happen.

“Young love is so fickle and sometimes too close is too close,” Marcy with Northrop and Johnson’s crew placement says. “You get two crewmates who get caught up in the moment – knowing that the odds are long, and if there are domestic issues between them, there’s no hiding that and eventually everyone gets involved.”

“There are a number of crew who have met their true love in yachting,” says Terry with Crew Unlimited, who counts herself as one. But when relationships do not work out and crewmembers break up, it's tough on everyone.

She notes that life aboard ship can be very lonely and she says that for this reason, “The young crew seem to fall in love so easily.” When one suddenly decides that they want out of the relationship, it can be devastating for the other and can affect the entire dynamic of the boat. For this reason, even crew in long-term stable working relationships with years of experience together on boats are met with apprehension from captains and owners alike.

It's hard to put together a crew that works well as a team. Once crew start dating and breaking up with one another, the cohesion starts to evaporate. Whether it’s other crewmembers choosing sides in a breakup, the dreaded onboard love triangle or a really good crewmember suddenly slacking off or deciding to leave because of a broken romance, it’s an unwelcome distraction and extra burden for the romantically stable members of the crew.

Though it’s said that love is a matter of geography, Marcy says, “You don’t 'sleep' where you eat…or however that saying goes.”

If you find the love of your life, that’s a different story, but it’s just not a good idea to go looking for that person on the boat. Before you throw caution to the wind, consider how prepared you are to manage your workload and an unwanted or unreciprocated romance.

You may realize that the boat’s “No Dating” policy is actually going to protect you. Though “No Dating” policies are often discreetly placed under the guise of sexual harassment safeguards, truth be told, there is a timeless truism in the history of men and women heading off to sea together that young love and yachting – more often than not – just don’t mix.