The Skipper’s Best Friend: A Good First Mate


Could you imagine Batman without Robin? The Lone Ranger without Tonto? Peanut butter sandwich without the jelly? The Skipper without Gilligan?

OK, forget that last one. It didn’t turn out well for the Minnow, which is the main point of this blog.I wish that all boaters knew the importance of having an engaged, conscientious first mate.

For starters, a good first mate always anticipates for the captain. When the captain is getting ready to pull into a dock, the first mate will ask, “Captain, is it a port or starboard side tie?”

A good first mate will get the lines ready for the captain on the proper side. A good first mate will get the fenders out and ready to go, with a line coiled and ready to toss to someone on the dock.

A good first mate will be in proper position and ask the captain, “Do you want me to tie the bow or the stern first?” and then get off on that side, tie off, and quickly and get a secondary line. The first mate getting the line on the quickly can make or break a successful docking.

As a lookout, a good first mate should be precise in his communication. Instead of saying, “What is that boat doing over there?” a good first mate would say, “Do you see that boat approaching fast on your portside?”

Or…a good first mate might ask, “Do you see that tugboat pushing a big barge behind us? I think it’s gaining on us.”

Instead of saying, “Do you have any idea where we are?” or “Do you know where we’re going?” A good first mate will ask, “What marker number should we be looking for? Is it red or green?”

Instead of saying,” I smell something funny coming from the motor,” a good first mate will be more specific, “I smell something that smells like gas.”

A good first mate always has his eye on what’s going on around them is always prepared and ready for docking and leaving and is a good communicator.

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This post was written by boat-admin

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