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Old 09 January 2014, 07:38   #1
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Communication on board

We're always told how important good communication is from the helmsman. We read about it in books, in the press, on websites, and we're told about the importance on our RYA courses (at least, on the GOOD courses...!) but one thing I've NEVER heard, is exactly WHAT we should be saying. I'm sure that any communication is better than none, but is a "hold tight" good enough for everything, or are there more accepted standard phrases that most people here use?

-John.
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Old 09 January 2014, 08:02   #2
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The wife likes the bow seat on my rib.(apparently best place for a sun tan)

She watches my facial expressions(apparently I have few, usually reserved for the bedroom department)

One of these days I will take my 'poker face' with me and she how she gets on..!


On a serious note, I will 'try' and be the best helmsman, but occasionally things look like they are gong to get a bit 'slappy' and I usually shout 'WAVE'..

I find it best to do all the communication at the start, when everyone is getting on board.
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Old 09 January 2014, 08:06   #3
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Wib,

I was taught to communicate as I accelerate and as I drop off the plane, too - but not taught any specifics. "Accelerating" seems like a good fit maybe, but the more obvious "braking" feels all wrong when talking about a boat!

I love the idea of the facial expressions, but not sure that will help me with my RYA certifications...!

God bless,
-John.
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Old 09 January 2014, 08:21   #4
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I usually ask if every one is ready before the initial move off. Before pushing up to the plane 'everyone got hold'.

'Wave or hold on' if it's bouncy. Hand signals are also used. The wife will point and I'll nod at in water instructions, finger stays out until nod is acknowledged.

Fist in the air - stop

They key thing is all on board know what is expected and what to do.
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Old 09 January 2014, 08:56   #5
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I usually say "powering up" and "powering down" just before going up onto the plane or dropping off the plane.

For turns I find raising one arm and waving your hand in a circling motion (either clockwise or anticlockwise) lets everyone know you are turning and which way.

Also important to keep glancing back at the "crew" regularly to make sure you still have the same number you started with, and also to check they are all still happy and smiling. It's easy to spot if someone is cold or scared by their facial expressions.

Chris
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Old 09 January 2014, 08:59   #6
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We just shout BRACE ! That way wether its a bigger wave than normal /wash from a ship or making a quick turn or throttle change to avoid something in the water we know to expect something.
Normally though as Chris says Powering up or Down !
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Old 09 January 2014, 09:14   #7
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Chris - I like your suggestions - nice and clear, and easily understood. Also, the additional points are useful (especially the one about counting passengers!)

I did learn one key word from my instructor during a recent course, but it would probably trigger some filters in the forum. He used it to communicate that an excessively large bow wave from a tug in the Tamar was about to meet us broadside if I didn't take some swift action...!
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Old 09 January 2014, 09:22   #8
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I sometimes use a Ceasar Thunderbolt where I have someone steering in front of me, then me on the throttle, and two further passengers behind. The engine is so noisy it is impossible to speak and be heard so I tell the two behind me "if you want to stop for any reason tap me firmly on the shoulder". I tell the person steering "If I tap you on the shoulder turn sharply in that direction. If you want to stop raise either hand".

The actual gestures don't matter as long as everyone is clear at the start what they mean.

Chris
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Old 09 January 2014, 10:20   #9
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I was told.

1. Power on
2. Power off
3. Turning to port
4. Turning to Starboard
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Old 09 January 2014, 11:10   #10
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Originally Posted by steco1958 View Post
I was told.

1. Power on
2. Power off
3. Turning to port
4. Turning to Starboard
While manuovering especially when crew may be standing to attend fenders ropes etc
Going Ahead
Going Astern
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Old 09 January 2014, 11:33   #11
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Good post

My 'feeling' is a huge amount comes down to the experiance of those on the boat .

With the ribnobbers we all know what to look for so know what to expect - so comms become more of a catching the eye type to confirm whats going on.

With fmaily the 'WAVE' shout is also used to mean something is going on thats not expected / could be interested.

'HOLD ON' is what I shout if I have to stop or go quickly for any reason - but generally if its going to be in any way 'exciting' on the water everyone gets a brief before departure to always be ready for anything .....

'ALL OK' gets used to seek a posative response if 'cruising' - much like a sailing 'ready about' shout ...
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Old 09 January 2014, 11:38   #12
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Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on!
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Old 09 January 2014, 11:44   #13
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Originally Posted by A1an View Post
Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on!
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Old 09 January 2014, 11:48   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A1an View Post
Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on!
A phrase that TonyT is very familiar with I hear
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Old 09 January 2014, 11:53   #15
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For any new people coming on my boat I do a good safety brieifing before we set off and describe some issues we might face beforehand and what im likely to tell them what to do at times. For others who have come on my boat I cut the speech down somewhat cos they will know what to expect and how I will tell them in advance of stuff hapening.

Then its generally just a matter of being aware of where any of my friends are sitting and what they are doing at the time and then I let them know of any alterations to course or bumps or speeding up slowing down or any waves that might throw of their balance etc. I kind of instill in them that I wont do anything quickly unless its an emergency and will give them notice and if they intend to stand up, move about the boat etc to tell me before they do such.

Haven't had any issues so far with that safety attitude in mind. But if I do have people onboard I do tend to go much much slower and make any changes by communicating in advance etc. Which leads to an easier and predictable expereince.

Probably a bit like if youve ever attended an advanced drivering course in your car, you spend time on the road describing to the instructor dangers you see in advance and what your doing at each step.

So as long as you as a helmsman are aware of your surroundings including what your passengers/friends are up to and as long as they have had a safety briefing and understand what you might say to them and how to act and what to expect then it should be pretty plain sailing.

Only time it can be a problem is if youve got a mate or two who have had a few beers and are pratting about and not paying attention or a bunch of people chatting and not paying attention to what youre saying or worse scenario someone who doesnt listen at all and stands up at the wrong time. I personally would not allow anyone in my boat who has had a few beers, a couple of mates once tried bringing 24 cans onboard, I stated I would carry them from the car to the boat and specifically left the cans in the car and substituted with bottles of water. LOL.
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Old 09 January 2014, 12:00   #16
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