• Team Coboaters

Is it safe to sail with new people? Tips for all sailors, men and women.

Updated: Sep 3

We all agree that the excitement of sharing time on a boat is the encounter between sailors who want to sail together. However, if the first encounters on a boat between "good guys" are easily done, we regularly respond to crew and skippers who wonder about their personal safety when embarking with a stranger. This is a legit concern and this article is here to help you avoid bad experiences.



Sharing time on the water with fellow sailors is a good, affordable, and pleasant way to meet people who are passionate about boating, but above all, you have to be aware of accepting certain risks! If you have never sailed before and are afraid of seasickness or other issues, we advise you to enroll in a local sailing school or contact US Sailing Association to find the right place for you. Crewseekers and crew finder networks like coboaters.com are not good for you.

But if you are not afraid of meeting human beings, and you really want to sail, sharing time and adventures with others may be very good for you. You must choose your future boat and crew carefully and use a website or a service that you can trust.


Here is the best process (careful process) to secure a sailing adventure with another Coboaters member:


1. ANSWER THE NOTICES THAT ARE OF YOUR INTEREST


As a woman, you may receive unsolicited offers to sail. If you feel that you have received an inappropriate proposal, please let the website administrator know and most of the time will exclude any user who has sent you a message that makes you feel uncomfortable. Coboaters.com provide excellent customer supports for everyone. Easy to reach and communicate with. You can trust they will promptly act.

The best way to find the right captain who is looking for the crew is to be proactive: don’t be shy, make the first move! Contact the members whose notices interest you and whose profile reassures you.


2. CAREFULLY STUDY THE PROFILE OF THE MEMBERS YOU WISH TO CONTACT.


Each Coboaters user has a profile with a description of his maritime qualifications and skills. Each member is strongly encouraged to tell more about himself or herself in a section called "A few words about me". He must explain his goals and why he wants to increase his sailing network.

3 young sailors on a sailboat desck with a nice blue sky and blue water
Example of a woman sailor who want to find a boat.

The purpose of this very detailed profile questionnaire is to give a good description of who the person is in real life but most importantly how the person is on a boat. When you read a profile, you should feel that you want to embark with this person. If not, move on to the next one. If a user has not filled out their profile, either follow through or tell them that you are interested in their notice but would like them to fill out their profile with more accuracy so all members can also see it. Profiles can be completed and/or edited at any time. It is easy.






3. SELECT "REASSURING" PROFILES


  • Prefer ID- Certified profiles

On the internet, you can meet anyone. On Coboaters.com, we only display your first name and the initial letter of your last name, as a way of keeping your privacy. Members can have their ID checked, you will see a label next to the name to indicate that the ID was checked. Members who have their ID checked have sent us a copy of an official identity document (driver's license or passport) as well as a picture (without sunglasses or hat) in order for us to verify the information published on the site. Please see our article: ‘how to get your ID checked on Coboaters”


  • Prefer profiles with positive reviews

Coboaters encourages members to post reviews. Most of the time crew and captains publish a review after a boating event. Your best bet is to select profiles with positive reviews. You should nicely ask people to post good reviews on your profile so it will help you find more opportunities!


4. PREFER THE WEBSITE MESSAGING SYSTEM FOR THE FIRST CONTACT.


Some users will ask to exchange phone numbers right away. It is safe to use the Coboaters messaging system because your personal information will remain confidential. If a member needs more information, tell him or her to check your Coboaters profile.




5. Call the other member prior to jumping on board.


Do not skip this step for any reason. After a first positive exchange via the site's messaging system, confirm your first good impression with a telephone conversation. It is even better if you can use Whatsapp, Facetime, Skype, or any other apps because you will be able to see the other person,

The first telephone conversation between the crew and the captain is very important because it allows you to test your future compatibility on board. You should feel comfortable right away. If you have nothing to say to each other over the phone, what will happen after two days on a boat? The Coboaters profile of this person will allow you to find the first topics of discussion: the sailing experience of each one, why you bought the boat, why you joined Coboaters, will you be alone on the boat or with other crew members..., what are the expenses to share on board, etc.


If the conversation goes well, and all the information received by phone is in line with the information given in the sailor profile, the notice, and the boat profile, then you can go to the next step!



6. THE PRELIMINARY MEETING


Give preference to users who ask for a preliminary meeting, especially if you plan to spend a night on board, as your first navigation. For example, you can meet for a coffee or a beer with your future co-skipper in a public place. If the first meeting takes place on the boat, bring a friend along.


7. KEEP THE FIRST TRIP SHORT


Many boat owners offer day trips to better know each other, this is the right approach. Getting to know each other before embarking on a weekend or a cruise is highly recommended.

This meeting is the prerequisite for a longer sailing trip (cruise, voyage, transatlantic crossing...), it will be the opportunity to check some simple things, such as:

- Is the boat clean? (a clean boat is often well maintained)?

- Is your future cabin suitable in terms of comfort and privacy?

- Is the bathroom up to your expectations?

- Does the captain seem comfortable or does he seem worried? If you are a beginner, and he/she agrees to take you on board, he/she should only give simple orders in a pleasant tone. Otherwise, run away!


8. EMBARK WITH OTHER CREW


To avoid taking any risks, you can only look for boat owners who will allow you to board with your spouse or a friend.

You may also prefer to embark with boat owners that are a couple or have already an existing crew or team. If this is the case, do not hesitate to contact the other members of the group beforehand or to ask for the first meeting with all the participants.


Men sailors on a boat with large smiles!
Meeting on board prior to sail can be very fun!


9. INFORM PEOPLE CLOSE TO YOU OF THE DATES AND PLACE OF DEPARTURE, THE NAME OF THE BOAT OWNER AND THE NAME OF THE BOAT.


This is an instruction to be applied systematically for your personal safety as well as for safety at sea. Inform your friends with details and keep their phone numbers with you. Tell them when and how can be reached while on board.


10. DISEMBARK IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE.


You must feel comfortable on board right away. If the chemistry doesn't work, if you don't feel comfortable on the boat, get off. To avoid being caught off guard, always have a plan B: Am I sailing somewhere where it will be easy to disembark? How much will a hotel cost if I have to disembark? Do I have the financial means to pay for a plane ticket back home if the cruise has to be interrupted?


11. LEAVE POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE FEEDBACK AT THE END OF YOUR CRUISE.


Co-boating is not for everyone. You must be sociable, available, able to listen to others, be able to make concessions, have a sense of hospitality, and respect the basic principles of politeness and courtesy.

If you had a good time on board, say so by posting a positive review about your fellow boaters. If not, do the same with a negative review. Coboaters.com team will check the bad review and will contact the person. Members will be excluded for wrong behavior. We want to keep the Club as safe as possible.



12. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE MISSED ONE OF THE ABOVE STEPS?


The above steps are ideal but sometimes you cannot do them all. You then ask yourself the right question: Do I have to give up my dream of bringing this boat from The Bahamas to the Northeast because I could not meet with the captain before flying to the Bahamas?

Only YOU have the answer. The ability to accept risk is different for each individual. What is certain is that by skipping a step, you increase the risk. You will then have to accept the hazard and find solutions if needed.


To conclude, keep in mind that "When in doubt, there is no doubt, I do not embark".

The vast majority of captains are man boat owners. It is the case all over the world. Is the risk of a bad encounter higher? No, if the above tips are followed. You should know that a dishonest person would be easily found if he/she used Coboaters for criminal purposes (It is easy to track the Internet. Police know how to investigate and find people: IP address, messages exchanged via the site, payment of the membership fee, telephone calls...).

We try our best to make coboaters safe and will be aware of any bad or inappropriate behavior. And as usual, contact us as soon as you see or feel something wrong.




Reminder: Coboaters is not responsible for the physical or mental health of its members, nor for the good state of equipment or maintenance of the vessels listed on the site, nor for the navigation skills of its members. Please see our Terms of Use and Warnings.







122 views