The circle of potential friends on land is much larger than the circle of your potential friends afloat. Land friends go home after the party. Boat friends don’t. Chartering means you will be in a very small, confined space for a week or longer, sharing the responsibilities of sailing, cooking, and cleaning. The only way to shore and back is with a small shared dinghy, so even recreation decisions will need to be coordinated.

So choose your fellow crew mates carefully. It will help to clarify everyone’s expectations prior to the trip, and the following section in this book will help with the discussions and expectation-setting for Captain and would-be Crew.

A few questions to consider in choosing crew:

Will the potential crew members get along? A boat gets a lot smaller when there are rifts among the crew, and current maritime law frowns on the time-honored solution of setting objectionable crew mates adrift lifeboats.

How will the physical condition of crew members affect the group’s recreation preferences? If sailing with a fairly adventurous crew, the group will want to spend more time in remote anchorages exploring islands, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and wind surfing. This will mean landing the dinghy on a beach or occasionally swimming to shore. A less physically adventurous crew will prefer anchorages with dinghy docks, nicer onshore amenities, and less physically demanding activities.

What are crew member’s spending budgets for the trip?. Discuss personal trip budgets ahead of time. Eating out is more expensive than eating on the boat. Crew members should come to a general consensus of how often they want to eat out versus cooking meals on board.

Are there any special dietary needs or preferences?. Food flexibility is important when living on a sailboat. Limits in the food selection at island grocers, combined with the challenge of keeping food fresh in a boat’s small icebox in the humidity for a week, limit selection further. Any crew with overly particular dietary preferences should be prepared to occasionally eat foods that may not be their first preferences back home.

Where does the crew stand on alcohol or tobacco usage? Remember you will be on the same boat for a week or more, so consider compatibility and preferences regarding individual crew member’s alcohol and tobacco habits.