Life — July 2003
|Part 2: Be generous with your cellphone, too.|
Older folks may also have dietary needs that conflict with your standard boating fare. Learn their requirements, and buy the necessary provisions. Check the menus at dockside restaurants before venturing out as well. Seniors may also have trouble sleeping aboard, so consider giving them the master cabin, where the accommodations are often most comfortable and more spacious.
Any passenger can get bored on a voyage, so keep a collection of magazines, board games, and puzzles onboard. Our boat has a satellite TV system that allowed Nancy’s father to watch sports while underway and her mother to avoid missing her soaps.
Some older guests may enjoy participating in the operation or navigation of the boat. In open waterways and calm seas, they might like to take the wheel under your supervision. Radioing bridges and locks can be fun, as can navigation. Most everyone likes to know where they are and where they’re going. While golden-agers may not be interested in plotting waypoints, they might enjoy following the route on charts. And someone needs to keep the ship’s log.
Be generous with your cellphone, too. Everyone enjoys giving up-to-the-minute cruising reports to their cronies. Nancy’s parents live in a small town, and contacting the local newspaper resulted in a picture of them with a front-page article describing their boating adventure. They enjoyed their brief moment of celebrity almost as much as the trip itself.
Remember that older passengers generally need more time. Unlike your kids, they don’t hop out of bed, throw on some shorts and a T-shirt, and say “Ready to go.” If a six- or eight-hour cruising day is your norm, you might plan on something shorter if your guests are older—maybe even eliminate a leg, especially if the weather turns bad. While you might find it exhilarating to cruise in turbulent seas, your elders probably won’t.
Boating hospitality and safety concerns demand adequate planning and attention to the needs of all passengers. When those ingredients are tailored to meet the needs of elders, cruising with golden-aged friends or relatives can be a fulfilling experience, strengthening existing bonds and creating new ones. It’s also good practice for those boating years when we ourselves are “less agile and more fragile.”
Rick Curd is a 63-year-old retiree with 20-plus years’ of cruising experience. Since retiring in 2000, he has made three round-trip voyages between Michigan and Tampa and has cruised extensively on the Gulf Coast of Florida. In 2001 he earned a “six-pack” captain’s license.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.