A buddy boat is when you find a friend or family that lives on a boat to buddy up with. Many boaters make friendships in anchorages and some decided to do passages together. In some cases, a couple or group of boats might even sail the whole season together heading from, say, the Bahamas to Trinidad. In this video and article, we’ll explain 10 benefits to sailing with a buddy boat or boats.
Watch the video and then scroll down to get more details about each benefit. And then read the downside to having a buddy boat in addition to several ways to find buddy boats.
The Top 10 Benefits To Sailing With A Buddy Boat VIDEO
The Top 10 Benefits To Sailing With A Buddy Boat
If you haven’t read my first article detailing the first five reasons to find a buddy boat, read that here: 5 Reasons To Find A Boat Buddy
In that article I highlight that:
- Sharing knowledge – more heads are better than one
- Having a boat buddy under passage in sticky situations can be invaluable
- You can race between destinations making the passage more exciting
- Buddying up with another kid boat can provide sanity for all the parents
- If you catch a tuna (or someone acquires a pig) and can’t eat it all you have friends to share it with
In this article, I’ll outline five more reasons why having a buddy boat or boats increases the overall pleasure of the liveaboard cruising life. So let me jump right back into it…
6. Share the provisioning load
Not only can you share a car to go get provisions but you can share provisions! Car rental is usually affordable but it becomes far less expensive when you split the cost with a couple of other boaters. Or you can also share the cost of a taxi.
We often do one of two things. Sometimes the girls will all head out, fill up their trollies and the car and head back to the boat with provisions. At other times each family will take turns one at a time filling up the car and then pass the car to the next family.
And it’s not just saving on the car rental taxi ride!
It’s often cheaper to buy in bulk. A few boats might just group together and buy 30 pack of paper towels or 20 lbs of ground beef and then split the cost and the goods. I’ve also heard of boat buddies that will each make some batch meals and then swap with another boat so each boat has variety. In other words, I will make three batches of chili, another boat will make three batches of beef stew and one more boat will make chicken fajitas. We all share and have three different meals.
7. Not That Movie Again!
This season we’ve barely had any time to watch movies but while wintering or hunkering down for a hurricane season, life can get a bit slow. Often, cruisers are in bed by 9 am and ready to watch a movie (or if they’re like me they are asleep).
With boat buddies, you can, however, swap movies, DVDs, share books and trade entertainment items. We have a four-terabyte hard drive full of thousands of movies so we often lend that out to those that need something new to watch.
And from time to time we’ll put all the kids on one boat with a movie and the adults will be on another – either playing a game, doing a trivia quiz or just having an enjoyable time kid-free.
On special occasions the adults will all get together to do a wine tasting evening – this is especially helpful on the French islands where good wine is very inexpensive. Instead of buying a few bottles hoping that one might be good, you can try a large variety of bottles with friends knowing what to buy the next time you head to land.
8. Departure And Arrival Assistance
No matter whether you’re new or old at this sailing game, issues can often happen when leaving and/or arriving at an anchorage or marina. By having boat buddies you know that help is either on sight or not far behind.
Let me give you some examples. In the US Virgin Islands, Pura Vida, went to pull up anchor and leave the anchorage. The windlass died and they couldn’t figure out how to get it working again.
Mike, from Rondo, volunteered to help manually pull up the anchor and Simon was in the dinghy helping to push the boat over the anchor chain making the pull-up easier.
While in Francis Bay, again in the US Virgin Islands, our friends on sailing vessel Dauntless came in. Knowing they were new to mooring balls, Simon took the dinghy over to the mooring ball, got the painter and handed it to the crew to make things easier for them.
When heading to the islands of Saba there were seven of us boats near each other.
Only four of us were going to Saba and the others were heading on to St Kitts. Rondo arrived first at dusk and could spot a couple of mooring balls relaying the availability and locations back to us.
Rondo helped Pura Vida in. Then when we came in, Pura Vida lit up the mooring ball with their flashlight helping us to get tied on. A few hours later (2 am in the morning by this time), Simon stayed up and helped make sure that Temerity got onto a ball.
When you’re sailing from one destination to another you might lose sight of your buddy boat but you know they’re not too far away. Having another boat nearby helps to reduce fears and makes the journey calmer. Just knowing that help is at hand provides reassurance.
9. Will This Passage Ever End?
During a passage, life can get a bit boring. For me, I’m happy to read my book and play my iPhone games. For Simon, however, he needs more stimulation. Every half hour or so he’ll call one of our boat buddies just to make sure they’re okay, ask for any updates and so forth. And if Simon isn’t calling them, they’ll be sure to call us.
Whenever someone catches a fish we all share the excitement. Someone will get on and yell out ‘FISH ON!’ We’ll all wait around to find out if dinner was caught for one boat or all boats.
If an idea pops into our head, we make a VHF call. It cuts up the monotony of the trip and makes the passage more social.
10. I’ll never forget the day when….
I’ve saved the best for last. Sure, it’s great to have someone around when you need advice, information or to bounce things off of. And gosh…it’s invaluable to know that there’s help nearby if something major happens.
But what’s truly incredible are the memories that you make by spending so much quality time with like-minded friends. Looking back over all our years of sailing I mostly remember the people that we spent time with rather than the things we looked at.
Sure – seeing an ancient monastery in Greece was great but it’s the people that were with me that truly made my heart sing. This past sailing season has allowed us to get to know several amazing cruisers. We’ve gone to Full Moon Parties, climbed into the clouds, shared meals, laughed hard and shared time with each other’s families.
I’m often looking for magical moments. Those times when everything is so amazing – when your heart melts, your eyes smile and you think, ‘gosh, this is what life is about…’
This year it hasn’t been a series of magical moments. It’s actually been one massive magical season. Sure, we had some hard times and issues but overall, I couldn’t have asked to meet better people. Amen.
IS There A Downside To Boat Buddying?
Yes, but it’s insignificant. Not every boat is happy to be a buddy boat. Some boaters have different priorities and expectations about where they want to be and what the want to see.
When looking for the right boat buddy for your family you may have to meet a few boats to find the right fit. Things have to be done as a consensus and when you wanted to leave earlier, you might have to wait. Another boat might want to head east but you convince them to go west. Concessions have to be made but that’s what a community is all about – eh?
Other things that foul a boat buddy relationship is when one of the boats breaks. Sometimes boats get held up and you have to get on your way. The hope is, however, that the boater left behind will eventually catch back up.
How Do You Find A Boat Buddy
We’ve always found our boat buddies on the go. We’ll enter an anchorage, share a beverage with the adults, kids go off to play and the rest is history. It doesn’t take long to become a part of the boating community or find a buddy or buddies.
Failing that, there are so many online resources nowadays. My friends Ansley and Sarah that we’ve buddy boated with actually met online before they met in person. They discussed buddy boating over a Facebook chat. I think the might have met in the Kids4Sail Facebook Group. When you have children you look for boats with similar aged kids and then find out where they are, where they’re going and how you can get the kids together!
The other way to find buddy boats is to go to particularly busy cruiser communities.
For example, Georgetown in the Bahamas has a huge amount of cruisers passing through. If you just hang out there for a week you’ll surely find other boats to buddy-up with.
And an excellent resource is the website NoForeignLand. We recently met Steve and Helena, the owners of NoForeignLand, at a cruiser sundowners on the lovely island of Bequia. The beautiful couple created a boating social media platform that is brilliant. Get registered on this website even if you don’t have your boat yet. You’ll be able to make new boat buddies within seconds.
Steve wrote a wonderful guest post for me to share his story, read it here: How To Find A Boat Buddy
Other Articles/Videos About Buddy Boating
- 5 Reasons To Find A Buddy Boat
- Boat Life With Boat Buddies (Video)
- How To Find A Boat Buddy
- Also…make sure to find us on: NoForeignLand.com/Britican