The Most Important Job On The Boat

Can you guess who has the most important job on the boat?

Nope, it’s not me. And it’s not my husband. And no, it isn’t even Honey.

Who has the most important job on the boat?

When you live on a boat, everyone has a job to do. Can you guess what job is most important?

Lots Of Jobs On A Sailboat

As my sister says, sailing is lots of work.

It can take us an hour to leave the dock.

We have to disconnect shore power. Shut off access to various drains and openings that bring water into the boat and drain it away. Listen to the weather report. Set the batteries so the engine can recharge them.

We have to take Honey off the boat for a fun game of fetch before dressing her in her life jacket.

Honey the golden retriever plays fetch.

Throw it. C’mon, I’m waiting. THROW IT!

Finally, we start the engine, toss off the dock lines, and motor out to open water.

Once we are far enough out and clear of traffic, one of us goes forward to lift the main sail while the other person steers the boat into the wind to make it easier to raise the sail.

When the largest sail is up, we can unfurl a second sail from the cockpit. And we have a third sail to raise for more power (and work) along the way.

Once we’re under sail, we turn off the engine and there’s nothing more to do except steer. And adjusting the sails for the wind. Over and over again.

Honey the golden retriever at Cambridge Lighthouse.

Whew, sailing is lots of work. Maybe I could get a job in this light house instead.

What is Honey doing during all this?

Hopefully sitting quietly on one of the cockpit seats.

Honey the golden retriever chews a stick.

No, go ahead and sail without me. I’m quite happy here with my stick.

Which gets us to the most important job on the boat.

If You Want To Sail, You Have To Work

With one of us at the wheel and one of us managing sails, Honey has her choice of comfy seats.

Sure, it’s often blocking the instrument panels we need to track our speed, wind direction, and water depth. Or on our chart (map of the water).

Honey the golden retriever holds the chart down with her paw.

Maybe I’m not such a great navigator. But I’m doing an awesome job keeping the chart from blowing away.

She’ll often drape herself uncomfortably on the hard seat directly behind the wheel. It’s the best place for her to keep track of us.

When we have guests aboard it gets crowded in our tiny cockpit. So I start assigning jobs.

Schooner Mystic Whaler in the Choptank River.

Our next boat? There’s plenty of room in that cockpit.

Rather than stepping over one guest or another, I’ll ask the person sitting in one spot to help me adjust a sail. Or I’ll have another person look for markers in the water.

But there’s one job that’s more vital than any of those. And the person who does it has the most important job on the boat.

Mike working on Meander's engine.

Do you think working on the engine is the most important job? Ha!

If Honey Ain’t Happy

You know the old saying: If Honey ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.

It’s tough for Honey to find a comfy spot in a full cockpit. Besides that, she really likes to cuddle.

Have you guessed the most important job on the boat yet?

Honey the golden retriever with Uncle Bob on Meander.

Uncle Bob taking his turn doing the most important job on the boat.

Yep, it’s the job of sitting very still so Honey can settle in for a nap with her head on someone’s leg.

When we took my dad and brother-in-law out for a day sail the other week, it was really helpful for my dad to keep Honey in one place while I was trying to manage sails.

And my sister had Honey duty while Mike and I were anchoring the boat for lunch.

So if we ever visit you and invite you out for a sail, know that we’ll put you to work.

And your job will probably be sitting very still while fifty pounds of golden retriever takes a nap in your lap.

Honey the golden retriever dozes on the boat with Mike.

Mike at dock doing the most important job.

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Your Turn: Do your dogs like to cuddle while you’re working?


Picture Credits: Schooner Mystic Whaler taken by my husband, Mike Webster. You can his blog about life aboard at Bimini Dream. Photo of Uncle Bob and Honey taken by my dad, Dale Douglas. He doesn’t have a blog. Yet.




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  1. When I worked, I worked from home most of the time. Upstairs in my office, alone. The dogs would stay downstairs, sleeping. Their choice. Very rarely, when one of them needed to go out before one of the scheduled breaks, Duster would come upstairs and ask to go out. Other than that, I was on my own.

  2. Sounds like the easiest job there, I’m up for it.

  3. Awwww, that sounds like the best job of all! :)

  4. That is a very demanding job indeed.

  5. Do they make blue jeans in gold?

  6. I can see how that would be a very important job! It’s amazing to me she’s adapting so well to sailing. That would never happen with Rumpy.

  7. That does sound like a lot of work!

  8. That sure is an important job! Glad you are looking out for Honey!

  9. I wouldn’t mind that job :)

  10. Ah. I see what you’re doing. This is all part of your nefarious plan to get all of your blog friends to invite you to come visit, right? Because I would love to sit very, very still while Honey napped on me, and I am clearly not alone in this. 😀

  11. Where do I send my resume? I’d definitely like to apply!

  12. Sounds very important! And comfy!

  13. Keeping Honey happy is the best job on the boat.

  14. Now that’s a job I could definitely enjoy!
    Luke will sometimes whine when I’m at my desk on the computer. It took me quite a while to figure out that he doesn’t always want to play, sometimes he just wants me to go sit on the couch and snuggle with him!

  15. Like Jan K, that is a job I could definitely enjoy! What could possibly better than having a sweet Golden Retriever in my lap while out at sea?!

  16. Haha, I’m totally up for the most important job on your boat :-))