• First of all, be patient. Keep in mind that especially during peak season (the summer months), port workers are busy assisting many other tourists who also do not speak their language. As a result, they may already be frustrated and overwrought when you reach the marina. Wait until the yacht ahead of you has been dealt with before you attempt to communicate.
• Older mariners are typically more experienced than younger ones, but this is not always true.
• Watch for the mariner to lift the mooring line to the windward side. If he does this, you should be in good shape.
• Different mariners may have slightly different procedures. So long as those procedures are safe according to your knowledge, then just go with it. Even if it is not the way you like to do things, it is a lot less of a pain to let the mariner do his thing than it is to argue about specifics. It is probably safer as well.
• If a mariner tries to give you some advice, consider listening to it, even if you think you know better. Generally speaking, mariners in Croatia know what they are doing. You might learn something.
• Mariners in Croatia are notoriously grumpy. Try and just ignore their foul moods when you encounter them. Again, think how many foreign tourists they have had to struggle to communicate with throughout the day. And then consider that they have to do it all under the hot sun. It is understandable that they can be cantankerous. In short, consider your own frustration, and then just multiply it—that is what you are dealing with.
• If you want to do something constructive to deal with the problem of a foul attitude, do not let your own temper flare. Instead, offer kindness, like a cold drink or a tip. Quite often this will result in an instant attitude adjustment.
• Always remember that you are the foreigner. While you are welcome as a guest, mariners in Croatia still are going to feel to some degree like you are intruding. This is par the course with traveling and is doubtless an attitude you are familiar with from many other locations you have visited. Just deal with it, and things will go more smoothly on your Croatia sailing holiday.
• If you do not speak Croatian, try and address the mariner using English, Italian or German. Most mariners in Croatia know some basic words in these languages as pertaining to mooring a boat. This is not true universally, however, so you will still have to be patient. Speak slowly and enunciate.
• Think about getting in touch with the desk staff before you show up at the port. Oftentimes the front desk staff can communicate in more languages than the port workers themselves. Call in through VHF channel 17, and chat with the staff about the mooring procedure. This can save you a lot of confusion and hassle. Just know that this is much easier to do off-season. On-season, the staff will usually be too busy to talk to you before you arrive.
The good thing about mooring your boat at a marina in Croatia is that it is all very routine-based. Even though there are some differences from one port worker to the next in terms of procedures, things should go fairly smoothly if you are willing to be flexible and patient.
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