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Old 07-19-2021, 07:05 AM   #1
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Do it my way, or no way at all attitudes...

This weekend, while sitting around the pool and hanging out with other boaters and liveaboards, some discussions started taking place, as they always do, about how to do all things boatwise. Someone would say something, and someone else would counter what was said with some better idea, and yet someone else would try to trump the first two ideas with something they thought was better than that. It was interesting to NOT take part in the conversation and sit back and watch the interactions between folks.

After having this sort of experience recently here, and elsewhere, it got me to thinking about the interactions and discussions that we as boaters have, and the many different ways that we approach problems and tackle issues.

It all made me wonder why there is such a prevalent "my way or the highway" attitude toward boating - and really everything. I could ask the same type of questions on my film photography forum as well, as it's often plagued with the same issues.

I know there are some well traveled cruisers here, and you must have gone through some of these types of experiences when you were first getting started. How did you deal with it? Do you just smile and nod and get another drink?

Am I just a little to thin skinned and taking things too personally? Or do others agree with my observation?
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:15 AM   #2
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You're taking it too personally!

Lots of chaff to sift through to find the wheat. Including any forum advice, like this one as well.

If a person comes up with an idea or method that intrigues me, it pays to ask them how they arrived at that solution, and what were they doing before, why weren't they satisfied with it, and why did they change. Sometimes you become better informed from what did NOT work, than from what DID. Something NOT working tends to be more fact unless the application was wrong, but something appearing to WORK may just be that there was no need to do anything at all, and the results would be the same . . . . Hope that made sense.
I'm not the smartest or most experienced guy on the dock, and I don't profess to be. I can generally learn something from most anyone, even if it's what not to do or how not to act.
Oh, and the smartest guy on the dock is often also the loudest and most opinionated guy on the dock!
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:27 AM   #3
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Am I just a little to thin skinned and taking things too personally? Or do others agree with my observation? Do you just smile and nod and get another drink?

Yes.

Happens for all subjects, not just boating and photography. Exacerbated online by lack of visual cues, off-the-cuff typing, etc.

But probably what sounds like "my way or the highway" isn't, really. Just "the way I did it" or "what I got away with" in language suggesting no alternatives.

Minor details. And generally it eventually becomes clear who has a clue... and who doesn't. Or who has a clue on topic X, who knows about topic Y, who to discount, etc.

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Old 07-19-2021, 07:32 AM   #4
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I sit around at these discussions at marina happy hours and have the same thoughts I usually post here.


My most often comments are "it depends" or "there are more ways to do that".


The biggest problem with boating is it is a many faceted hobby...lots to know...so little time.


There are people that have been boating, even professionally, all their life who have been pigeon holed in their ways and don't bother to really know the facts because they have done it for so long and never had a problem. So how do you argue with success?


For me, seeing AND studying the failures of the same mentality in 2 different professions helps. Often like you, I sit there and sip my cocktail and let the conversation go until someone suggests something dangerous or absolutely wrong. Usually I just sit and Google something to quickly shut off that idea. Sooner or later the group sorts out those in the know and the ones that are magazine trained or shoot from the hip.



It's sorta like helping people dock...usually the most inexperienced run over to catch a line or fend off...they feel the same pain as the newbie at the helm. Good old timers may walk over but say nothing or do nothing till told. The first words are often and after several failed attempts with no resolution in sight or just soon enough to prevent injury or damage.


On TF a little harder to do because so many know so little about other's real experience and paragraphs of info are just that... shotgun answers to a loosely stated issue.

Many threads that have a fairly narrow point that is fairly detailed are fairly short as there are several ideas, links or direct answers that all but quell the "this is my way and the highway" answers.
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:50 AM   #5
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I would offer up the theory that while a group of boaters standing around having a discussion may seem like a random group, they already have a lot in common and are prone to have similar personality traits and habits. Boats offer a sense of freedom and responsibility at the same time, they also require some degree of financial success (or financial recklessness) in order to own one. The guys and gals standing around the marina having this discussion whether they are power boaters or sailors, have a shared interest and are likely pretty driven people so it isn't a big surprise that they have strong opinions about something important to them.
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:52 AM   #6
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There are 3 ways to do almost anything: the right way, the wrong way and what some guy has gotten away with for 20 years and is therefore certain it's the only way.


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Old 07-19-2021, 08:55 AM   #7
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:01 AM   #8
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Those who profess the 3 thing theory in my opinion need to open their eyes to the bigger question.


Maybe the way they are thinking of isn't the only way.


I agree that those that profess "I have done it that way for 20 years" may be the "gotten away with it"...but again.... that isn't the only way to get to the solution.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:07 AM   #9
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Those who profess the 3 thing theory in my opinion need to open their eyes to the bigger question.

That's what I always question. If someone has done something some way for 20 years without trouble, does that make them an expert, or just lucky?
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:31 AM   #10
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Could be either...have to sort through the facts.


But on a boat to say there's the right, wrong and got away with is ridiculous.


Some love using their genset, some love silence and solar. That could mean vast differences in all sorts of electrical setups.


Sure there's right and wrong sized wire for carrying amperage...but which is right or wrong, terminal block or butt connectors? There are countless examples.


If someone uses a non-standard method, explains the pros and cons including dangers and possible backup alerts...and has worked for 20 years and you believe in the guys abilities and instincts....maybe that solution is fine....yes the ABYC has a bunch of experts agree on a best practice...and they are probably right to a degree....but what if the other way is 99.99999999 successful on any boat but 100% on trawlers? Not going to make the ABYC recommendation necessarily...but for us mere mortals?


The real personal inward look is if you can do it "better" or at least what current belief is better...then how much effort/cost will it be to go that extra 0.00000001 percent?
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:14 AM   #11
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The other day psneeld offered a slightly different way to tow a heavy vessel. I did not say anything but have thought on it and wondered why it worked for him and did not for us, and our solution worked for us, it was a topic of discussion in our circle.

For those that have their own experiences, to hear another possible way gives pause. But for those with zero experience in a subject it must seem awful confusing to sort through all the possible ways.

An example is the thread on solar panel mountings. have never done that, but there is half a dozen ways being promoted, which to consider should one be installing panels.
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Old 07-19-2021, 10:46 AM   #12
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Those who profess the 3 thing theory in my opinion need to open their eyes to the bigger question.
Yeah, I'd guess there are often several right ways and several wrong ways... likely situationally dependent... often influenced by personal preference... but sometimes by hardware constraints.

I suspect the saying was originally just meant to point out (semi-comically) that just because something seems to have worked for somebody... so far... doesn't mean it was the right/safe/prudent thing to do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by toocoys View Post
That's what I always question. If someone has done something some way for 20 years without trouble, does that make them an expert, or just lucky?
Often there's not enough info to tell... about "them."

Sometimes you can find corroborating -- or refuting -- info that the "something."

As usual, and you already know this, research and critical thinking skills can be your friend.

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Old 07-19-2021, 11:08 AM   #13
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"The sea is selective, slow in recognition of effort and aptitude, but fast in sinking the unfit." Had to memorize that in the maritime school I went to.

In the engineering world we say that "code is written in blood". Safety code, not computer code...computer code is written RedBull I think.

In the safety world there is a concept of failing good vs. failing lucky. Failing good is when you had enough knowledge to predict the failure, and it still happened, but at least you were able to put in controls to mitigate the risks beforehand.

Failing lucky is when the failure was unexpected, or the controls in place were inadequate or didn't work properly, and the the only way someone didn't get hurt or "blowned up real good" is by sheer luck.

Risk is merely the product of likelihood and consequence. If you have the experience or understanding, to predict likelihood and consequence, it is possible to lower risk.

If you don't have the experience or understanding, you have the possibility of higher risks to you and others. This is one of the reasons we have rules.

So yeah, in a way, knowing the rules is one way to mitigate risk, but understanding why the rules exist is often a better way.

You pooh-poohed the COLREGS earlier in a thread. That indicates that you not only don't know the rules, but you don't understand the need for them either.

I think Will Rogers said, "There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

Personally, I believe we have way too many rules and laws, and not enough understanding. Because we have so many rules and laws, it diminishes the important laws, and leads to discretionary following and selective enforcing of all of them.

And yes, the "my way or no way at all" type of people often lack understanding. I'm not big on post-modernist philosophy, but this one from Foucault seems to fit. “People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does.”
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:17 AM   #14
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There are only two kinds of boaters.

1) Those that are right

2) Those that refuse to accept that they are wrong.
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:17 AM   #15
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I find the challenge is it's rare to find just one perfect or "right" way to do something, especially in boating. Combined with a lot of "arm chair" experts on the interwebs and it doesn't take long for actual experience to be overtaken by unqualified online opinions pretty quickly.

Just this week we were moored on a commercial dock and noticed all of the paravanes installed on the local Seiners. I chuckled a bit as I've read everything I can find on paravanes including some long winded posts here on TF. Beebe says "X" and they need to be mounted at 28% from the aft end of LWL, etc. but North Sea trawlers drag their nets from the forward masts and shrimp boats in the Gulf do something else...so on and so on.

These paravanes were mounted where there was room, typically inline with the existing mast and rigging. Some were too far forward, some too far aft, most were in the middle of the boat. 90% of them looked like they were fabricated and welded up on the dock then installed over a long weekend with a few six packs to keep things moving so they could go fishing on Monday.

Were they perfectly placed? No. did the look nice? No. Do they work? Apparently very well. Did the captain, owner or crew go online to debate their design and plan? Unlikely. I couldn't help thinking to myself "workboats get shit done".

I've found the best answer is often the one that works for your boat, your cruising needs, your budget.
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:39 AM   #16
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Personally, I find attitudes that are holier than thou and those who tend to belittle how others came to learn something to be condescending and full of self importance. No one was born with the "knowledge"; they all acquired it somehow. This is true of even the well acknowledged, accepted experts in their fields. Although I place a high value on experience (and experience can be a great teacher), personal experience is not always the "best way" to learn. For examples, do I personally need to fall off a ladder to learn that it is not a good thing to do? Learning from others is often the "smart" way, as having to "learn everything the hard way" could turn out to be deadly . I have met, and even worked with people who had "20 years experience", but due to their own personal outlook and characteristics, what they really had was one year of experience repeated 20 times. They did not have any kind of an inquiring mind, and got fixated on there only being "one way". They did not continue to learn and develop because what they were doing "seemed to be working" or was "good enough". However, you can even learn from them, it just requires an open mind and a willingness to examine the info through a critical lens.

I also think that "looking in the mirror", understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, admitting what you don't know and/or your limitations, is actually a very big strength. I learn from others practically everyday. However, I have an inquiring, curious, and somewhat skeptical mind. If I have any doubts about what someone is saying (assuming of course that the info interests me), I conduct my own research. All information is examined through many filters including the one of "common sense". I even occasionally learn something from a magazine.

As far as this discussion, under those conditions (the dock experts) I usually listen way, way more than I speak. I rarely engage in an "argument" unless there is a "blow hard" who is actually professing something that I know is dangerous. Then I will speak up. There is almost always more than one way to "skin a cat", or do it "right", and the very "best way" is not always the one that works best practically in that particular application. Sometimes even the blow hards have a good idea, or one that can be modified that can work well for you. Other than direct personal attacks, I try not to take any of it personally.
In summary, as Chris said: "As usual, and you already know this, research and critical thinking skills can be your friend."
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:52 AM   #17
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What makes the right way the right way?
Something written in a book? One experience? Who decide what is right or wrong?
80% of pleasure boaters who would see (or have seen) my shaft to tranny arrangement would say it is wrong because they never saw this before.
Reality is that after some research I found out that this arrangement is seen in fishing boats rarely in pleasure crafts.
A lot of people who don't know tend to reject what is beyond their ordinary.




L
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:13 PM   #18
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You pooh-poohed the COLREGS earlier in a thread. That indicates that you not only don't know the rules, but you don't understand the need for them either.
I did poo-poo the COLREGS in another thread, I'll own that. However, I'll have to put that particular response in context.

Telling me what the COLREGS say about radar is about as valuable, to me at least, as telling me I need to install a steering wheel on the passenger side of my car because I might have to drive it in England one day.
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:20 PM   #19
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What makes the right way the right way?
Something written in a book? One experience? Who decide what is right or wrong?
80% of pleasure boaters who would see (or have seen) my shaft to tranny arrangement would say it is wrong because they never saw this before.
Reality is that after some research I found out that this arrangement is seen in fishing boats rarely in pleasure crafts.
A lot of people who don't know tend to reject what is beyond their ordinary.




L

Boy is this sometimes rampant on the web.....
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:49 PM   #20
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