The Solo Sailor’s Guide to Making Friends at Sea

Embarking on a solo sailing journey is a thrilling adventure, offering unparalleled freedom and a deep connection with the sea. However, despite the allure of solitude, there’s a common challenge many solo sailors face: making friends at sea. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the social waters and build meaningful connections on your solo voyage.


Before setting sail, immerse yourself in the sailing community. Join online forums, social media groups, and local yacht clubs. Websites like Cruisers Forum and apps like Navily and Cruisers Net provide platforms to connect with fellow sailors. Participating in discussions, sharing your plans, and asking for advice can help you establish a network of contacts even before you leave the shore.

Certain anchorages are known hotspots for cruisers. Research and plan to visit these popular spots where you’re likely to find other sailors. Places like the Caribbean, Mediterranean harbors, and Pacific atolls often host gatherings of like-minded adventurers. The more popular the anchorage, the higher the chances of meeting other solo sailors or cruising families.

Sailing regattas, boat shows, and cruising rallies are excellent opportunities to meet fellow sailors. Events like the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) or the Pacific Puddle Jump bring together sailors from all over the world. Participating in these events not only offers camaraderie but also provides safety in numbers and shared experiences.

While at sea or in port, a friendly demeanor can go a long way. Smile, wave, and be open to conversations. Introduce yourself to neighboring boats, offer help if you see someone in need, and don’t hesitate to start a conversation with a compliment or a question. Your openness can break the ice and lead to lasting friendships.

“Sundowners” – informal evening gatherings where sailors share drinks and stories – are a cherished tradition in the cruising community. Hosting a sundowner on your boat or attending one on another boat is a great way to socialize. Bring a small gift or some snacks to share, and be prepared to exchange tales of your adventures.

Your VHF radio is not just a safety tool but also a social lifeline. Listen to local cruiser nets and participate in daily check-ins. Many cruising communities have scheduled times for social chats, updates, and information sharing. Engaging in these broadcasts can help you stay connected and informed about who’s in the area.

Sailing often requires a diverse skill set, from navigation and engine maintenance to fishing and cooking. Offering to share your skills or asking for help with something can be a great way to bond with other sailors. Whether it’s teaching a fellow sailor how to splice a line or organizing a fishing trip, shared activities foster friendships.


While being sociable is important, it’s equally crucial to respect others’ privacy. Understand that some sailors may value their solitude as much as you do. Gauge interest and be mindful of personal space and boundaries. Building trust and showing respect can create a solid foundation for friendship.

Once you’ve made connections, keep in touch. Exchange contact information and follow up with new friends. Modern technology makes staying connected easier than ever, even at sea. Use satellite phones, email, and social media to maintain relationships and share updates about your travels.

Making friends at sea may take time, especially if you’re an introvert or new to the cruising lifestyle. Be patient and keep putting yourself out there. The sailing community is known for its camaraderie and willingness to help. With persistence, you’ll find your tribe and create lasting friendships that enhance your solo sailing experience.

Embarking on a solo sailing journey doesn’t mean you have to be alone. By actively engaging with the sailing community, participating in events, and fostering an open and respectful approach, you can make meaningful connections and enrich your adventure on the high seas. So hoist your sails, set your course, and embrace the opportunity to make friends at sea. Happy sailing!