Just as there are social norms you’re expected to know on land, you’ve got to know certain basic rules of boating etiquette if you’re going to be spending any time at all on the water. While it may feel like you’re the captain of your nautical domain, remember that a little consideration for your fellow boater can go a long way toward avoiding any misunderstandings or conflicts.
- You are responsible for your own wake and any damage done by it. If you’ve caused boats to bang into each other or knocked someone’s grill off their deck or otherwise harmed their property, you’re the one on the hook for the damages. Big wakes in crowded spaces is bad news.
- Slow down if another boat is trying to overtake you. For safety and the serenity of everyone around you, just slow down and let them go around.
- The first one in blazes the path. If you’re entering an anchorage, mimic the other boats in how you tie off, how you anchor, how much line to use and how much distance you allow between the other boats.
- Respect your neighbors. If you have a loud boat make sure you leave plenty of space. Sound carries much farther on the water, and you can be heard clearly from a good distance away.
- Know your ramp manners. Think in advance about how you can cut down your ramp time. Delegate responsibilities and practice them before you get to the ramp.
- Move along already! Fueling is a necessary part of your boating experience, but be considerate of other boaters who would also rather be out on the water.
- Lend a hand. It just takes a minute, and you’ve shown everyone what a standup boater you are.
- Keep your area tidy. Buckets, shoes, carts and other items need to be stowed properly. And if you’ve used a piece of equipment, put it back where you found it.