When taking your boat safety course, you learn the basic rules and regulations of the water, but boating is so much more than that. Practical safety considerations relating to your boat are essential for your trips out on the water. However, many customs of safe boating are in fact found in the unwritten rules. A few basic tips and familiarity with boating etiquette will make you a safer boater at the end of the day.
Learn the unwritten rules of the water below:
RESPECT YOUR NEIGHBORS
Let’s say your fellow boater breaks down. Now let’s say you are in the ocean with rough waters; you are required to stop and give your assistance. If you are in a local lake or inlet, you are not required to stop and help, but it is common courtesy to lend a hand to this struggling boater.
We all know trying to align your boat with the dock can be tricky. It’s a skill that simply improves with practice and experience. Regardless, if a fellow boater is docking, it is always a nice gesture to help guide them or tie up.
KNOW YOUR WAKE
When approaching a fellow boater, slow down to prevent your wake from disturbing others. It may slip your mind when you’re gliding along the water, but it is important to stay present when it comes to your wake, especially when there are other boaters in the area. You could end up knocking someone off their boat or turn an otherwise pleasant ride into a rocky one.
WHO HAS THE RIGHT-OF-WAY?
You learn the right-of-way rules in your safety course, but it’s not always that black and white. If it is in question, the best course of action is to let the other boat go ahead of you. Your goal during a situation like this is to avoid an accident and be courteous to your neighbors. If you cut someone off, boat rage is a likely result and an angry boater is not a pretty sight.
Knowing you’re not the only one out on the water is crucial when it comes to boating etiquette. On a beautiful summer day, there are likely tons of boats out. If you’re having a boat party, blasting music, and enjoying company, first invite me and second, try to go to a less crowded area. This way, if another boater is enjoying the sound of the sea they won’t be disturbed. We’re all sharing the water and need to be respectful of others.
Tight channels, marina entrances, etc. can be tricky when many boats are trying to go out for the day. Before hitting the open water, maintain a single-file line. If someone is trying to get around you, slow down and let them go ahead.
No one wants to be waiting. Similar to the road, most people are in a rush to get out and enjoy the water before the sun goes down. Be respectful of others time. Whether it’s at the fuel dock, boat launch, or when tying up – be efficient.
Keeping your boat clean has many benefits for both you and your guests. It will help with boat maintenance down the road and help you stay organized. Regarding boating etiquette, it’s nice for your guests to board a clean and well-maintained boat.
Along with your boat, you also want to keep your marina spot clean. Stow all your lines, cords, and hoses. Having these unnecessary cords out on the dock is not only a hazard, but it’s impolite to your neighbors.