Do you know the correct etiquette for boaters? Are you following the rules, or do you tend to be a little reckless?
The last thing you want this summer is a boating accident that could harm you or someone you love.
You should also teach boating etiquette to your children, so they can be safer boaters, too!
When passing another boat, sound two short blasts from your horn to signify you’d like permission to pass. If the boat you’re trying to pass blasts their horn five times, or doesn’t respond at all, you should assume it’s not safe to pass.
This rule can be a little vague sometimes, especially if you’re on a river or lake that’s very crowded. Frank Penny, a boating safety and seamanship course instructor for U.S. Power Squadron says, “It’s good sense to relax, let the other guy have the right-of-way and avoid a collision, no matter who has the right-of-way.” In other words, if you feel like you’re being challenged by another boater, let the other boat go first.
Anchoring and MooringBe sure to enter an anchorage or mooring at a slow speed. Remember that your neighbors and other boaters don’t want to get caught up in a wake you create by coming in at a high speed! Don’t get too close to other anchored boats, and take care not to blind your neighbors if you’re using a spotlight.
Marina MannersIf you’re stopping at a marina instead of your private boat dock, keep in mind that other boats are also using it. At peak times of the day, remember that other boats are stopping for fuel and other necessities, so make sure to follow proper procedures and move out of the way in a timely manner.
In addition, make sure to keep the area around your slip clear and put equipment back where it belongs if you use it.
Take a Safety CourseIf you’re new to boating or want a refresher, take a boating safety course! There are courses available through the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary about boat safety and boat handling that are great for learning not only written rules of boating, but the unwritten ones too.
At the end of the day, boaters tend to think of each other as members of the same community and neighbors, so make sure you exercise good etiquette out on the water. Stop to help a fellow boater if they need it, and be courteous no matter what.