Never Ignore These 6 Boating Etiquette Items

‘Tis the season when sunny skies and warm temperatures beckon boaters out onto the water. Whether kicking back in a cabin cruiser or wrestling a prized sportfish, boaters enjoy memorable experiences that are both relaxing and exhilarating. Once you prepare your vessel and get your boat insurance up to date, refresh your knowledge of basic boating etiquette to ensure a fun and safe excursion.

The Unspoken Rules of the Water

Courtesy matters when boating, whether you set sail on the open ocean or a small lake. While licensed captains know the applicable laws, following unwritten rules makes or breaks a trip. Avoid discomfort and conflict on the water by remembering a few essential tips.

1. Keep Your Distance

Waterways get crowded, and sharing space with other watercraft can be frustrating. Be polite and safe by maintaining maximum distance between yourself and others, and take care near jet skiers, water skiers, and tubers. Use common sense; if an area looks too crowded to be safe, it probably is. 

2. Clear Out of the Fuel Dock

Stopping for fuel seems like a great opportunity to stretch, restock provisions, and chat with other boaters, but it is not the appropriate time. Other boaters also need fuel, and lingering at the dock causes back-ups and delays. Avoid hassles by leaving the fuel pump as soon as you finish filling up and docking elsewhere for time onshore. 

3. Respect Right-of-Way

Avoid nerve-wracking encounters in open water by yielding to other boaters as appropriate. Maintain speed and direction if another boat overtakes yours, and leave ample room when overtaking another. Yield to boats crossing on your starboard side, and remember that both captains have a duty to avoid head-on collisions. Aggressive tactics that steal right-of-way from others are not only rude but dangerous.

4. Pay Attention to Lighting

There are legal requirements for navigation lighting on boats, but you must also minimize unnecessary lighting. Dim your cabin lights and avoid any decorative lights that could confuse or distract other boaters. 

5. Mind Your Wake

Avoid creating excessive wake near smaller boats and personal watercraft, even if you are not in a low wake zone. Minimizing your wake improves everyone’s comfort and safety, and you would certainly want the same courtesy extended to you.

6. Have an Extra Set of Eyes

Captains must remain focused at all times. Keep a spotter on board to monitor any activities that may distract you, especially tubing or water skiing. Direct the spotters to facilitate communication between the captain and people off the boat; this enhances safety for everyone.

Most unwritten and unspoken boating rules come down to treating others as you want to be treated. If you have any doubts or questions, contact your boat insurance provider for additional advice. 

About Byrnes Agency 

At Byrnes Agency, we offer insurance solutions that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for personal policies or commercial coverage, we have the right coverage for you. To learn more about our products, contact us today at one of our two locations. 

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