The Rules of Good Boating Etiquette

Whether you’re a novice or an expert who hasn’t jumped on a boat in awhile, it’s always good to brush up on your boating etiquette. Over 87 million adults participate in recreational boating in the United States, according to Statista. With that many people in the water, it’s apparent that rules need to exist.

One of the top boating accidents that happens is a collision with another boat, according to 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics from the United States Coast Guard. Over 1051 collisions occurred over the year, with 38 deaths and 708 injuries, the US Coast Guard found, so it’s important to make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings. Don’t become another grim statistic, and don’t make the water a dangerous or unpleasant place for yourself and other boaters. If you want to know more about the rules for courteous boating, check out the list of tips below, courtesy of Discover Boating:

You are Responsible for Your Wake

You create the wake, so you have to deal with the wake. If you happen to cause wake that creates damage to other vessels, then you’re going to be the one responsible for it down the road. Always make sure that you pay attention to the wake you create and which direction it is heading in the water.

Slow Down, Don’t Speed Up

If there’s someone next to you about to pass you up, let them go. Always slow down first instead of speeding up. It’s common courtesy to let the faster boat pass first. For the safety and serenity of everyone around you, take things slow and not like a drag race.

Be Aware of Who is Ahead

If someone is in front of you, you need to know how much in front of you. This way you can make sure that you’re doing everything properly when coming towards land. 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

Be mindful of the ones around you, always. If you have a loud party boat, make sure you leave plenty of space between you and others. If you have a loud family boat, you should also do the same thing. Sound carries far over the water, so it’s important to be aware of what’s going on around you. Another thing you can do is be considerate of those around you and always keep your area clean. If your neighbor needs help out on their boat and you’re available, give them a helping hand. Respecting your neighbors is the first step toward getting along.

Just like with driving and the rules of the road, there’s also rules in the water as well. While some things are easier to pick up, there are other things that need to be learned.


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