Boating Etiquette for Newbies

The sun is shining and summer is here. The weekend has arrived and to top it all off, you have been asked to come out on your friend’s boat! Here are the top 5 things to help increase the chances of you being asked to come out on the boat again for more summer fun!

1. Be on time when meeting at the launch or dock – There is nothing worse than having the boat in the water, friends and family aboard and a full cooler but you can’t leave the dock due to a certain someone being late. Always know where you are going and have solid directions ahead of time. By having some planning in place, you will have a better chance of being on time. Give yourself extra time in the event that you leave your house late, get stuck in traffic or need to make a pit stop along the way. Don’t be that person that makes the entire party wait for you to show up.

2. Offering gas money for a day on the water – Most boats do not run on “THANKS” they run on either Diesel or Gasoline. Make sure to offer the captain cash for fuel if you head out on the water for the day. The captain may ask for help with fuel costs ahead of time or sometime during the day on the water. With the cost of fuel constantly rising and fuel being even more expensive when purchased from an on-water gas bar, it is a nice gesture to offer the captain money for fuel in exchange for a great day on the water. If you are participating in watersports, you can count on more fuel being used. For 1 session of being towed on the water, Offering a minimum of $20 is acceptable for a session. If you are on the water for a solid day, offer $40-$100 to the captain. The more people pitch in, the less each person should pay. The boat owner has many expenses to take care of to maintain the boat, helping out with a little gas money goes a long way.

3. Bring some food & drink to share – When spending the day onboard with other people, it is nice to share snacks and drinks with the rest of the crew. Some boat owners, particularly people that own expensive tow boats do not allow food or drinks onboard their boats except water. These boats are the pride and joy of these weekend warriors and they treat their boats just like an expensive exotic car. The last thing they want is to have their boat upholstery or carpet stained with food or drink. Ask the captain beforehand if it is okay to bring food onboard. In many cases, if food is not allowed to be consumed onboard the boat, you will have the opportunity to eat on a beach or at the dock. Extra napkins and hand sanitizer are nice to have onboard for the day.

4. Take off your shoes before you enter the boat – It is good etiquette to remove your shoes or flip flops before you board the boat. Boats are often treated like floating living rooms and the captain is often very particular with the cleanliness of his vessel. Removing your footwear is just good manners, just like when you enter a house in Japan or in other Western countries. Remember, you are a guest so exercising good manners is always a good thing.

5. Don’t ask to go back to the dock early! – One of the biggest inconveniences to the captain is having to accommodate your timetable. You have been asked to come out on the water to enjoy the day and the captain most likely has the voyage planned out. If you have other plans you are trying to squeeze in – DON’T. If you have plans that you must commit to on the day of boating, it is better to decline the invitation to come out on the water and save it for another day rather than be a major inconvenience to the captain and the rest of the crew.

Alright now that you have some boating etiquette to lean on, don’t forget to bring the items below to make your day on the water more enjoyable. Remember to pack small and light as day boats have limited storage onboard.

-Sunscreen -Sunglasses

-Beach towel -Phone charger

-Flip flops -Personal items such as medication, makeup

-Hat for shade -Cash for gas and other essentials

Article by:

Joshua Tisch

DDM Group