Boating etiquette is all about being courteous and respectful to fellow boaters. Here are some of the most important rules to remember when you’re out boating on the water:
Overtaking a vessel:
Give it ample space, taking depth conditions into account. Remember, the stand-on vessel has the right of way and should be accommodated by the give-way vessel. Slow your speed to reduce wake and avoid disrupting other boaters. Sailboats under sail always have the right of way over powerboats, while human-powered boats (such as kayaks) have the right of way over any vessel. If another boat has restricted maneuverability, it is a stand-on vessel, and you must accommodate it, no matter the situation. Rule to remember: preventing accidents takes precedence over all.
Keep your wake low and slow:
Show consideration for stationary boats (often used for fishing or swimming) by giving them a wide berth and slowing down so as not to swamp them. If being overtaken, reducing your speed can help prevent producing an even bigger wake. And remember, both vessels should turn right and pass port to port when going head-on.
It is crucial to remember that you are accountable for both your vessel and the wake it creates. Even if your boat doesn’t cause any harm, the waves generated by your wake could potentially cause someone to fall overboard, holding you legally responsible. Stay vigilant and considerate while navigating the waters to avoid any accidents or legal disputes.
Follow all navigation rules and regulations:
This includes respecting speed limits, following designated channels, and staying aware of other vessels in the area.
Avoid anchoring too close to other boats:
Anchoring can be an important resource for those who need a break from the open waters, but it’s important to give your fellow boaters space by staying at least 50 feet away. Before anchoring near other boats gauge their swing radius and locate their anchor lines.
Get out on the water!
Don’t be too loud:
Sound carries on the water. Loud music and boisterous conversations can disrupt other vessels, so it’s important to keep the noise level down when possible.
Be mindful of your trash:
Not only can floating litter be hazardous for marine life, but it’s also unsightly and unbecoming of a courteous boater. Make sure to dispose of your trash responsibly.
Boat with confidence, courtesy, and common sense—the waterway is enjoyable for all when boaters follow the rules and show consideration for others. By following these simple rules, you can ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience while on the water! Have fun and stay safe!