Having good boating manners is the key to keeping everyone happy on the water. By adhering to the rules of the waterways, you will increase your levels of enjoyment and safety, as well as improve the entire boating experience for you and all the other boaters that make use of the waterways.
ON THE WATER
The rules of the road basically apply when you are out on the water. The skipper is required to drive as safely as possible and avoid collisions with other boats. When overtaking, reduce speed and try and keep a good distance between you and the boat you are overtaking. Passing slowly will ensure your wake will not disturb those having sundowners on the other boat – but be mindful of your speed and trim as you may be kicking out a larger wake than you intend. Simply, slow down and be considerate when overtaking.
Always enter the marina at a slow speed. Coming in faster than idle will generate an unnecessarily large wake, much to the disgust of those enjoy the tranquil solitude in the marina. Also remember not to get too close as it may cause moored boats to collide with others. If you’re docking at night and using a strong spotlight, try not to shine it in the eyes of those on the surrounding boats.
SOUND SYSTEM MAYHEM
Always ensure that you play your music at a respectable level and that it doesn’t intrude on those enjoying their time on surrounding boats, particularly when docked at the marina.
Don’t hold up the queue waiting for fuel while you fill up. Follow the proper procedures when refueling and move off as quickly as possible. Be careful not to spill fuel as this will cause an ecological hazard.
AT THE MARINA
Where possible, assist other boaters with their dock lines. Make sure that your shore power cords are not a tripping hazard for those walking on the jetty and don’t leave tins of cleaning fluids lying around as they also pose a tripping hazard. Keep your music levels down and shut off electronic equipment such as the VHF radio.
Once you have decided on your guest list, explain to them what is required in terms of warm clothing, non-slip shoes and the particular rules that apply to your boat. Also explain how to use the ablution facilities and how the shower works. Finally, and most important is to explain the emergency procedures. And no littering, ever.
AT THE SLIPWAY
Put your boat in the water and get it out of the water as quickly as you can to avoid holding up others that need to use the slipway. Get the crew involved with unhooking and hooking up the boat and move the trailer away at the earliest possibility.
We all enjoy being out on the water and having a good time with friends and family but as mindful boaters we need to be cognisant of other boats around us. If you do ever come across a boat that might be in distress, pull up near them and ask if they need your assistance. It’s the right thing to do.