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Eight Etiquette Tips for Boat Captains

EIGHT ETIQUETTE TIPS FOR BOAT CAPTAINS
There’s only one word you need to know to master boating etiquette: consideration. If you consider the point of view of others on the water and surrounding land, you will usually make the right decision when it comes to proper boating etiquette. When boaters are disrespectful to other boaters, homeowners or businesses on their waterway, it can lead to those waterways being closed to boating. Proper etiquette helps ensure we can all enjoy boating and fishing for generations to come:


1. SLOW DOWN
It’s easy to rush at the end of the day. You’re tired, it’s getting dark and cocktail hour is rapidly approaching. But when you’re pulling into a marina or dock, take care to slow down. No wake speed is top speed. Creeping along is better. You have more time to react, you won’t create a disturbing wake, and you give others a chance to help guide you into your slip.


2. MIND YOUR SOUND
Music is a part of most boaters’ fun on the water. But sound travels better over water and when music gets too loud, it can aggravate homeowners and create a bad reputation for boaters. A rule of thumb: if you can hear your music when you’re 24 metres (80 feet) back while wakeboarding, wakesurfing or waterskiing, there’s good chance it’s too loud. What’s more, when music is too loud, it’s unsafe because the captain can’t hear anything the spotter or other boaters are trying to tell him/her.


3. KNOW THE RULES
Whether it’s operating your lights properly to signal oncoming boaters or making sure to never drink while operating a boat, knowing and following the rules of the water are essential to a fun and safe boating experience for everyone.


4. DOCK STERN IN
Yes, it takes a little more time to back into your slip, but not only is it much easier to get on and off your boat aft, you also provide a clearer walking path along the docks. This is especially important for boats with large bows or pulpits.


5. CLEAR THE CLUTTER
Coil your dock lines, organize your shore power cords, stow watersports gear and life jackets, and put away your cleaning supplies. It’s getting dark, remember? It’s hard to see those hazards, and tripping on a hose on a splintery wooden dock while wearing flip-flops is not a fun way to end a great day on the water.


6. SHUT IT DOWN
Going up to the marina restaurant for a catfish dinner? Shut down your gear. That means turning off your lights, your marine radio, CD player, television and everything else that can annoy your neighbors while you’re gone. A shrieking radio or television can quickly put a damper on a relaxing evening.


7. MAKE IT SNAPPY
Need gas? Get it and move along. Need to pack or unpack the boat? Use the designated areas. Don’t dawdle around fuel docks or launch ramps. Boaters are generally patient people, but this can be a big source of irritation, especially among the “regulars.” Do some advance planning and think about your strategy for dealing with fuel and launching/retrieving efficiently.


8. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
When participating in watersports and making a wake it’s a good idea to stay at least 46 metres (150 feet) from shores, docks, and marinas. Besides, the middle is deeper and provides a better watersports experience.

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