Home > Rules & Regulations > Boating Etiquette

Boating Etiquette

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 29 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Boating Etiquette Etiquette Aboard Boats

Boating etiquette will vary slightly depending upon what type of boat you’re travelling on and on what kind of stretch of water. However, whether you’re taking a gentle leisurely cruise along a canal in a narrowboat or sailing the ocean waves at high speed in a luxury yacht, it’s important that you take some time to understand the courtesies involved when you are making certain manoeuvres or encountering other craft along the way.

Here are some general rules of etiquette that are fairly common to all different types of sailing although you should still always do a bit of research or buy a book about the specific type of boating you’ll be doing in order that you do not become considered a nuisance or annoyance to others out on the water.

Passing Another Boat

The usual rule of thumb is that if you’re intending to pass another boat, you would normally do so from the right hand (starboard) side. When overtaking, do so slowly and if the other vessel is travelling at a slower speed than your craft, slow right down and keep as wide a berth as is safely possible as you pass to avoid any wake from the water rocking the other craft.

People will not be best pleased if you pass them at speed which causes their boat to rock violently, especially if they’ve just sat down to a meal they’ve prepared which then ends up going all over the place. Likewise, if it’s your boat that’s being overtaken, you should slow your speed right down to allow the passing boat to overtake you more easily.

When Mooring Up

Yet again, when you’re approaching a mooring point, do so slowly to avoid creating a wake and don’t get too close to any of the other boats, especially if there’s a strong wind blowing as it doesn’t take too much wind to cause a collision. Try to choose a mooring spot which is suitable.

For example, if you like playing music on your boat, it would be improper to moor up right next to another boat which may have a family onboard with young children who may need to go to bed early. The best rule here is if you’re intending to play music and/or going to have a barbecue, try to be as far downwind as you can to avoid disturbing others too much. Whilst you may want to enjoy yourself, it’s important you don’t do so at the expense of others’ relaxation and enjoyment too.

Running a generator of an evening isn’t a good idea either and also remember to either clear away or take any rubbish you have with you when you leave. In reality, boating etiquette when it comes to mooring is simply about common courtesy and respect for others, much as it would be in a similar fashion if you were pitching up at a campsite.

Refuelling

At a marina, get in, fill up and get out is the best rule to follow. Once you’ve refuelled, sail away from the refuelling area as other craft may be waiting to refuel too. In other words, don’t simply see a refuelling stop as an opportunity to leave your boat there for a longer period whilst you go off to go shopping to pick up supplies, for example. You can always do that later away from the fuelling station.

Co-operation

Some marinas, moorings and harbouring points may not have a dockmaster to assist all the time so the sailing ‘fraternity’ will always try to help each other out with docking and undocking so be amenable to assisting as you may need other boaters to help you out too at some point.

Inviting Guests Onboard

If you’re inviting guests to visit you whilst you’re moored up at a particular place, make them aware too of what is expected in terms of courtesy towards others and familiarise them with any emergency procedures and other rules that you would like them to adhere to.

Remember, even though you might have a solid reputation amongst other boat owners, inconsiderate guests can ruin that in an instant so it’s always better to make everyone aware of what’s expected of them so that you can all enjoy your experience together without ruining things for other people.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • tom and jody goldman
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Mature US couple looking to rent a boat in the London area for one month. Flexible time frame (August 15-Sept 15). We are boat people in the…
    20 April 2019
  • Jim
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Looking to rent houseboat in Birmingham from 1st June 19 for 6 months
    19 April 2019
  • Matt80
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Hi I’m looking for narrow boat rental in and close as possible to the Leeds area. Small budget due to minimum wage and part-time student…
    14 April 2019
  • sevey
    Re: Do I Need a Licence To Live on a Boat?
    Hello We have a mooring off the canal, on a private 'millstream' in the uk. We have not used the canal since august…
    13 April 2019
  • Corinne
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Hi there, I am a professional middle aged female,working in London looking to rent a boat to live on. I have my power boat level 2 license,…
    11 April 2019
  • Angel
    Re: Do I Need a Licence To Live on a Boat?
    Hi there. We have a homeless person now living on a boat on the Medway river. It is only a small boat, the engine…
    1 April 2019
  • Tom
    Re: What is Your Address If You Live on a Boat?
    I live on my barge and have no income coming in can I get help
    29 March 2019
  • Kate
    Re: What is Your Address If You Live on a Boat?
    I'm applying for fiancè visa to settle in the UK. My fiancè is from the UK and he has been living in a boat for…
    28 March 2019
  • Bigboy
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Hi i am looking to pay rent on a boat in yarmouth dose any one no any one that has a boat to rent 97395994788
    21 March 2019
  • Kate
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    My partner and I are looking to rent a houseboat for at least 12-24 months, preferably Windsor, Staines and surrounding areas. We have two…
    13 March 2019