Boating etiquette

Boating can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but it's important to be aware of proper etiquette to ensure a safe and pleasant trip for all. Here is a guide to some key rules of boat etiquette that every boater should know.

Woman and a dog on the boat

Follow the rules of the water:

Every state and country has its own set of boating laws and regulations, so it's important to familiarize yourself with these before heading out on the water. This includes things like speed limits, navigation rules, and safety equipment requirements.

Keep a safe distance from other boats

Always give other boats plenty of space, especially when passing or approaching them. This will help avoid collisions and make for a more pleasant experience for everyone.

Be mindful of your wake

Your boat's wake can cause damage to other boats and shorelines, so it's important to be mindful of the size and strength of your wake, and to slow down in areas where it may cause a problem.


Respect other boaters' privacy

If you're approaching a boat that's anchored or moored, be sure to give them plenty of space and avoid getting too close. It's also important to respect other boaters' privacy when they're swimming or sunbathing on their boat.

Be mindful of noise

Keep the noise level down when approaching other boats or when in areas where people may be enjoying nature or fishing.

Be prepared for emergencies

Always carry a fully-stocked first aid kit and a working marine radio on board. You should also have a plan in place for dealing with emergencies, such as a capsized boat or a passenger who becomes ill.

Clean up after yourself

Leave the water and shoreline cleaner than you found it by properly disposing of any trash or debris.

Tanning on the boat

Guest on someone else's boat

When you're a guest on someone else's boat, it's important to be aware of proper etiquette to ensure a pleasant and safe trip for all. Here are some key things to keep in mind when you're on someone else's boat.

Follow the captain's instructions

The captain is responsible for the safety of the boat and its passengers, so it's important to follow their instructions and abide by their rules. This includes things like where to sit, where to store your belongings, and when to wear a life jacket.

Be mindful of your actions

Keep in mind that your actions can affect the safety and enjoyment of the trip for everyone on board. Avoid horseplay, and be mindful of your movement and noise level.


Help out when needed

If the captain or crew needs help with something, offer to lend a hand. This could include things like baiting hooks, steering the boat, or even cleaning up after the trip.

Bring your own gear

If the boat doesn't provide certain equipment or gear, be sure to bring your own. This could include things like sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, or a life jacket.

Don't bring prohibited items

Be sure to ask the captain or crew if there are any items that are prohibited on the boat, such as cigarettes or glass bottles.


Be respectful of the boat

Treat the boat and its equipment with respect, and be sure to clean up after yourself. Avoid damaging anything on the boat and make sure to leave it in the same condition as when you arrived.

Show gratitude

Remember to express your gratitude to the captain and crew for the trip. A simple thank you will go a long way.

By following these basic guidelines, you can help ensure a pleasant and safe trip for everyone on board. Remember to be respectful, helpful, and mindful of your actions when you're a guest on someone else's boat.