7 Mindful Practices that Make Good Marina Etiquette
For decades, newspaper readers around the country have been writing to Miss Manners, seeking advice to handle situations amicably. She provides them with an abundance of wisdom, sometimes with a healthy dose of acidic wit.
While no Miss Manners are in boating, there are commonly accepted rules for proper behavior. Good marina etiquette is easy to put into practice, too. From pulling into your slip to hosting guests onboard, the basics come down to treating others the way you’d like to be treated. Follow these seven mindful practices for good marina etiquette:
- Watch your wake
- Skip the screaming
- Keep it clean
- Squash the sound
- Leave when loaded
- Board with permission
- Lend a helping hand
Read all the way through to catch all Pro Tips.
1. Watch your wake
All those no-wake zones exist for a reason. Coming in or heading out at any semblance of speed rocks everyone else’s boats and tosses people around. It also risks them getting hurt, and you ultimately losing docking privileges. Consider, too, that the ecosystem suffers damage from excess wake.
2. Skip the screaming
We’ve all felt our blood pressure rising as wind and waves make it more difficult to dock. Taking deep breaths, not barking at your significant other, changes the situation. Don’t be That Guy or That Girl. Take a boat-handling course together, and practice—a lot—together.
3. Keep it clean
Avoid creating trip hazards on the dock. Coil your dock lines, and put away your shore power cords. Keep your gear, from bikes to water toys, stowed in your cabin or a dock box. If you borrow a dock cart, make sure to return it to its proper place on shore, too.
4. Squash the sound
If you’re a sailor, secure your halyards so they don’t slap and clank all day (or worse, all night). Regardless of whether you own a sailboat or powerboat, turn down the VHF when you’re sitting on board in your slip.
Turn it off when you’re ready to head to your car. Good marina etiquette further calls for quelling TV volume and for moderate music, particularly at night. Finally, if you’re hosting a party onboard, heading out to an anchorage might be better.
Pro Tip: When sharing a pole (or piling) with another boater, dip your line through their loop to remove either line without disturbing the other.
5. Leave when loaded
Fuel docks serve just one purpose, fueling. After you top off your tanks, avoid lingering so that you clear the way for the next cruiser. Undoubtedly, though, some fuel-dock attendants are good conversationalists, or you might seek their cruising recommendations. In those cases, ask if you can tie up a few feet ahead of the pump to finish the chat. Then, wrap things up expeditiously.
6. Board with permission
Boaters are super friendly, so certainly, chat with your neighbors. You might just learn you have a few things other than the love of the water in common.
You can even trade cruising tips. However, good marina etiquette means waiting for them to invite you to step aboard. Also, don’t help yourself to their PFDs or other gear without asking first!
7. Lend a helping hand
One of the greatest things when it comes to the boating community is the willingness to lend a hand. Plenty of fellow boaters will offer to catch your lines, for instance, or hold fenders while you pull into your slip. Just as minding your manners means being kind to others, good marina etiquette means returning the favor.
Minding your manners isn’t just for kids at the dinner table. Be kind to your slip mates by keeping these practices in mind.
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A journalist with more than 30 years’ experience, Diane M. Byrne is the owner
of MegayachtNews.com, a daily website educating American superyacht owners, buyers, and
their circles of influence about the leading builders, designers, cruising destinations, and more.
She founded the website in 2007 as the first, and still the only, American-focused online media
outlet exclusively covering this market. It features all-original content, for real stories of real
Diane is additionally one of the most-sought-after journalists for expert editorial coverage and
commentary about not only superyachts, but also general boating and yachting. Her byline
appears in Boatsetter.com, DiscoverBoating.com, and the magazines Luxury Guide, Ocean,
Yachting, and Yachts International.
Additionally, Diane is the Chair of the U.S. Superyacht Association, having been on the Board of
Directors since 2015. Outside of yachting, she’s a trustee of Sempre Avanti, a non-profit
resource supporting Italian and Italian-American individuals, businesses, and organizations in the
United States and Italy.