One of the common frustrations in boating is a general lack of awareness when it comes to observing the ‘rules of the road’ when on the water. While many states require young boaters to successfully complete a boating safety course before operating a boat or watercraft, it can be argued that boaters of all ages should be required to show proficiency in boat handling along with some simple instruction on basic boating courtesy—beyond what is required by law. While, in most cases, discourteous boaters are simply ignorant of basic courtesies, many are simply indifferent or just plain obnoxious.
The following is a look at what you might call the Top 7 Boating Sins. They range from the mildly annoying to things you might think should be punishable by more medieval means. See if you agree.
- SLOW OR FAST PASSING…PICK ONE
Most boaters understand the concept of slowing down when passing between a group of other boats. This means leaving no wake as you pass. Slowing down just a little so that your boat “plows” thru the water is actually more disruptive to somebody (who is, for instance, trying to fish) than passing on plane and leaving less wake.
- ONE PERSON’S MUSIC IS ANOTHER’S NOISE
While sharing is generally a good thing, forcing your musical tastes on others is not. Voices carry over water. Radios and loud music carry even further. Keeping the volume at a courteous level goes the furthest.
- SQUATTER’S RIGHTS
The first boat to arrive at a fishing area gets to set the tone regarding how others arriving later should fish. If the first boat starts trolling counterclockwise, you should too. If the first boat anchors up, back off a respectable distance and drop anchor. If you want to be the one setting the standard, get there earlier.
- CROSSING THE LINE(S)
If anglers in a boat are obviously working a stretch of shoreline or reef, pass by behind them without leaving a wake. Anything else is rude and should not be outside the reach of anyone’s common sense.
- WATERCRAFT WOES
Personal Watercraft users need to keep in mind that the rules apply to them as well. A smaller craft does not equate to smaller courtesy requirements.
Virtually everyone knows littering is wrong…we learn this as children. No one want to see our waters and shorelines covered with litter.
- RAMP DON’T CAMP
A boat ramp is for launching a boat. Not rigging a boat for launch, loading gear or casual conversation. When boating alone your rig should occupy the ramp site for no more than five minutes. When boating with a buddy, no more than two or three minutes.