Of course most boating guidelines focus on safety, and rightly so, but so much of the fun boating brings comes from the camaraderie we build as a community. Each time you take your boat out, you have a chance to make that particular day on the water more enjoyable for yourself as well as other boaters around you. Here are some obvious and not-so-obvious things to remember on your next outing.
Pass Don’t Plow
When you’re on plane and need to maneuver around or between a group of boats, it’s common sense to slow way down to minimize your wake as you pass. Some boaters choose to slow down only enough to come down off plane which might seem reasonable, but it actually creates more disruption. Because the boat is now plowing through the water, passing at medium speed creates a larger wake than passing on plane. So, if you want to be respectfully slow down to pass, don’t do it halfway.
Observe Squatter’s Rights
“The early bird gets the worm” applies to many aspects of boating, but let’s talk fishing etiquette. If you’re the first boat to arrive at a popular fishing spot, congratulations! You get to set the tone for the anglers arriving later. If you’re not first to arrive, then observe the boats who are already fishing and follow suit. If they are anchored up, then anchor your boat at a respectable distance. If they are trolling along a shoal, make sure your trolling path doesn’t disrupt their pattern. And if you find yourself disagreeing with their strategy, set your alarm clock earlier next time.
Docking Done Right
Docks and boat ramps are where a lot can go wrong, but just as much can go right! Set a great example for others by being respectful of the flow of traffic. Load your boat before backing up to the ramp and don’t dilly dally at the fuel dock in order to keep things moving. Bonus points for keeping your dock lines tidy to prevent tripping accidents.
Nobody Requested a DJ
Just because your boat has 24 onboard speakers doesn’t mean you have to share them with the entire sandbar. Voices carry over water and loud music carries even farther. Instead of adding to the communal country-indie-rap-oldies mashup that nobody requested, keep your volume at a level that allows you to hear your own music within a few feet of our boat without blasting your neighbors out of the water.
Improperly discarded fishing line, especially monofilament, poses a serious danger to the countless species of wildlife that share our waterways. Be sure to dispose of unwanted line in one of the 1,600+ recycling bins located across Florida, which can be found at your favorite boat ramp, fishing pier, marina, or tackle shop. If you come across fishing line dangling from the mangroves or washed up on the beach, please snag it and put it where it belongs: in the bin! Learn more about the issue and encourage your fellow boaters to keep our waters clear of fishing line.
Check out our Boating Basics resources for more great tips and how-to info. And remember to share your boating photos with us by tagging @goboatingflorida in your posts for a chance to be featured on our Facebook and Instagram pages! Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you on the water.