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Boating Etiquette – The Top Ten Tips

With Safe Boating Awareness Week around the corner, the North South Yacht Sales team is posting, with permission, Know-How: A Guide To Boating Etiquette, courtesy of Canadian Boating.

When boating this summer…

      1. Always respect the rights of others while underway. Power boaters must take note of the affect their wake will have on smaller boats and sailing vessels. Make sure to give them a wide berth.
      2. When boating near sailing vessels that are engaged in racing, reduce speed to minimize your wake and always pass to their stern and the leeward sides. Never anchor near buoys that mark racing course or starting lines.
      3. A sailing vessel under sail must never interfere with a power vessel just to exert its right of way.
      4. Never enter an anchorage at full speed. Always enter at a speed that will leave little or no wake. Prepare lines and fenders before entering harbour and leave them on the deck until you near the dock. And of course, don’t anchor too close to other vessels. Always allow room for the vessels to swing.
      5. If you are going to raft off, communicate in advance with the other boats to see who is going to be involved and in what order.
      6. Respect your neighbours’ privacy and right to peace and quiet. Sound travels a long way on the water and a radio, loud voice or generator can be very annoying to your fellow boaters or even to local cottagers.
      7. When you are walking along a dock, don’t peer intently into the boats made fast at dock. These boats are home to the people inside and staring in on them is downright tacky.
      8. Never set foot on someone else’s vessel without first asking – “Permission to come aboard, captain”? Even though in many cases this is just a formality, always observe the courtesy. It is a small thing but marks you as cognizant of the proper thing to do.
      9. Always wear the proper footwear aboard a boat. Hard-soled shoes can scratch or scuff a deck and are very slippery when wet. Bare feet are the most treacherous of all on a wet fibreglass deck. If a skipper thinks you care about the deck, the more likely you are to be invited back.
      10. Finally, remember, the captain’s word is law. The skipper is the master of the ship and is legally responsible for the actions of the crew and the safety of the passengers. This law applies to all vessels. A ship cannot be run by committee. The captain must be decisive and give instructions clearly and quickly. If you are crewing or are a passenger on a boat, obey the captain promptly. Your life and safety may depend on it.

These points were excerpted from the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron’s Basic Navigation and Boat Handling manual. For more information on the CPS-EPC visit