If you dock your boat at a marina, there are probably rules and tips that you want your slip neighbors to follow, and they should. However, you also need to follow those rules for them in return! Being considerate at a marina is what keeps the flow going and keeps every boater happy. The rules for marina etiquette are simple, but everybody should stay up-to-date and get a refresher every now and then!
Be quick and motivated.
Whether you are getting more boat fuel, loading up, or unpacking, try not to wait around for awhile. Move your boat from the designated area whenever you are done. If something is going to take awhile and there is a special situation involved, let the dock master or another employee know. Keep in mind how frustrated you would get if the person you were waiting on was taking their sweet time. Try not to clean up and put away items when it is time to trailer your boat – do it ahead of time! Everyone has things to do, so all boaters should do what they need to do and then make room for the others.
When you enter the marina and leave the marina, be sure to keep your speed down. If you were trying to sleep, hang out with friends and family, or eat or drink, you would not want your boat to be rocking around because another boater was causing wake nearby. So do not do that to others! Remember, you want to maintain good relationships with your slip neighbors, because you will both benefit.
Clean up after yourself.
Stow your gear away – this includes your life jackets, dock lines, power cords, cleaning supplies, and hoses. Leaving these items out, especially on the dock, can be a huge tripping hazard. This is even more important at night when it is dark. Cleaning up after yourself also means disposing of your garbage. If you cannot throw it away at the moment, store it until you are able to. Make sure you store it in a place where it is not open to attract bugs or other creatures. Do not leave food out on the dock or in the cockpit unless you want rats or raccoons to get to it!
Do not peep around.
This one may seem obvious, but do not board another boat without permission. It is best to refrain from trying to look inside the boat as well. It would be very uncomfortable if someone you did not know was trying to take a look in your vessel without you giving them the OK.
Lend a hand.
Be helpful to others who are struggling. It is rude to just stare at someone having a hard time. Some people are not as experienced as others, or they may just be having a rough day. Reaching out and lending a hand will go a long way, and then you will have a friend if you are ever in a similar situation.
Turn off equipment.
This is another simple but crucial rule – do not leave anything on when you leave! If you are leaving your boat to go to dinner or the store, be courteous and turn off your electronics. This includes your lights, VHF radio, stereo, television, and anything else that could ruin someone else’s quiet time. Remember, sound carries extremely well over the water. Most marinas will include directions for a “quiet time” as well, and you should be sure to know when that is and observe it.
Go with the flow.
Be aware of what others are doing. Some marinas have an active nightlife, but some wind down. If you notice others going to sleep instead of partying, keep that in mind. This can also apply early in the morning. If someone did not get in until 2 am, they do not want to hear you at 5 am.
Dock stern in.
Try not to let your bow extend over the dock. It can be a danger to other people, especially if the anchor is protruding. Dock stern in so that it will be easier for you to get on and off your boat, and the walking path along the docks remains clear.
Know the marina’s policies.
Ask a marina employee about other policies. Each one will have a different set of rules that are specific to their location or certain situations. House rules are important in keeping everyone respectful to both the marina and other boaters.
Do you have any other rules for marina etiquette? Let us know in the comment section!