Be a good neighbor: Know your marina etiquette

Marina DockThere’s only one word you need to know to master marina etiquette: Consideration. If you’ll consider your neighbor’s point of view for a moment, you will usually make the right decision. Here are some pointers to help guide you in building a great relationship with surrounding marina slips.
 
1) Slow down. It’s easy to rush at the end of the day. You’re tired, it’s getting dark and cocktail hour is rapidly approaching. But when you’re pulling into a marina, take care to slow down. No wake speed is top speed. Creeping along is better. You have more time to react, you won’t create a disturbing wake, and you give others a chance to help guide you in.
 
2) Dock stern in. Yes, it takes a little more time to back into your slip, but not only is it much easier to get on and off your boat aft, but you provide a clearer walking path along the docks. This is especially important for boats with large bows or pulpits.
 
3) Clear the clutter. Coil your dock lines, organize your shore power cords, stow watersports gear and life jackets, and put away your cleaning supplies. It’s getting dark, remember? It’s hard to see those hazards, and tripping on a hose on a splintery wooden dock while wearing flip-flops is not a fun way to end a fun day on the water.
 
4) Shut it down. Going up to the marina restaurant for a catfish dinner? Shut down your gear. That means turning off your lights, your marine radio, CD player, television and everything else that can annoy your neighbors while you’re gone. A shrieking radio or television can quickly put the damper on a relaxing evening.
 
5) Go with the flow. You had a big day. You’re probably worn out and tired. Others probably are too. Some marinas seem to have a bigger nightlife than a daylife, but many wind down. Don’t be too rowdy if everyone’s turning in early. And, it’s helpful to not to be too whiny if there’s a party a couple of boats over.
 
6) Make it snappy. Need gas? Get it and move along. Need to pack or unpack the boat? Use the designated areas. Don’t dawdle around fuel docks or launch ramps. Boaters are generally patient people, but this can be a big source of irritation, especially among the “regulars.” Do some advance planning and think about your strategy for dealing with fuel and launching/retrieving efficiently.
 
7) Know the rules. Most marinas have established policies to help ensure a peaceful community. Some rules are common to all marinas and some are “house” rules that deal with special situations that have come up before in that location. Many times you can get the “lay of the land” by having a quick, friendly conversation with the marina manager or your neighboring boaters. One of the most important things to remember is to respect the marina’s “quiet hours.”