Little kids aren’t the only ones who need a reminder or two at this point in the year to behave better. We all risk getting a lump of coal in our stockings, in fact, having let some lax behaviors become bad habits. It’s especially important to straighten up and fly right (or, should we say, steer right) when you’re out on the water.
Read through these behaviors to see whether you made Santa’s naughty or nice list—and how to course correct if need be.
The Naughty List
Forgetting to perform routine maintenance. While it takes time and money to care for your boat, it’s even more costly to neglect it. It’s also dangerous, risking your safety and those of your passengers and fellow boaters. Check out our Maintenance Guide for reference.
Lingering at the fuel dock. Fuel docks have limited space, after all, so others may need to pull in to the space you’re occupying. When you’ve fueled up, move on; save the socializing for the shore, and tie up elsewhere if you want to provision for your day out.
Speeding through a no-wake zone. Harbors have speed restrictions for good reasons. Sensitive shorelines can get damaged, for instance. Additionally, swimmers may be in the water, or you could swamp another boat. Be respectful, and slow down (see Boating Regulatory Zones: What is a 'No Wake' Zone?)
Taking too long at the boat ramp. Everyone’s anxious to make the most of their hours on the water. Therefore, reduce your time on the boat ramp by pulling your boat over to the side—say, to the beach or a dock—to load guests and everyone’s gear. When your cruising day is done, pull your vehicle and trailer over to the side to unload or clean your boat.
The Nice List
Being clean and green. Since we all love the water, it’s imperative that we protect it as well as the sea- and land life it supports. From seeking out environmentally friendly cleaning products for your boat to never tossing garbage overboard, little things add up to big differences. To get started, read Green Boating Tips: 10 Best Practices for Boaters.
Offering a hand. Grabbing someone’s dock lines when they’re returning to shore or departing for the day isn’t just a nice gesture. It can be a world of help, especially if a dockmaster isn’t around.
Taking a boater-education course. If you’re new to boating, the best gift you can give yourself this season is a boater’s-ed class. Many are free or low cost, too. Even if you’ve been boating since childhood, refresh your memory on the Rules of the Water. You might just earn your captain’s license if you have enough hours on the water, setting a great example for others. Check out our comprehensive list of Boating Education & Training opportunities.
Waving hello. Boaters are among the friendliest folks around. Waving hello is a time-honored tradition, done regardless of the make, model, size, or style of a boat. If someone waves at you from their boat or yacht, wave back. The same is true for your passengers. Better yet, initiate the wave.
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