Boating Etiquette: What You Need to Know

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Navigating towards adventure, casting off, and hitting the open water—there’s nothing quite like being out on your Skiff.


Whether you’re heading out for a full day of fishing, an afternoon of cruising with friends, or just taking in some sun, it pays to know proper boating etiquette. While getting on board can be downright exhilarating, your fellow boaters won’t be nearly as impressed if you don’t act appropriately while enjoying all that nature has to offer.  Whether you’re a new Skiff lifestylist or just need a little boating etiquette refresher, let’s dive into the essentials when it comes to what one should (and shouldn’t) do out on the water.

Decrees Of The Water

It’s time to brush up on the rules of the water and who has the right away when passing other boats while you’re out and about. To safely and respectfully pass by other boats on the water, it’s crucial to keep a few key factors in mind. First and foremost, it’s essential to consider the direction you’re passing in and to keep a watchful eye on your wake, depth conditions, and the space around you.

Remember to consider the speed of other vessels and the potential impact on smaller boats and their passengers. Respectful boating is all about being mindful of the rules and giving other vessels the space they deserve.


Tricky Things To Remember Regarding Right of Ways

When two boats meet on the open water, it’s important to remember that the vessel approaching from the right is the “stand-on”. AKA, they have the right of way. If you’re approaching head-on, pass port to port by turning starboard. Sailboats might have the upper hand when cruising under sail power, but when using an engine, they’re on equal footing with powerboats. Safety always comes first as the captain, so remember to yield the way if necessary.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be paddling around in a canoe or kayak, congratulations – you’re top dog. Meaning you have the right of way over any other type of boat. Finally, keep in mind that boats with limited maneuverability are always considered “stand-on.”


How To Anchor/Moor To Avoid A Faux Pas

When anchoring or mooring your boat, it’s important to remember a few key tips:

  • Avoid dropping anchor in a channel or getting too close to other boats, as this can lead to a tangled mess of anchor lines or even a boat fender bender.

  • Approach the anchorage or mooring slowly and carefully to avoid making a splashy entrance.

  • Additionally, the first boater to drop anchor sets the swing radius, so be considerate of other boaters.

  • Lastly, don’t be a boat hog! Always ask other boaters in the area before taking a guest mooring to avoid taking someone’s spot.


Be A Good Neighbor

Your fellow boaters are like your neighbors on the water. So, let’s strive to be friendly, helpful, and courteous. If you come across a fellow boater in distress, don’t hesitate to lend a hand! And when docking, don’t hesitate to offer to catch another boat’s lines. Like in any neighborhood, kindness goes a long way.

At the same time, remember that kindness and respectfulness go hand in hand. This means showing consideration not only for the environment but also for your fellow seafarers. If you find yourself in a fishing hotspot, keep noise levels low so as not to disturb the catch of the day. And, of course, always practice a leave no trace philosophy, leaving the water as clean as you found it.


Take Safety Precautions For Your Passengers

As we’ve said before, safety is your first priority as captain, and this extends to ensuring everyone in your care onboard is safe too. The first thing you can do to guarantee this is to load up your Skiff with safety gear for you and your passengers.


Let’s run through a quick safety gear checklist:

  1. Easily accessible throwable cushion

  2. Marine fire extinguisher

  3. Life vests for every passenger

  4. Flares

  5. First aid kit


Also, prep your guests with safety procedures before launch. This means laying down the rules for your Skiff, letting them know what type of behavior is and isn’t acceptable, where all of the safety gear is, and how to call the VHF radio if you cannot do so during your journey.

Now that we’ve covered some high-level tips concerning boating etiquette, it’s time to go live the Skiff vibe… in classy fashion.

At Carolina Skiff, building one of the best quality boats for a great price has always been our goal. Whether you’re looking for a pleasure boat, fishing boat, or runabout boat, Carolina Skiff delivers the most in value, quality, and style. Find a Carolina Skiff dealer near you today, or visit our website to learn more.