It’s been quite a few years since I’ve written about yachting etiquette. Frankly, the sting of former dock mates railing at the hypocrisy of my past efforts put me off the subject. I’ll admit formal yachting is not for me, so I will skip the first chapter on blue blazers, crisp khakis and a proper cap. My focus is more the meat and potatoes of etiquette, the useful stuff — in simple terms, how not to look and act like an idiot on the water. Please read on, and if you find my suggestions personally insulting, by all means tear out the offensive section, frame it and post it near your helm.
Wake Unto Others
It is in poor taste to leave another vessel wallowing in your wake, no matter its shape, size or type. The courteous skipper signals his or her intentions when appropriate and slows when passing in close quarters. If you are “normally” a knucklehead, ignore any signage that suggests you resume “normal” operation. Ultimately, if the other fellow shows no intention of slowing, pour on the coals — just kidding!
Dress for the Occasion...Please!
It is no longer necessary to wear a blue blazer, khakis and a cap while yachting. However, clothing of some form is generally considered appropriate while aboard. While models look great in thongs and G-strings, most of the boaters I’ve run into do not. If you’re not satisfied with what you see when you look in the mirror, please do not share!
The dock next to your boat should not look like Fred Sanford’s backyard. Your neighbors should not have to negotiate a path between grills, coolers, hoses and inflatable water toys. Yachtsmen do not paint their names on gangway signage or decorate the dock with potted plants, wind chimes and shell collections. If you do move, don’t start the engines at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 a.m.