Although the traditional military-style salute is still used on occasion, the wave is in fashion and is now considered acceptable. A wave is not considered an appropriate signal following an act of stupidity (see “Wake Unto Others”). The casual display of this signal following such an indiscretion should be answered by extending the middle digit of the right hand.
Get the Hook
Fish-boat etiquette is a subject that deserves an entire series of books, although I doubt fishermen would read them. In brief, don’t dump fish waste in the garbage pail — recycle! Remove or pierce the eyes of filleted fish so that the remains sink and provide a meal for the crabs. Do not leave cockpit floodlights on all night, and turn down the damn music.
Be Nice to Your Crew
Stay calm and keep your voice down. There is no reason to let the world know by command that you’re intoxicated and that you run a hell-ship. Never shout commands at your crew, especially when there is a mishap for which you are at fault (my wife made me add this). If you need help docking, ask for it before you hit something.
Familiarize your guests with nautical custom before they arrive lugging a bulky steamer trunk down the dock. Remind them to leave high heels and black-soled running shoes ashore. Soft luggage can be easily stowed, and deck shoes will prevent wear and tear to your guests and your boat. And remind them to bring your favorite beverage.
It's a Small World
Most folks anchor out for one of two reasons. They’re cheap, in which case they’ve selected the wrong sport, or they’re interested in privacy. Assuming the latter, it is poor taste to crowd others unnecessarily in an anchorage. If you must run the generator, find a spot downwind and share the ice! Remember, an “anchorage” is not a permanent home.
Dealing With Authority
There is nothing to be gained by pissing off people with badges and guns. If treated with respect, most water cops will give boaters a fair shake. Customs can be more difficult, given the times, but I have found success in anticipating the obvious questions and being prepared with the honest (correct) answers. “Yes, sir/ma’am” doesn’t hurt, and forget the jokes — they have no sense of humor!
Look the Part
A yacht should be fit for sea while under way. Lines and fenders should be stowed — not lying about the deck or trailing over the side. Dockside, a boat that looks in order and is tidy will earn the respect of those who are less ambitious. While cleaning with a hose, keep the water to yourself. Oldschool skippers never used a spray nozzle and always dried with a chamois.
Eating and Drinking Aboard
Grilling aboard is great, but “smoking meat” will not be appreciated by dockside neighbors. If your grilling utensils include a fire extinguisher, consider opting for a leaner cut or ordering pizza. If dinner runs late and your crew consumes more than their ration of loudmouth soup, do your neighbors a favor and take the party into the salon.