As our waterways
become more crowded – especially over summertime
holidays – boating etiquette becomes an important issue to
keep in mind. Many of us have had encounters with inconsiderate
boaters, both on and off the water. Hopefully these experiences
remind us to apply the Golden Rule when we’re out in our
boats, ensuring a better experience for ourselves and all those
around us…even if they are a bit close!
Here are some boating etiquette essentials to keep in mind as
you enjoy the waters this summer:
Be ready to launch
when you hit the boat launch pad. Have your boat rigged and
loaded before you get set to launch, so others
don’t have to wait in line to get on the water. The same
goes for your return trip. Once you’ve got your boat
on its trailer, move to a de-rigging area to allow someone
to use the launch pad.
Be observant when
underway and respect the space of other boaters. Watch what
other boaters are doing, or how they are fishing.
Know where their lines are placed before nearing or passing
their location, to avoid running over their line. Imagine a wide
around every boat, and stay outside of that space. Keep in
mind that just because they are not moving, doesn’t mean
you can ignore what they are doing.
Help your neighbors.
If you spot another boater who seems to be having trouble,
it’s a good idea to help out (unless
the situation looks suspicious or dangerous – in which
case you should call for emergency assistance). Perhaps their
boat has broken down, run out of gas, or maybe you find a novice
boater in need of a hand. Whatever the case, what comes around
goes around. And you never know when you may be in a boating
Be familiar with the rules. Every state has different boating
rules, and these rules will depend on the waterway, the boat,
and the activity. The best way to get familiar with the rules
you need to know is to enroll yourself in a boating safety course.
Visit the U.S. Coast Guard site for a list of some of the safety
courses that are available.
Use Common Sense.
There will be times when the rulebook isn’t
readily available. Or, times when following the letter of the
law could put you in harm’s way. In these situations, the
best thing to do is to follow your gut. In fact, the very first
rule stated in the U.S. Inland Navigation Rules is called the "general
rule”. It says boaters should give due regard to any possible
hazard or circumstance that could prompt a departure from the
rules in order to avoid danger. In other words, if a boat is
speeding toward you, and you’re not sure who should have
the right-of-way – just go ahead and let them pass.
Note: Boaters and
Anglers, please remember that you can help prevent the spread
of unwanted aquatic plant and animal species by following these
Remove all mud and aquatic
plants from all gear, boats, motors and trailers before departing
from your fishing location
Drain all water including
bilges, live wells, and bait tanks before departing from
your fishing location
Do not transport fish
from one body of water to another
Do not release unused
bait into a body of water
Do not dispose of fish
carcasses or by-products in any body of water