Boat Etiquette – Basic Boat Operations
Boat etiquette is one of the least appreciated aspects of diving. In the United States, there are clear laws about how most water, at least on the coast, is owned by the public. As a result we collectively share the water. While it is fantastic that the oceans are held in the public trust, we do have to share the water and locations we communally own. Here is a basic breakdown of how we can work together to enjoy the waters we share.
Boat Etiquette – Arriving at the Boat Ramp
Boat ramps are crowded places full of other boats getting launched and retrieved. No matter how experienced you are with a boat and trailer there always seem to be a dozen people at the ramp that have no idea what they are doing. The best thing you can do is be prepared and patient. Make sure you have your boat prepared in advance so you can spend as little time as possible at the boat ramp. Just maintain control over what you can and relax about what you can’t.
Rules of The Road
Once you are on the water you should obey the Rules of the Road. These are the summarized methods of the International Collision Regulation (COLREGS). These are the standards that all boat are expected to adhere. The first thing you should expect is for every boater to completely ignore these regulations. If you expect everyone on the water to be trying to kill you you won’t be surprised when they almost kill you. Just because other people ignore the rules dent mean you should ignore them.
Approaching Other Boats on a Spot
One of the most common challenges you run into while diving is running into other boats going to the same spots. The best thing you can do is be polite. Remember, you are always an ambassador for all divers when you go diving. You can drop your anchor while other boats actively fish the spot then throw up your dive flag. While that is technically allowed it still makes you a jerk. The appropriate thing to do is to ask your fellow boats how long they plan on being there. Also ask if they would mind if you hop in the water. The best thing to do is do what you would hope the other boat would do to you. Just be respectful to one another out on the water.
Boat Etiquette – At the End of The Day
Similar to how you were prepared to get away from the boat ramp when you showed up you should be ready to remove your boat from the water as quickly as possible. The trailer determines when the boat is taken out of the water, not the boat. Many boat ramps allow you to tie up your boat away from the ramp and retrieve your vehicle and trailer, you should then get in line, if there is one and quickly and safely remove your boat from the water. Finish anything else you have to do to get your boat ready for the road away from the water. Just remember, there are two groups of people when you are boating. The people in your group, and the morons (everyone else).