Boat Etiquette – Diving on a Friend’s Boat
Diving on a friends boat is absolutely fantastic. Generally the group has more say in where they want to go and what they want to do. Assuming you are all familiar with the area, everyone on the boat has a pretty good chance of success on the trip. With that said, there is a fair bit of etiquette that goes into diving on a friend’s boat. We will go over some basic boat etiquette and what to expect, and some tips on how to get invited back out.
Who is in Charge – Tradition and Boat Etiquette
The short version is that your friend is in charge of their boat. They may ask advice from you, but it all come back to it being their boat. While they are I charge they should also be responsible, to some extent, for what happens. That means they end up being the trip coordinator for the day. Whoever has the boat is who should organize what should be brought for the trip.
Where You Dive
The person that owns the boat determines where the boat actually goes. Everyone should be part of the decision to some extent. Dive skill of everyone on the boat should be a factor in the decision. The other consideration is when other divers should step in if conditions are unsafe. It is your friend’s boat, but the line is drawn when they are being unsafe. Confrontation is always a tough call when you need to get in a friend’s face about them making unsafe decisions. It almost certainly will result in an argument.
How Long You Dive
Dive charters are for a certain amount of time on the water. On a friend’s boat that is not the case. That means you can start earlier and end way later. Every friend group is different, but usually people go out and burn all that gas to try and fill the fish box. That means you shouldn’t expect to get back to the dock until the box is full, or until you have gotten what you went out for. If the trip is unsuccessful you may be diving until it is dark and coming back in late at night. That means you shouldn’t make hard plans for later in the day when you go out on a friend’s boat. It is an easy way to be frustrated with a friend, and piss off whoever you had plans with.
Helping on the Boat – Boat Etiquette on Not Stepping on Toes
There is a reason that ships only have one captain. There needs to be one person in charge of a trip. Everyone has a say in the safety of a trip, but the final decisions comes down to one person. That is usually the owner. That can change if that person defers to someone else. That means you need to take directions from that person. That could mean steering or anchoring the boat, helping with lines or fenders near the dock, or any number of other tasks. It is best to communicate with the person what you are capable of ahead of time, rather than at a critical moment. There is nothing wrong with declaring your lack of skill in a task. Just make sure you let the appropriate people know ahead of time and learn at every opportunity possible.
How to Contribute
Contributing to a trip is an important part of diving etiquette on a friends boat. Your buddy has gone through the expense of maintaining a boat, and possibly a boat trailer. They are not obligated to pay for your diving as well. There are many ways to contribute to a trip. Here is some ways to split up the cost and make sure no one feels taken advantage of.
Before the Trip
Before the trip there should be some communication about who is bringing what. One individual should coordinate what needs to be brought, but there are many things that help make a trip successful. Someone needs to bring ice. Another diver can bring food, snacks, or drinks. Depending on the type of trip, someone may want to bring chum. These are not hard and fast rules, someone can do multiple things or none of them. Either way there needs to be communication on who is bringing what, or if everyone is going to bring all their own stuff.
After the Trip
After the trip the costs are usually divided up amongst the group evenly. There is a fine line between splitting costs and running an illegal charter. The cost per person is broken down by the cost of gas evenly divided by the people on the boat. Some boaters may have the cost broken down to include the cost of the services that come up all too quickly on boats. They are not wrong in breaking down the costs like that. Ultimately the number your buddy gives you at the end of the day is a lot less than the actual cost of owning a boat.
If anyone is good with a computer you can put all the costs of everything everyone put into the trip from the food, drinks, snacks, chum, and ice and break down the average cost and subtract what each person already paid. After all that everyone just owes the difference. It is a little more complicated, but a little more fair.