Please Don’t be a Nauti Guest:  Boat Etiquette Rules to Know Before Boarding

Tis the season for cruising the open seas, whether it’s a pontoon party on the lake or a sunset cruise through the harbor. We asked boat owners who have hosted hundreds of times, for their biggest pet peeves when hosting on the water!  Be sure to follow these guidelines to secure your invitation back onboard. 

  1. Being late is not fashionable on the water, as in all social engagements, arriving on time is crucial. Especially when it comes to hopping on someone’s boat, do not keep them waiting. They’ve mapped out the weather and their path, there may be a narrow departure window, respect that. 
  2. Always wear white soled shoes or prepare to board barefoot. There is nothing worse than a scuffed boat deck, which anything aside from a white shoe sole will create. Keep the heels at home and stick with flats with good grip. 
  3. Listen to the captain, arguably the most important rule of them all. Your captain is responsible for your wellbeing, so be sure to do everything in your power to listen!
  4. Take your safety seriously. Respect their directions, as you may not see what the captain sees when it comes to rough waters ahead. It can be unneeded added stress if the party on board is not taking direction. If they ask you to sit tight, do just that! If a life jacket is suggested, wear it!
  5. Be friendly! Always wave at ongoing boats and boaters. You never know who your captain knows on the open water, so always be courteous. 
  6. Treat it like a party on land, would you show up to your friend’s empty handed? We sure hope not! Offer to bring a boat friendly snack – tea size sandwiches,  dry trail or snack mix, or canned beverages. Try to be cognizant of beverage color as boat owners spend hours upon hours keeping their prized possession clean of stains!
  7. Silence when docking! Docking can be wildly stressful for the captain and his helper(s), so be sure to sit still. Weight distribution and sudden movements are very important when docking a boat, so if you jump up to help you could accidentally create an unexpected jolt, bumping a dock. 
  8. Don’t take it personally, anything said while docking the boat or in a moment of crisis (passenger or property overboard) may create tension onboard. As with most marital disputes of your friends, we would advise you to stay out of it! 
  9. Dress appropriately, don’t rely on your host to pack an extra hoodie as they’re likely schlepping too much as is! Be sure to bring layers to avoid complaining of the temperature later. You’ll want to bring appropriate footwear should your host want to pop into a dockside bar or restaurant that requires shirts and shoes. 
  10. Offer to help clean up, they’ll likely say no but it can’t hurt to offer your assistance in cleaning off the boat or bringing wet towels and garbage off the boat. 

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