3 boating etiquette tips any new boater should know

When you take on a new venture like boating, there are so many details to pay attention to. First, you need to know you know your boat, and not just how take it for a spin. You need to know how to maintain it, dock it, and keep your passengers safe, among many other details. While you can learn the ins and outs of your boat over time, understanding boating etiquette can be a little trickier. While the Florida boating community is pretty friendly, here are a few tips any new boater should know to keep the peace around the marina.

When in doubt, yield

The water is no place to take a stand. It’s too dangerous and the stakes are too high. If you’re ever in a situation where you’re unsure who has the right away, slow down and wave them through. Often times, you’ll see them do the same. In our opinion, this is the golden rule of boating, and one you should always follow.

Stop for stranded boaters

If you see a boat that seems stranded, it’s a good practice to stop and ask them what problem they are having. Unlike on the road, help isn’t as easily accessible on the water. Sometimes, a bit of mechanical help or gasoline is all they need.

Honk when you pass

While honking your horn on the road is often viewed as a sign of aggression or anger, honking on the water is actually required when you pass, either on the left of the right. If you’re passing on the starboard side, honk once, and if you’re moving around another boat on the port side, honk twice.

If you’re new to boating, you’ll get a “Boating Etiquette 101” rundown in a boating education course, which will cover most of the basics. However, learning the nuances of boating etiquette comes with years of experience. As a general rule, be polite, helpful, and most importantly, safe.