Similar to traffic on the road, any form of traffic on the water is bound to certain conventions, rules and norms. Some of the most obvious examples of marine etiquette are, always to greet other boats, not to throw garbage in the water and to be attentive at any other vessel that might cross your path.
While mooring at a marina or being docked in a harbor, it is wise to observe a certain “marina etiquette”. This helps avoiding disturbance for others and therefore makes the overall atmosphere during your stay as enjoyable as possible. Here are some of the things one has to take into account while being in or around a marina.
When you enter the harbor with your boat, it is always recommended to lower your speed. This will help to avoid accidents as well as disturbances in the form of waves.
Leaving objects on the docks might cause annoyance or even accidents for people or carts moving up and down the docks. Please avoid blocking the docks in any way possible.
Beware of the electricity cords and cables of your boat. You’d best assure that they are attached to the nearest electricity socket, and not a socket farther away. Electricity cables that hang across the docks can not only be annoying, but even dangerous. People can trip over them at a inattentive moment or in the dark. Plus, loose cables in combination with water increase the risk of short-circuits and even fires.
What counts for electricity cords, also counts for any other ropes or cords. Please arrange your boat’s ropes neatly and try to not to have them cross the walking path.
It is highly recommended to tie your boat correctly so the ropes are not in the way for other people, nor in risk of untying. If you do not know how to make the exact knots, ask a harbor employee or a fellow boater. Most people will be glad to help you out.
Try not to let the bow of your boat stick out over the pontoon. It might be hindering or even dangerous for passers by, and is moreover not a tidy sight.
When fueling your engine, it’s wise to pay attention not to leak any fuel in the water. Also, politeness is always appreciated, so don’t take too long fueling or loading and make way for the others who come after you.
Please be also aware to clean up any food or rubish from the cockpit and the dock not to attract unwanted dinner guests like rats or roaches.
One of the biggest annoyances while staying in a marina or harbor - and a huge mistake often made by inexperienced boaters - is someone trespassing on your boat uninvited. Please refrain from ever walking on other people’s boats other than your own, with the rare exception of having to tie your vessel to one that is already docked, because there is no other way. In such a case, please only walk on the bow part in order not to cause disturbance.
If there are other boats tied to yours without their own shore lines, double check your shore lines and be sure they are resistant against the waves and have enough slack for the moving tides.
Always mind your fellow boater. Please refrain from playing loud music or create disturbances in any other way. You are together at the marina with a many other guests, especially in the summer season. If you have ever stayed at a camping place, it might be good to realize that a recreational harbor in is fact a kind of luxury camping on the water. Of course this doesn’t mean that you cannot drink a glass of wine or play a game aboard, but just keep it civilized!