It’s Thursday evening. You just got off from work and you’re ready to go home and relax a bit. Maybe cook some food with Friends on in the background? Or even just take a power nap before going down to the gym? But before you can even think, your phone rings. It’s Jason—that guy you met at the networking event last week—and he’s having a boat day this Sunday. It’s been a while since you’ve set sail, and you may feel a little nervous. The last thing you’d want to do is turn off your new friends with poor boating etiquette. But don’t worry—here’s a little guide on do’s and don’ts while aboard.
DO: Always lift the ladder if you’re the last one getting onboard.
It’s one of those small things, but it shows you’re not a novice and that you care. When you’re the last off the boat, it’s common courtesy that you lift up the ladder that everyone used to climb onboard. This keeps the ladder from knocking against the boat while underway. The last thing you want is for your captain to question the group whether or not someone took care of it once you’re already moving. And the best part about this “do”: it’s easy! If you don’t know how to lift the ladder, just ask! Your captain will still be appreciative.
DO: Help clean up after docking for the day.
If someone is nice enough to invite you on their boat for the day, the least you can do is help them with cleaning it once the fun is over—or help them during the docking process. Sure, cleaning might not be the most thrilling part of a day out on the open sea, but if everybody on board chips in just a little bit, it can be over in a matter of minutes. The boat’s owner will greatly appreciate it, and you’re much more likely to secure a spot aboard the next time they head out for some deep-sea fishing, watersports, or other aquatic activities.
DO: Enjoy yourself.
After all, you’re on a boat! Going out for the day with loved ones and friends should always be a fun. No one likes that guy who ruins the vibe. Make sure to bring a positive, open attitude and let the waves take you where it feels natural. If you have a serious problem, there’s no shame. Always inform the captain or someone nearby and they’ll try to accommodate you as best they can.
DON'T: Wear inappropriate shoes.
Boat shoes, boat shoes, boat shoes. Did we say boat shoes? It’s a timeless style and it’s meant to be worn while out at sea. If you’re not a fan, try going for a nice pair of flip flops from Sperry or Reef. Don’t wear shoes that are clearly impractical and not meant for the occasion, like Air Jordans or platforms. If you want to get into the water, it’s too much of a hassle to put them back on while still damp. Wet socks? Gross. Wet shoes? Grosser. Also, these shoes track mud and dirt more easily, which can cause the boat—and your captain—to get salty. Better yet, just go barefoot!
DON'T: Litter; bring trash bags.
Keep our oceans blue! Ocean pollution is a huge problem these days, and it seriously endangers the ecosystems and wildlife in our waters both close and afar. If you’re trying to keep our sea turtles safe and your conscience clean, make sure to bring some bags on board that you can use to discard waste. Bags that can be tied up and sealed are best, so that you can prevent pieces of garbage from blowing away in the breeze. Beer cans and sandwich wrappers don’t belong in the sea, and keeping your trash together until returning to land is an easy way to be eco-friendly. After all, nobody likes a litter bug.
DON'T: Annoy your captain.
For the love of Poseidon, take a hint! If you keep lingering in front of the ship’s helm and your friend is shooting you daggers from behind the wheel, or you spill that entire bottle of rosé that another passenger brought as a boat warming gift, chances are you’re getting on their nerves. Driving the boat without too much distraction is important for the safety of everybody on board, so make sure whatever you’re doing, it’s not disruptive to the vessel’s captain—or to the others who are trying to keep the party going.
For more tips on how to become an experienced boater, read Boating Etiquette: Be Courteous on the Water.