Just as there is etiquette in the "real world" there are definitely unspoken rules and guidelines in the cruising world as well. Most people start off not knowing these things, but inevitably learn them along the way. Sometimes the hard way. I'll make it nice and easy for you! With no further ado, here are our
Top 10 Pieces of Cruising Etiquette:
Top 10 Pieces of Cruising Etiquette:
- Bungee halyards - There is nothing, nothing more annoying than a boat next to you at an anchorage with halyards that are banging and clanging all night long. It's annoying, it's rude and there is actually a VERY simple solution for it - JUST BUNGEE THEM!! Please.
- Long painter for dinghy line - some places have what are called "dinghy docks" for cruisers when they come ashore. Some are nice, some are not - almost all are too small. It is always a good practice to leave a LONG painter line (the line you tie to the dock) - 5 feet or more - so that other boats can fit in to tie up as well. Don't be a dock hog!
- BYOB...and C and D and E and F - Pretty much everyone cruising is on a budget of some sort. When someone invites you to their boat for cocktails, it's always a good idea to bring your own drink and glassware (unless told otherwise). Furthermore, we have always brought our own dishes and silverware if there's a "pot luck" (which, in case you didn't know, also implies that you should bring a dish to share). Nobody has that much spare liquor and/or food aboard and NOBODY (especially me!) wants to do that many dishes on a boat with a limited water supply!!
- Keep your outboard motor down - this goes with #2. I still cannot figure out why people bring their outboard motors up when they tie up to a dinghy dock? Either way, if you do - people will glare at you. Your motor propeller has now become a threat to all the dinghies around it and we have heard of many a dinghy being punctured and ruptured because of other people's props. Don't be one of those people! If there is enough water under your boat, keep that motor down!
- Party hard, but not loud - Scott and I came to an anchorage after a long twenty-four hour passage exhausted and tired. We made some dinner and headed to bed. As soon as we laid our heads down a techno club began on the charter boat next to us. I'm talking heart pumping Ibiza style techno (both of which we love, btw) BLASTING throughout the anchorage. Great if you are clubbing and sipping RedBull vodkas, not so great if you are trying to sleep. As if that wasn't bad enough, two particularly drunk people began screaming along to one of the songs whilst drunkenly dancing on the bow. Trust me, we like to party and we love karaoke - but try to keep it down after, say, 11:00pm.
- Anchor quietly - don't be that couple screaming at each other as you anchor. Every time I see and hear a husband and wife yelling at each other from their respective spots on the boat (usually the bow and the cockpit) it is so painful and I'm embarrassed for them. Figure out some hand signals or, if you must, get one of those weird headset things. And remember - SOUND CARRIES OVER WATER!
- Give room at an anchorage - some anchorages are jam-packed with boats and no matter what, you will end up anchoring so close you could pass the Grey Poupon. In the lucky circumstance where there are only a couple of boats, give room and privacy if at all possible.
- Be a nudist on your own time - sailing naked is great, sailing naked is fun. I am topless most of the time on the boat (tan lines? No thanks!) but only when we are far away from people and other boats. The last thing I want to see when I pull into an anchorage is the wrinkly derriere of my neighbor! Not to mention, many of the islanders are pretty modest and don't want to see your birthday suit either. If, however, you are built like Heidi Klum or David Beckham, then by all means take it off...
- Don't be a VHF hog - this drives us nuts. If someone is not answering you when you are calling them on the radio, do not keep calling every 2 minutes. We have heard one guy get on the radio and yell, "THEY ARE NOT THERE!" to one sorry perpetrator after about 15 attempts. Furthermore, channel 16 is a HAILING channel. Once you do get a hold of your party, switch to another channel to carry on your conversation about that great casserole you made last night.
- Leave a clean wake - the ocean is our home! Be green and keep it clean! It's as simple as that...
While I have not gotten where I am in life by "following rules" and fitting myself into what society expects of me - these ten tips will ensure you make a few more cruising friends.
What would you add to this list?
Brittany & Scott