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Home Boaters Boating Etiquette

Etiquette ... good grief. Such a loaded word. We're not talking table manners here. Etiquette simply means a code of behavior that defines expectations within a group of people ... in this case boaters. And most boating etiquette has good reasons based on keeping everyone safe on the water. One jerk can ruin a perfectly good day on the water so let's keep it safe and fun for everyone.

If you are new to boating, try to learn what you can, observe and be courteous ... and ask questions. For oldtimers, realize that everyone has to start somewhere.

Boating Etiquette Courtesy on the Outer Banks

Treat Others With Respect

No wake means no wake, not just a smaller wake.

If you’re passing a kayak or sailboat or smaller boat or someone fishing from the bank, slow down. That includes you charter boat captains.

Don’t run your boat under people fishing from piers. You might just get a sinker in the head.

When you see someone catching fish in the sound or ocean, you'll want to get close to where they are but keep a respectful distance.

Don’t throw your trash in the water.

Hitting a sandbar will upset everyone in your boat. Be careful in the inlet.

When you are approaching an oncoming boat, stay to your right. Pretend you are on a two lane highway. You stay on your right and he stays on his right. If you have any doubt of the other boat's intentions, slow down.

Don't be a boat ramp hog.

If your friend offers to take you out on his boat, offer to pay for the fuel (or at least half of it).

If you are a passenger, do not touch any electronics, knobs, or handles without asking the captain.

If you are chartering a boat for a fishing trip, please see charter fishing basics for more information.

A boat is like your house. He who owns the boat makes the rules.