Sailing enthusiasts know that there is a code of conduct that all sailors must abide by to maintain order between sailboats and to exhibit stewardship of the world’s waterways. This is known as sailing etiquette. Just like on a golf course where participants modify their attitude and behavior to a standard, while sailing, skippers and crewmembers have an obligation to fulfill certain tasks and follow both written and unwritten rules. Etiquette while sailing includes the laws of the sea, but it is not limited to that. Proper etiquette equally involves courteousness and goodwill to fellow sailors and other boaters as well as a general standard of stewardship.
Sailing Made Enjoyable
Sailing is an enjoyable activity. Etiquette helps ensure that all participants enjoy sailing under the same conditions. There are many things to know when operating a sailboat, and the last thing any sailor wants to think about is inconsistent behavior from other boats.
- Cleanliness: As a general rule of sailing and largely a matter of common sense, sailors must never throw garbage overboard. Doing your part to keep the waterways clean preserves them for every current and future sailor.
- Mooring: It is proper to arrange for a mooring berth before you land in a port or a dock. Don’t simply pull up to the dock and moor your vessel. That is considered bad form. You can either call in advance or hail to someone on shore.
- Buoys: Government buoys and navigational aids can be found all over the world. They indicate safe channels for passage and identify hazards. It is against the law to tie your boat to one of these markers, not to mention highly inappropriate.
- Anchoring: When anchoring your vessel, do not do it in a heavily trafficked area. Stay well clear of other anchored boats and keep an eye out for special anchoring areas marked by buoys.
- Right of Way: Make sure you fully understand the right of way rules and follow them precisely. Steer clear of approaching boats so there is no confusion. Fishing boats, racing boats and large freight boats should be given a wide berth when in the same area.
- Boat Boarding: If you meet another sailor in a port or on the seas, always ask permission before boarding the vessel. The correct person to ask is either the owner or the skipper.
- Help: One of the most important rules of etiquette is always helping other boaters in distress. Don’t put yourself in danger, but it is your responsibility to aid another in need.
Abiding by sailing etiquette will help every sailor enjoy the experience. Good etiquette entails both rules and courteousness, and following it not only earns the respect of fellow sailors, but it helps maintain the standards by which all sailors measure themselves.