How Not To Be “That Guy” When Invited On a Friend’s Boat

Hey! You’ve been invited to go boating with your friends! Folks with boats know people will start coming out of the woodwork the moment they buy a boat and are usually more than happy to have some others along. But there are a few rules you need to follow in order to get invited back.  Keep in mind, boats aren’t cheap to buy or maintain. Also marine gas ain’t cheap either and someone will be cleaning up a house full of tracked in lake mud after your adventure. They’re spending time and money to take you out so don’t act like some D-bag at a frat party.

Here’s a couple of rules to ensure you’ll receive future invites. (Note: When I say guy, I mean guys and girls, I’m from Michigan it’s what we do.)

1) Food – Don’t be the guy that brings one bag of pretzel rods for a full day of boating. Eventually you will get hungry (especially after a few beverages) and when you do you will have to depend on the kindness of others to be fed properly. Mainly because they don’t want your drunk ass passing out due to lack of proper nutrition or falling off the boat. Consider bringing a sub sandwich, chopped fruit, veggies, chips or some other easy to transport food. Be gracious when someone does offer you their food and don’t just take for granted that the host/hostess is supposed to feed you unless this was specifically implied.

2) Drinks – Always bring twice what you can drink. Boating is a communal affair and you may have to share a couple beers. (Because there’s always the person who came completely empty handed or underestimated their ability to consume beverages on a hot day). Also don’t show up with just drinks, put them in a cooler and cover them with ice. Unless you’re bringing Fireball, we’ll make room in our cooler for that. And drink a water every now and again. Proper hydration will ensure that you don’t get too intoxicated and be “That Guy.”

3) Guests – Did you tell the captain you were bringing a friend/dog/child on their boat? Bringing tag-alongs without notice is a big no-no. Maybe that extra will overcrowd the boat, or pee on the carpet (I mean the dog not the friend) and some situations just aren’t kid friendly. Besides, now you are personally responsible for the care and feeding of your guest. You’re going to have to share your warm 6 pack and pretzel rods between 2 people now. Always check with your host/hostess before dragging along a sidekick. Yes, even you, beloved friend.

4) Smoking – Always ask before lighting up on someone’s boat. Once again these are expensive machines, and just because they’re open air doesn’t mean it’s ok. Owners always fear that someone will put a burn hole in the seat. Be considerate and ask first and NEVER throw your butts in the water.

5) Littering – Speaking of throwing things in the water. Absolutely nothing goes into the water that is not seaweed. Orange rinds, peanut shells, and such are no big deal but be mindful of your beer caps, cigarette butts, wrappers and cans. Litter is destructive and disgusting. In fact if you find a piece of trash in the water, pick it up and put it in a trash bin. Don’t be a piggy.

6) Be Prepared – Be sure you’ve brought all you need for fun in the sun. This includes sunscreen, sunglasses, chapstick, and a towel along with your food and drinks. Trust your friends when they say you need sunscreen or a water.

7) The Captain – OK here’s the deal: The captain is in charge of the boat. (The captain may not always be the one in the drivers seat) If he/she says it’s time to go, it’s time to go. If they ask you to move, sit down or shut up, do it. As fun and relaxing as boating is, it is the captains job to ensure the safety of all the people on their boat and they are liable for you. Also, the captain chooses the music or appoints a DJ, end of story.

8) Safety – If you feel a “Hold my beer and watch this” moment coming up, just say no. Do not push anyone out of a moving boat or jump out of a moving boat. Do not hang out by the motor of a running boat. Don’t try a double back flip off the platform. Don’t sit on the rails at high speeds. In other words don’t be dumb.

9) Passenger Etiquette – Respect the boat! Don’t step on seats, only hard surfaces if possible. Leave coolers on the floor. Don’t bring any glass on board.  Respect equipment including paddle boards and floats. Don’t play with any buttons or switches. Don’t try to start the boat while the captain is away. Don’t try to “help” unless the captain asks you to. A friend also mentioned that you should use spray sunscreen BEFORE getting on the boat. Sunscreen spray makes seats sticky and hard to clean. The lotion kind is better for your skin and the environment anyway.

10) Don’t be late – Nothing is more tiresome than sitting with a boat full of people waiting on that one person who didn’t plan ahead. We could be out having fun, but no we’re still at the dock because you just texted “On My Way!” from inside the beer store. Have some respect for your friends and get there when you are supposed to.

11) Disembarking – Don’t stand up until the boat is fully secure. Make sure you grab everything you brought with you on the boat. Make sure all trash has been cleared and put it in a proper place at the house. Ask for help if you need it. And ask the Captain if they need help wiping down the boat!

Oh and if you get invited out regularly, offer to chip in for gas. A gas station gift card is the easy way to make this happen. That’s it for now friends! Please let me know if you think of something else I can add!


(Update: Geez Louise on toast! Thanks everyone for sharing, this has been amazing! P.S. Y’all are a riot and I spend most of my time on pontoons and ski boats in lovely Orlando, FL)

(Update 2: Just a reminder that this content is copyrighted and cutting and pasting it to your forum or page without credit is not cool, please use the share buttons, thanks. )

358 Replies to “How Not To Be “That Guy” When Invited On a Friend’s Boat”

      1. Actually Don, if u have a yacht, ….pooping is just a part of the enjoyment. If there is is a green filter on your yacht, it’s all recycled.
        Pickwick MS.

      2. I dont understand the no pooping on a boat. That is what a toilet/porta potty is for. I agree if u are close to a public bathroom by all means use it but if i am out having a good time i am not gonna go in and try to find a place to tie up so someone can go shit somewhere . Everything else that was said i couldnt agree more . Have had alot of “that guy” on my boats over the years. U did however forget 1 very important thing. NEVER depants the captain when he is trying to get back in the boat and u are standing behind him waiting to use the ladder. Everyone knows what cold water does to a mans junk .

        1. Get all your shitting done in the morning. If you have the shits, don’t go on the boat. No shitting in the water either. Nothing ruins a nice buzz than a turd floating by you while your in the water.

        2. It’s there for EMERGENCIES and women to pee. So yeah, try not to shit on a boat (plus, unless you’re going to a rafting, you should be able to hold it until you get to a destination.

        3. Todd, it depends on the boat. Most standard heads are not set up for solids of any kind. It stops everything up. We’ve had women flush tampons. Someone has to remove those things that won’t pass through a line 1/2 the size of a standard straw.

      3. If your a guy and its wakey… pee outside or sit down and pee….guys pee all over the bathroom on stable land… drunk and on a boat it goes everyqhere

      4. Exactly I was reading this and thought that this is the perfect article for a smaller boat or center counsel. Some of it does apply to the big boats but I would add a few more. One rule I have on my boat is take your shoes off before going below. And my golden rule is no pooping on my boat unless it’s an emergency and we’re not at the dock. It amazes me how many people will come on your boat and ask to use the head when were docked at the marina still. Marinas usually have bathrooms and people don’t realize that someone has to empty out the septic tank.

    1. No barefoot people on my boat. Everybody wears and swims in there sandals. I would never walk our river bottoms barefoot.

          1. Mr. Clean magic erasers work by abrasion. They clean by sanding off the mark/stain/ whatever! They will destroy gelcoat!

        1. Inadvertently stepping on someone’s carelessly placed fishhook while barefoot is never a pleasant experience, especially while they’re retrieving it across the deck without announcing the fact. Been there, Done that. I’m lucky I still have that toe.

        2. Try using a tennis ball for scuff marks works amazing on school floors. Gym floors etc..

      1. Funny, ocean boating we lieave our shoes on the dock in put away as soon as we get on the boat. Barefoot. I Don’t know why, but that is the way it is.

          1. I’ve been racing sailboats for over 40 years, mostly Great Lakes but also Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS wear rubber/soft sole shoes, preferably white. Bare feet have absolutely NO traction on a wet deck at a 25-35° heel. And as captain or experienced crew, I really don’t want to screw up a relaxing day by having to fish your stubborn ass out of the drink because didn’t have proper shoes or just didn’t want to wear them or stay in the cockpit.

      2. i feel opposite about that. water shoes off on the deck. they track too much mud even in out sandy bottom lake st. clair.

    2. This is a wonderful article and I love the responses!!! I learned all of this growing up on a boat from the time I was a foot high. The rules and etiquette have not changed. Keep the traditions and laws of boating going. Some just have no experience — called ignorance of boating. We must educate the un or non-educated. Keep on keeping on!!!

      1. Not everyone has the pleasure of being spoiled with boating,once again it’s not ignorant if you have never been taught,if you have no idea of the rules you shouldn’t be considered ignorant, it would be better if you were well informed first,most people fail at their first attempt doing anything

        1. Jason, I cannot help but respond. The term ignorant has a definition that is untaught, or is not educated. So when some one is called ignorant they have no knowledge of the information being presented. So being called ignorant is not a bad thing to be called. It is merely a word that explains the person has no information on the subject. It’s not like calling some one a dumb ass.

          1. Speaking of ignorance, Todd………someone is one word, not two. However, I am guessing that the problem here is lack of education or failure to pay attention to education that is offered instead of ignorance.

          2. This is so funny. Tod, Tod, Tod. You are making yourself appear increasingly, what word to use politely here? Oh, I got it! Ignorant. By that I mean , ininformrd!

        2. Actually it is ignorance if you do not know because you have not been taught. It’s stupidity if you have been taught but you proceed doing it wrong regardless.

        3. Actually, Jason, if you have no idea of the rules, by definition you are ignorant. Ignorant – lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular.

        4. Ignorance: simply means, you don’t know.
          There is no one who knows everything. Thus we all are ignorant to some degree. There is no shame in being ignorant, or, admitting it. There is a first time, for each of us to experience a particular experience, and not having done so before, We are often ignorant and unprepared.

          Stupid: Means unable to learn. Such as a person with limited brain function or retardation.

          Dumb: Means, unable to speak. Mute. As in deaf & dumb.

    3. Number 1 Rule!!! If your invited on the boat Please wait to get tipsy/ buzzed before Arrival!! There is plenty of time to get your buzz on at the Sandbar

    4. How about if your a guest on the boat all day and contribute to garbage and a mess, YOU HELP CLEAN IT UP AT THE END OF THE DAY! We don’t expect money or gift cards from our friends, but I do expect them to clean up after themselves! Not just wave goodbye and leave after we’re done for the day. Grrrr.

    5. If you do not allow beer or liquor on your boat let people know before they come that it is not welcome. I hate putting up with the over drinkers, when I want a family outing.

    1. Absolutely! We would get so aggravated when people would just jump off the boat and say, “Thanks! See you later!” These are the same people that never buy your lunch, buy you a drink, or offer to help with gas.

      1. i agree they leave as the last line is tied head into the cottage and leave you there to clean up by yourself then one will come out and say what are you doing we have had lunch are you coming to eat then disappear again before you can say i am cleaning up you mess

      2. Boat etiquette is learned. Cleaning up the boat afterwards is also part of the adventure. Always ask the captain what you can do to help. Buy gas? Bring drinks & food? Extra towels & Sunscreen? If the boat owner has 2 hours of work to do once the boat is docked, cleaning fish, wiping down the boat, emptying compartments, and doing general make ready for the next time out, then don’t leave him to do it by himself. He will appreciate you help and also realize he can depend on you the next time to help, which assures you of another invitation to go out.

  1. Never use sunscreen with bronzers in them, bronzer stains white seats. Also along the lines of staining seats don’t bring any red drinks, going with beer or clear(ish) mixed drinks, or white wine is the way to go.

    Don’t wear shoes on to the boat. It’s just the rule. Take off your shoes and put them in your bag before you get on the boat.

    1. I”ve just read above your comment another boater saying “wear shoes” – we were on a boat and it had a no barefoot rule. So it’s completely at the discretion of each boat owner.

      1. Agreed. Different kinds of boats = different kinds of boating. If you’re sailing or fishing, I think shoes are approproate if not necessary. We own a ski boat that we wake surf and wakeboard behind. No shoes. Take them off before you step off the dock and put them in the shoe compartment. I’ve been on boats where shoes are strewn everywhere and its a mess. a 21’ ski boat does not have a whole lot of floor space, so everything has its place.

    2. We recently bought a used houseboat and I spilled a few drops of red wine on the fiberglass deck. I wiped immediately and it still left a pinkish stain that we may or may not be able to remove. So the clear beverage tip is right on! Bad enough to do that to your own boat, but I’d be horrified if I’d done it to someone else’s, and pretty irritated if a guest had done it on ours instead of me!

        1. The wine will come out, had the fiberglass not been neglected and had a coat of wax on it the wine would have ran off but it temporarily soaked in the fiberglass, will eventually disappear.

        1. Moronic? Not “sealed” right? I think the moron rule applies to you, ultimate Captain. Most likely, the gelcoat was a little oxidized and a coat of wax will fix the problem. How many times a year do you wax your tub, cap’n?

          1. No captain should be responsible for you’re stupidity or ego! Live by proper etiquette & the captain’s rules! It’s just that simple & expected!

      1. One guy not mentioned. The clock watcher. The guy with the short attention span that gets bored after a hour or two. He starts asking when are you thinking we will be heading back to the dock. Or the guy that after your boat full of guests finally arrives at its destination and then that guy announces that they have another obligation later in the day and need to be back to the dock at a specific time. The golden rule on my boat is: If you have anywhere else that you need to be for the rest of the day Do Not Get on My Boat. No clock watchers period.

        One comment about footwear. I have had issues with guests stubbing their toes on deck so we all wear closed toe footwear on deck for better traction as well as toe protection. In the cockpit or cabin barefoot or whatever makes you feel best. I sail as well as powerboat. Lots of obstacles on the sailboat decks.

        1. Love this! Every time I get the boat secure at the sandbar, THEN some one wants to tell me they have to pick up their kids or be at a dinner in like 2hrs! WTF????? Don’t come on my boat and tell me what is gonna happen on a Saturday! If you have other plans, Simply say you CAN NOT make it out that day! Don’t ruin the Saturday for EVERYONE else on the boat!

        2. This! Seriously. Boating is an all freaking day affair. I don’t mind picking you up at the dock, or even dropping you back off, but let me know that before we go out. And I can’t stand when everyone wants to show up at different times. Nope, this vessels rides at 11 and returns at sunset.

          Getting a boat water ready for us is no small measure Taking off the cover, loading, coolers, food, drinks, securing everything, hitching and hauling it. It’s an effort and so is take out. So don’t expect me to pick you up at a dock, run 20 mins to a cove then turn around 30 mins and take you back. Ain’t gonna happen.

          Footwear, it’s a preference. I prefer when I’m floating in the water to have sandals on, because I don’t want to encounter anything wet and icky with my toes. If I walk around on shore, I kick them off before stepping up on the boat.

      2. Get a vat of hydrogen peroxide and leave on the boat for red wine stains!!!! Amazing. Speaking from ALOT of experience with red wine spills.

    3. Here are a few more rules:
      1-Don’t bring a bunch of crap/stuff! Not unless you’re going on a 100+ foot yacht (still don’t do it!), space/storage is always limited on boats!! Ladies, don’t bring a big ass purse, just bring a water resistant bag with minimal stuff (ID, money/credit card, brush, sunscreen, chap stick/lip gloss,) what clothes you may need (it gets cold on the water quickly when the sun goes down, so a sweatshirt is always a good idea if it’s not super hot)! A dry swim suit or underwear at the end of the day are a good idea! Ladies, a cold wet bikini top and bottoms aren’t fun when it gets cold.

      1.5- The Capt. is not your mother! Bring food that is easy and will not be messy in the boat. Do as much “prep” as you can with the food before you come. Zip lock bags take up less space then big containers. You may want to double bag your food so it doesn’t get wet in the cooler!

      2-Wear deck shoes or flip flops; no wedges or heals. (Seriously, I have seen this and it’s not sexy when you fall on your ass!) Ask your Capt. if they would like you to remove your shoes.

      3- No “F-ing merlot” on my clean white boat!! Red wine, a small boat, and choppy water are not a good combo!! If you must have your melot get a Tervis Tumbler, a Sippy Cup or something similar. (My fabulous friend, Lesley, got these knock-off Tervis type wine glass/cups at the Dollar Store!)

      4-Don’t get in the boat with sand on your feet! It makes a mess on the boat and will get blown into everybody’s eyes when we get up to speed!

      5- Ask what you can do to help or should not do! Let the Capt. know that he/she is not “Driving Miss Daisy” around on the water for the day!! Also, your Capt. doesn’t want to play shuttle service. Ask what their schedule is and if it doesn’t work for you, don’t expect them to make numerous trips back and forth to the dock/marina!

      6- Ladies (and Gentlemen) know that when you are in a small boat and you have to go #1…..and you don’t want to go for a “swim” you are going to have to be able to “check the prop!” (That means climbing down the lower unit of the boat to “check things out!”) If you can’t get your ass up and down the motor, you may want to re-consider going out when there is no “head” on the boat!

      7- Remember that “THANKS DOESN’T PAY FOR GAS!” Especially, if someone is pulling you water skiing or your kids on a tube all afternoon long!! If you don’t offer gas money, a bottle of their favorite booze/beverage/ or extra beer is always a nice gesture! Remember, your Capt. is out to have a good time too, just not entertain you. In most parts of the country, boating season only lasts about 4 months. Ppeople that love boating savor every minute of summer; this is what they live for! So……follow these rules and you will become a favorite “Boatin’ Buddy!”

      1. Another rule everyone is forgetting… If it isn’t your boat stay out of the bedrooms!! I’ve seen people get tased before lol

      2. It’s also courteous to offer to help with the “after used maintenance and general upkeep” of the vessel, such as removing trash, hosing vessel off, wiping down the interior , and any other help the owner/captain can suggest. Remember while you were relaxing, the captain responsibility was not only your entertainment but also and most important, your safety.

  2. Shoes off is another, and believe it or not women still flush tampons. Last week myself and my Captain told everyone that only marine toilet paper can be flushed, only later to find a foil and plastic pill holder had been flushed down the head. It’s astounding to me what seemingly intelligent people do.

    1. Yes it is and very expense to repair we have had 2 replace 2 from women’s stupid acts. Especially when there is a sign on the door and you tell them be fore you get going. Bear feet only that means you’

    2. We flush nothing but liquid!! Barefeet or shoes ur preference my worst pet peeve is the clock watcher on a beautiful Saturday afternoon!!

      1. Can I ask where you’re from? I want to make an idiotic comment based on ridiculous stereotypes and isolated incidents too!!!!

      2. Florida has more boating accidents because (1) it’s a huge state with almost 1000 miles of coastline and (2) there are more people on boats all year long. In a state like, say, Michigan, how many days are warm enough to go out boating? Maybe 5 a year?

        1. Have you ever been to Michigan Kathy? I’ll take their GREAT LAKES over Floridas drunkin’ pissed filled BS anyday???

        2. 5 days a year? Lol. What a dumb statement. Yes, the “Great Lakes” state, the “Sportsman’s Paradise”, the State with the 9th most coastline in America, the one with a boat in every 3rd driveway, the one surrounded by 1/5 of the entire planet’s fresh water supply…….

          5 boating days a year. The other 360, the silly boaters are either watching hockey, ice skating, or hunting moose…… It’s pretty much like… Alaskanada up there, eh?

          1. I think the oppressive heat has shrunk the Florida ladies brain. We enjoyed our boat from March through November last year. And no hurricanes or sharks or nasty salt water.

          2. I have a cottage in northern Ontario. Boating is HUGE in the northern states and Canada. People driving boats in Florida are truly morons. I often wondered if they were tourists. But someone said, where the hell do they get the boats. They’re Floridian!

        3. 5 days a year, what a joke! You people who live south of Ohio have no clue how nice it is in Michigan from May to October. Can boat every day. Would way rather have the most enjoyable time of the year be in the summer than living in hell-like temperatures and humidity like Floridians 8 months a year (I have several family members down south and will not travel there in the summer…..ugh). Yup stay with the ungodly heat and humidity, alligators, hurricanes, salt water and drunk tourists; you can’t really do anything in Michigan in the summers LOL. And Louisiana is the sportsman paradise? I will take ANY fish out of a natural spring fed stream or Great Lake, a corn, fruit tree fed deer or buck (over 100lbs lol), pheasant, grouse, and partridge from Michigan any day over your Nutria, gator, possum, shrimp (if there are any left) stew, jumbalaya, porridge or whatever you call it. By the way, how’s the heat from March til November lol? Love hunting and fishing while sweating your ass off right?

          1. I met you through Nickie and I came from Louisiana and yes I like Cajun food and don’t eat possum. But I’ve had my boat in Michigan fishing bass tournaments and enjoy the ride on Lake Erie. I like my bass boat Nicole $65,000 and enjoy riding with a large boats out there but I feel that I am no different than other people that own boat including aluminum boat so like they say in the south fish what you bring with you. You have a great day and no smoking on my boat and no attitudes. Have fun

          2. I was born and raised in Florida. I’ve lived here for 73 years (except for the 6 years we lived aboard our boat and cruised) and I am here to tell you that everything you said above is TRUE. The heat and humidity gets worse every year. As to the tourists, we have a saying, “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity”.

      3. Yep. Having a drink or too one the boat is part if the day. As long as your not diving. If you get drunk while out you better be on a charter.

        No shoes. No pooping in the head unless you under 6yearsold. If you didn’t bring it and it wasn’t offered to you don’t drink it or eat it. Nothing worse than someone eating my 4/5 yearolds favorite snack that he only gets when out on the boat. Grumpy kid= grumpy mommy = your never going to get another invite. nothing orange. No cheetoes or jacks. Sit your ass down and stay there. Fish and lobsters go on the floor or in the designated fish cooler. Put it in with my food and drinks and you will NEVER get another invite. No more space in the fish cooler.? Time to go home. That’s my seat. Always! If your sitting it it expect to move. My boat my rules.

          1. Lol, agreed, keep your 4 year old brat, and endless rules. Your not the only one with a boat. I’d rather NOT get an invite. Sounds like a bitch.

        1. Haha! I also have the nothing orange rule in the beach house! If you bring cheese balls… You have to eat them on the beach!

        2. I love the last comment, Esther. It astounds me that people come to our house, our boat, etc. and leave nowhere for the host to sit! The captain has a seat and mine is next to that, unless I insist you sit there. (one couple on the boat, so we girls chat while the guys drool over boat stuff 🙂 ) Happy boating Everyone!!

        3. I’m kinda like Esther and not sure about her but I don’t care if they come back I’m making the payments. My boat my rules. Don’t drink ALL my alochol then lie about it. At least be woman enough to say I did I’m sorry. No more invites for that person

      4. 100 Ton,

        There are more boat registrations in Florida, than in any other state. Then it is always boating season. So do the math; More boats + more sorties + longest season = more mishaps.

        And trust me, I used to make a living out to pulling mariner creds.

    1. With all due respect, I’m going to kindly disagree with you on that one. I’m from Florida, born and raised, and boating and drinking DO mix, as long as both are done responsibly. Everyone has accidents. Something could happen while standing in your kitchen, does that mean drinking and cooking don’t mix? Or drinking and camping just because one person doesn’t know how to discard of something in the woods properly? Every group has “that friend” that does something stupid, whether it be on board or on shore.

      1. AS long as you drink responsibly and you’re not the driver, drinking is ok. Really though, comparing drinking on a boat to drinking while cooking. You aren’t putting other peoples lives in danger in your own kitchen, but driving a boat…..What an idiot!!!!

        1. In Tennessee it is illegal to boat and drink you will get a DUI if you are caught drinking and driving a boat on the lake.
          Just letting you know. It is as serious as driving your car. When intoxicated, if you upend your boat with passengers and you are intoxicated you may not be able to have the ability to save yourself or any of your passengers. 🙁 That is why they made the rule)

    2. i was thinking the same thing we can not drink on boats in ontario water pop and fruit juice and definatly no glass

    3. Finally! Someone with sense… someone who can actually survive for a few hours without drinking. Thanks of this note of wisdom.

  3. Never bring colored snacks such as cheeto’s, cheese balls, flaming anything or doritos without consulting the captain. On my boat, I suggest funyons, pretzels, beef jerky…. anything that does not have color. The same can be said about drinks: no red, orange or grape anything. This is especially important if children will be on board!

    1. I say this is very specific to your boat and I’d highly recommend sending that in an e-mail to people who plan to go on your boat. It helps them know the parameters and when they want to be generous too by providing some food for the trip they aren’t going to feel bad if they brought something colored…..but I’ve been on boats where none of these rules applied.

    2. I say take your boat and shove it up your ass! I’ll eat my Cheetos and drink my dark lager while lounging in my in-ground pool!

    3. OMG yes, the crazy color snacks, getting mashed into our pontoon rug. What a mess! this is a GREAT point.

  4. I like my guests to check with me before dragging extra stuff on the boat. If I already have it on my boat, I prefer not to take up anymore space or more stuff laying around. We have a cabin cruiser, so deodorant, shampoo, cups, straws, pretty much everything is already on our boat. Nice to bring ice, it’s kind of like bringing a bottle of wine to dinner, an extra bag of ice is great, try to bring a small cooler if your bringing one, or share a cooler, nothing like having 10 coolers on your boat, leaves no room for people, we try to organize that. Communication is Key…..

    1. Another Captain says they prefer their guests to be self sufficient! So it’s really pending on you and your particular boat rules.

  5. Liquids should be in bottles, no cans. Cans tip over to easy.

    In most states boat owners cannot by law ask or even suggest that guests to help with expenses. If you want to help, swipe your card at the pump or leave cash on the dash, just don’t talk about it.

      1. It is a Coast Guard regulation.
        It states that, if you ask a guest to bring a beverage, or food item, or pay for gas to go out on your boat, the trip for that day is considered a Charter.
        It is the stipulation that they bring or pay for something in exchange or privilege of going out on your private vessel.
        Then, if you are not a licensed Captain, the Coast Guard can levy a fine.
        Follow the link below for more information.

        1. That is Federal Law. All 50 States. Take a Safe Boating Course from the US Coast Guard AUXILIARY. Learn the law. ANY remuneration. Buying dinner, booze, gas, anything of value makes it a charter. Usually not a problem until the guest gets hurt and hires a lawyer. Then, kiss your boat and a bunch of money goodbye.

          1. As a USCG 100 Ton Master’s License holder and 30+ year boater, I can say that this law is 100% accurate. I find it amusing that those who either don’t care about or know the law, comment about this stuff.
            Enjoy your time out on the water this summer folks, I’ll be happy to do it year round! Stay safe out there, and please, all non boating guests… Just listen tho the Captain/boat owner, everyone will be much happier at the end of the day.

      2. that only applies to boaters assisting boaters in distress. you cant offer to help someone in distress then refuse to assist them if they cant pay. I myself have assisted many boaters in distress to the point that many boaters in my marina call me ” Rescue Gator” and never go out without making sure they have my cell number with them.Capt Bill

    1. thats just insane and ludacris. who on earth would turn you in for asking to help chip in for expenses ?! thats the stupidist thing I ever heard and I dont for one second believe it.

      1. I think BM’s concern is that by contributing or chipping in $$, a “guest” transforms into a “passenger for hire,” so that the captain needs an actual license (OUPV or Master’s) instead of just a Boating Safety Card (or, in some states, nothing at all) to operate the vessel. The concern is not so far-fetched. One way to avoid this result is to make sure any contributions are truly voluntary — i.e., not required in order to come aboard.

        One other tip, which seems kind of obvious — don’t take the wheel or turn off the auto-pilot unless asked to do so!

        And, be sure to join in the group fun — don’t make the day an endless series of selfies for your own self-glorification.

        1. I learned not to expect people to help pay for gas. After enough times receiving no offer, I decided to take control of the situation by determining I would be out there anyway so I would be paying anyway, with the little exta weight/gas or not. “No, put your money away, nobody pays for gas on my boat”!! WHAT A GUY!!!!

          Regarding the law, does that mean that if I ask you to fill one of the tanks of gas it takes for us to travel several states away to see friends, I am now considered a taxi???

          1. Maritime law is different. I cannot believe so many Boater’s posting here do not know Federal boating laws. Voluntary or not, receiving remuneration of ANY kind makes any vessel a charter. Period.

          2. Accepting renumeration for expenses no longer seems to be an issue… Text copied from a thread on the Hull Truth:

            Here’s the specifics and has to do with “consideration” and the last sentence is key:

            SEC. 506. PASSENGER FOR HIRE.

            Section 2101 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting between paragraphs (21) and (22) a new paragraph (21a) to read as follows:

            “(21a) ‘passenger for hire’ means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vessel.”.

            DESCRIPTION – The determination of what constitutes the carriage of a “passenger for hire” must be made on a case by case basis. This determination is dependent upon the actual operation of a vessel and the flow of consideration as determined by the facts of each case. In general, there needs to be some form of tangible consideration or promise of performance being passed for a “passenger for hire” situation to exist.

            SEC. 507. CONSIDERATION.

            Section 2101 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting between paragraphs (5) and (6) a new paragraph (5a) to read as follows:

            “(5a) ‘consideration’ means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.”. Additionally, employees or business clients that have not contributed for their carriage, and are carried for morale or entertainment purposes is not included as exchange of consideration.

            Bottom line: if you are a recreational boater you are allowed to share expenses for a day on the water. Just don’t make payment mandatory if someone wants a boat ride.

        2. 1) It’s the truth! LEGALY and technically, ANYONE offering or providing a boat owner with ANYTHING ($, food, beer, gas, etc…) is now considered a PAYING PASSENGER on that vessel. That being said, the operator of that vessel (no matter how big or small the boat is) MUST THEN BE A LICENSED CAPTAIN! PERIOD!!!!

          2) What kind of idiot boat owner or Captain allows ANY glass containers on his/her boat?

          3) Shoes… Shoes on my boat are optional. BUT, if you stub your toes or otherwise hurt your feet due to not wearing PROPER FOOTWARE (and I decide what proper is; it’s my boat) don’t expect me to take you back to the dock and ruin my good time! You will then either sit down and shut up, or swim back!



        3. Oh I let people take all the selfies they want. Consider it a compliment, they are having a great time and want to send the photos to their friends.

      2. What happens when you get pulled over/boarded, thet Officers separate the group and question each individual. They will ask questions like:
        •Did the Captain/Owner ask you to buy or pay for gas?
        • Did the Captain/ Owner ask you to bring the drinks?
        • Did the Captain/Owner ask you to bring the lunch or snacks?
        •Did the Captain/Owner you to bring the bait?
        •Or pay foe any of the things mentioned?
        If they answer yes, then it is considered conditional to go on the boat. Which makes it a charter.
        See the link:

        1. No drinking on my boat except for a beer or two on the way back to the dock at the end of the day. I have had three serious incidents that nearly cost the drinkers their lives. There is nothing like dealing with sloppy, puking, smart ass drunk all day long. It’s my boat and I make the rules.

      3. j g,

        That would be “ludicrous” unless, of course, you are referring to the hip-hop artist. Just saying. I do agree with you, however.

        1. >>>>>>>>>>>thats just insane and ludacris. who on earth would turn you in for asking to help chip in for expenses ?! thats the stupidist thing I ever heard and I dont for one second believe it.

          >>>>>>>>It’s for real, and it is the law,,

          No, its not. It USED to be the law but isn’t anymore. No time to search but if you look up there ^ somewhere in the comments the links to the legal findings are posted.

    2. Bottles, are you nuts! No glass allowed, no exceptions. Well I have one friend who only drinks bottled beer and we let him bring them because he always uses one of those wet suit coozy wraps and very responsible.
      We transfer everything in glass to plastic before it goes on the boat. All drinking containers are plastic. We use only Tervis but we like nice plastic. And, if you bring beer in cans, which is great, and you see the other guys smashing their cans before putting in the, (never big enough), recycling container you should do that too.

    3. What ? Bwahaha. ..the law ? ..if u come on my boat – you WILL help pay for gas and bring your own food and drinks …it’s not against the law to let invited guests know they will be chipping in for expenses- where do people come up with this stuff ? My boat – my rules …there are no laws saying I can’t ask people to share expenses on my own property if u were invited

      1. Yeah. Until one of your passengers gets hurt on your boat and informs their insurance company that they were required to “chip in” for gas. Your boat, your rules? Have fun with the lawsuit. Get your six-pack if you want to charge people.

      2. Mike, check the laws of the USCG, you could be legally raped if something were to happen to anyone on your boat that you made pay for anything, not just fuel. Drinks, food, customs etc… It’s all very fine print and is rarely enforced, but still a possibility. Just saying…

      3. Mike, just because you don’t like a law doesn’t mean it isn’t a law. And, “that guy” is the one who will hang you with it.

      4. Mike, just because you don’t like a law doesn’t mean it isn’t a law. And, “that guy” is the one who will hang you with it.

        Take the “Suddenly in Command” course from the USCG AUXILIARY. It is designed for guests.

    4. Are you crazy? Lets see broken glass on a boat with bare feet. or a tipped can, I would prefer to clean up a sticky mess then glass splinters. I hope you don’t make people take their shoes off on your boat. Anymore boats have cup holders. Not enough cup holders, I went to the automotive section and purchased a couple of plastic cup holders like you would wedge into a bench seat and they work great.

    5. Barry,

      I respectfully disagree on the cans versus bottles. If you show up with Bottles on my boat plan on leaving them on shore and going thirsty. No bottles ever allowed because you can’t get glass slivers off the deck if they break and we are generally barefoot. Only time we wear shoes is fishing offshore so you don’t catch a hook in your foot. Ryan in NC

      1. I think the confusion here is the word bottle. The OP of the statement probably meant plastic bottles that have screw on lids so when they tip over they don’t spill.

    6. I was kinda wondering if this was going to come up. Its a federal law that applies to any Federal water. I know in my area USCG dont partol at all, Its left up to local agencys and Ive never heard of anybody getting nailed. However if it ever came up there better be a licensed captian on that boat or your a** is grass.


      Section 2101 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting between paragraphs (21) and (22) a new paragraph (21a) to read as follows:

      “(21a) ‘passenger for hire’ means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vessel..”

      DESCRIPTION – The determination of what constitutes the carriage of a “passenger for hire” must be made on a case by case basis. This determination is dependent upon the actual operation of a vessel and the flow of consideration as determined by the facts of each case. In general, there needs to be some form of tangible consideration or promise of performance being passed for a “passenger for hire” situation to exist.


      Section 2101 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting between paragraphs (5) and (6) a new paragraph (5a) to read as follows:

      “(5a) ‘consideration’ means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.” Additionally, employees or business clients that have not contributed for their carriage, and are carried for morale or entertainment purposes, are not considered as an exchange of consideration.

      Bottom line: if you are a recreational boater, you are allowed to share expenses for a day on the water. Just don’t make payment mandatory if someone wants a boat ride.

    8. In the UK it’s known as Hire & Reward to pay for anything, So you need to contribute very quietly or the liability insurance is void.

  6. At the end of the day after he loads the boat, ask the captain if there is something you can do to help, as toweling down the boat prevents water spots. This goes fast and easy before it dries and its a shows gratitude for him inviting you. Respecting his equipment and a helpful mate are much more likely to be invited again. PS if your wife likes to tan topless could greatly increase your invite chances.

  7. Don’t even poop in toilet. Do that before you come out and don’t even put toilet paper in there. Its not your common house hold toilet. Pee only! And if it starts to overflow don’t use it…and tell the captain so he can block it out of order.

  8. If you, the passenger, need to be back at the dock at a certain time then mention it to the captain before leaving. You may find yourself stuck or bumming a ride back. When you get on someone else’s boat, remember that you are on their schedule not your own. Its expensive to turn around and its a real party foul to boot.

    1. Barry, I know what you are getting at but it is not against the law to share expenses….as long as you aren’t profiting from the transaction.

      1. Sorry Chief, the above comment was for another post. And I FULLY agree with your comment. As a boat owner, I try to make sure everyone on my boat knows the schedule. And usually that schedule is to be wide open all day. Nothing worse than having a passenger that is time constrained!!!

    2. That’s right i have been boating for over 30 years and i tell people, if you have to be back at any certain time, then do not come with me! anything can happen on the water, expect the unexpected always! be prepared always, and don’t be late you will be looking at ropes!

  9. No red wine without sippy cups. Wine glasses do not work in a moving vessel! Also: don’t be cheap. If you stop at an establishment, offer to buy the captain, and his family there meal. He has enough invested already.

    1. You need your friends to help pay for your investment? I invite friends over to my home all the time and NEVER would expect them to bring food, booze, cleanup or help fund my mortgage. Why invite someone on your boat with the expectation that they pay your bills? That is just tacky.

  10. No red wine and you have to be back in an hour! You have been essentially taken hostage, they also left out the biggest pain of them all….. The over packer

  11. Honestly, everyone does it a bit different based on preference. I could list all of my personal preferences, as everyone else has, and contribute to the mass of contradictory advice but that honestly will not help people reading these comments from being “that guy”. The article does a good job with the basics.
    Communication is the key. Captain and 1st Mate should know by now to mention all their quirks before the invited person is on the boat. Guest is responsible for asking any questions they might have which may not have been addresses by the crew.

    Also, I will say this: Sit down. You are in my way, always.

  12. Great Article, I’m going to start sending this to people before having them out :p
    One important thing to add if you dont want your captain spending hours and hours polishing gelcoat with a buffing wheel: NO BRONZER SUNSCREEN!

  13. Excellent article!!!! I do like that you put fuel as a side note. The sole purpose of owning a pleasure boat is for a place for friends and family to gather. I do not want them to feel like they have to incur expense to come out with me. It is my pleasure to have them aboard. But your basic rules here hit the mark. Well done. The one major thing I think you missed(and someone else mentioned), is itinerary. As captain, I usually discuss it with each person before they come aboard. But people need to know that the schedule is up to the captain. If he wants to stay out and watch the sunset, then that is what you are doing. I guess the bottom line here is if you have time constraints, let the captain know. And in my case, usually you aren’t coming along if you do. Or we may arrange a drop off point that is not the same place we started.

  14. Hey everyone it’s Vikki, thanks so much for showing the love. The post has gone viral and I’m trying my best to keep up.

  15. This is an Excellent Article and it hits Most if not all of the Boat Captain’s Issues. The Fact that the Captain is Responsible is the Most important issue. Any Boat Captain worth a Damn is Preoccupied the entire Voyage. Everyone’s Safety is Very Important and so is Taking Care of the Boat. The Itinerary is Something I as the Captain am willing to discuss with everyone on the Boat and the Majority Rules. Boating is Fun as long as everyone follows the rules. Happy Boating Everyone.

  16. As the guest, always take a credit card in case you stop at a restaurant on the water; just to pick up your own bill. So many times we stop and people realize they did not bring cash or credit card to just buy their own meal.

  17. Wait to be invited. Don’t be that person who calls and texts every dang weekend asking if you are going on the boat. If we want to invite you, we will. Don’t expect just because we are out, you need to be with us.
    Amd please, bring your own food. The boat owner is not your grocery store.

  18. Don’t say you can go if your unsure. If you cancel last minute your hosts have an empty boat. If you say you’ll go…go. Seat space is limited, if your party of four drops, it’s hard to fill last minute.

  19. Whenever we have guests aboard we start out with safety procedures and amortization of the vessel. We show them where life jackets are stored, how to don them; where the flares are & how to use them. How the marine radio works; how the head works etc. Our state can ticket the captain for Boating under the influence. So at least one person has to remain cool.

  20. Never ever use tanning oil! You’ll cause a hazard and people could break their necks! Also, don’t wear shoes on the boat. If you know what you are doing, help with a line and buoy. If you are unsure, ask the captain!

  21. Great ideas! I think it depends on the type of boat on some of the rules. We have an antique cabin cruiser that cruises along at 7 knots, so our boat rides don’t consist of towels and sunscreen. FYI: As far as the conversation on gas, there used to be some confusion about section 506 Passenger for Hire of the USC. They amended the paragraph to specify that sharing expenses is not against the rules. If you make payment mandatory, you are breaking the law.

    1. HA! I love Brian’s comment. After reading this article and all these comments – going on some of these people’s boats sounds like the last thing I’d ever want to do. Doesn’t sound hospitable or fun. When I throw a dinner party I don’t tell the guests they can’t have red wine and they have to help clean up and pay for the meal.

      1. I agree that reading the comments has me very worried about being a guest on a boat. So many rules. The comment section has so many contradictions in what to do, what not to do. I went on a boat and wanted to be self sufficient (sunscreen, water for hydration, cleaning wipes, etc.) and I’m reading here I’d be cluttering up your boat – then I read if I don’t bring those things and depend on the captain’s supply I’m rude. WTF???!!!

        1. Most of the comments are personal preferences, not boating conventions. It is assumed by every boat owner I know (worked at a marina all through college and owned a boat all my adult life) that people will show up with a carry-on bag and a cooler with their own drinks/food. Never been too little room for guests/couples to come with these items. When at all in doubt, ask the host if …. is too much OR if they need anything additional. It’s supposed to be FUN or we wouldn’t do it. Going on someone’s boat with too many rules spoils the fun.

  22. I have found that if we limit the majority of our boat guests to other boaters we have eliminated most of our issues. But Not All.

  23. Don’t be the person that always says I want to go on the boat. If I want you to go I will ask. And when you go you get thirsty sorry but I’m not a bar I brought for me and my people. Don’t come empty handed

  24. Steve I have been putting up with all the above for over 20 years . He’ll I even had the police called to my common area for 2 friends trying to go at it .he’ll I could add about 20 things to your list .let me know how it works .I can’t belive I put up with a tad of the bullshit I do . Some times it is sad to say I will be glad when summer is gone.

  25. I don’t allow chips on my boat. They end up EVERYWHERE! People miss their mouths and think that because they are outside, it’s ok not to pick them up. (Just like the smoking comment). The wind also blows them around and before you know it the chips have multiplied and made chip babies! I will not spend all summer finding chips and cleaning them up. No Chips Allowed!

    1. AGREED!! Chips are one of my favorite things to get aggravated about on the boat. I really love once they get wet and end up a greasy smear on the carpet or seats!

  26. When the captain is docking the boat, let him do his job, if he needs help he will ask, please dont asume you need to run to the side of the boat and assist with the docking, several people have done this at once and it makes for an unpleasent docking situiation.

    1. I suggest all Captain’s help their guests by providing clear rules or at least guidelines when we arrive at your boat so we can be ultimate guests and not be stressed with the unknown on how to provide assistance. People naturally want to help and don’t want to assume the Captain will take all the burden’s and responsibilities. There’s nothing worse than doing nothing when the Captain is navigating. We learned knots especially to help when docking. Helping is coming from a genuine place and if it’s a hindrance to your job it’s best to know before we make things unpleasant for you.

  27. Boat owners (oh, sorry, “captains”) sound like a d-bags. Enjoy your depreciating asset; if I want to go out on the water, I’ll take my kayak and skip the self-obsession and drama.

    1. Drama? U yackers r all drama. If u weren’t, U’d b willing to carry ur vessel down to the water & not park ur Subaru at the end of the launch for 30 mins while unloading ur granola bars & juice boxes.

  28. Yea, that’s good, however i disagree on two things. Bring drinks only for you and probably half as much as you think you need so you dont overdrink and become so drunk you are a liability for your own safety and the captain is responsible in case you drown. Second, I would NEVER allow anyone to pay for gas, instead bring food instead. Third, never leave my boat and swim to and hang out on another guys boat (especially in party cove) or you will be getting a ride back with that guy, not me.

  29. Ladies- we realize mani/pedis are important during the summer but don’t plan on doing them right before getting on the boat or during the voyage. Humidity doesn’t always allow polish to dry completely and it’s not fun to clean off of white seats

  30. I agree with Chris. The type of boat changes the situation. My boat’s limit is 12 people. There’s nothing like having a full boat on Friday and having to tell people they can’t come and then having half the people cancel Saturday morning.

  31. No Bananas Onboard!! Its bad juju. Also no dark soled shoes. And $25 bucks isn’t fuel money when you have a 300 gallon tank and just burned through 150 gallons as your friends personal bar hopping water taxi. At $4.00/gallon x 300 gallons that’s $1200 in fuel so don’t insult the captain with 25 bucks. It better be a few Benjamins in the stack if any at all.

  32. We have found Women to be the most rude. They tend to invite themselves & then jump ship when another opportunity arises that they think is better. We have officially made our cabin cruiser off limits to overnight guest because of this. I agree with ALL of the above.

  33. I never invite friends along so that they can help pay for gas or help me clean. But the offer, even though I often declined, is character revealing.

  34. Should be required reading for anybody contemplating a day out on a boat.
    Personally I would rather sit poolside sipping on a cool beer. Too many rules and regulations for my liking, but then I’m an old guy!

  35. Another one … don’t sit there and wait to be served drinks and food because you are a “guest.” The captain and the first mate have plenty of do on a boat already. Looking at a “guest” holding their glass out because they’re on my boat makes me want to throw you overboard! (yes, it has happened… more than once.) Volunteer to refresh drinks, put out snacks, pick up garbage, etc. If you dock to go out to eat or for drinks, volunteer to buy a round or a few appetizers. We have a 32′ boat , you would be surprised how much it costs to go out on a boat for a day.

    And we the boat docks for the day, don’t hop off and say “thanks, see ya!” Help secure the boat, put on canvas, remove trash and pick up.

    Or don’t do any of these things, but you probably won’t be invited back. Boats are a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. Don’t take advantage of your friends with boats!

    1. If you read through the comments I’ve read almost the exact opposite recommendations from others! I wouldn’t know which way is up here – it seems to be at the discretion of each captain how they want their guests to behave (help or it’s rude, don’t help because when you do you’re a hindrance). Captain’s! Write a list of your Top 10 rules on your boat and post them, laugh at yourself and help relax your guests and they’ll be exceptional. Create contradictions like in these comments and we will always be shitty guests because we’ll never know what’s expected of us. If I read this I’m wearing shoes and not wearing shoes and bringing bottles and not bringing bottles but better bring cans, bring food but don’t bring chips, especially time manicures and pedicures and help with docking but don’t help with docking. OMG. My head is exploding.

    2. I’ve been told not to dig in to get drinks and ice without the offering of the hosts. In fact, I’ve helped myself to my own things I’ve brought on a boat to the chagrin of the Captain’s wife who prefers to offer to the guests because she “knows where the glasses and ice are”. So it’s different with every boat. Can we just agree that each boat may have preferences and to guide your guests to be the guests you want – lay out those preferences at the beginning of the trip so we don’t trip up?

  36. Wow, you boat people are worse snobs than rich people or maybe one in the same. My boat, my rules, no glass, no red drinks, no colored foods. Why the F’ you invite people. I’ll stay on shore.

    1. I know I may be making an assumption here (and yes…I’m aware of what it means to assume) but, Stayin’ Onshore seems to be assuming as well. So I’ll assume they live in a land locked area?
      Most, if not all, of these “rules” are spot on! It’s called being a responsible, respectable friend/passenger who has common sense. If that, in your opinion, makes us boaters snobs then apparently I am a snob. That’s cool.
      I guess I will assume, again, you’re just ignorant with boats and boating.
      This is supposed to be helpful. Humorous as well! But name calling, being judgmental and not being helpful with your comment seems like something a….well….like a snob would do. 🙂
      Now for those who have never stepped foot on a boat, perhaps they could ask what to do/bring and how to be helpful?
      Lastly, as far as shoes, appropriate boat shoes are fine. But yes….they should be removed while on the boat. Save the fashion for your bathing suit, ladies. Not your shoes. Oh and ZIP LOCK BAGGIES. So helpful for many reasons!

  37. Had a beautiful boat when living at Grand Lake in Oklahoma. Had all kinds of company, some planned, some not. Had an absolute.blast, and.never.had to worry about any of these things. Sounds like instead of tying rope knots, a lot of people here tied their nerves all up in knots. Geez people, relax. Boating is relaxing and fun, until the list of rules comes out. Funny, was never an issue, any of this, in out boat. Our friends respected without being asked.

    1. Once you spend 6 hours buffing out orange bronzer stains, or have someone get hurt for something stupid, etc etc etc, then you may not be so opposed to what is simply an informative and funny guide to people who are interested to know common boating courtesy. lighten up goes both ways 😉

  38. Please don’t wear your shoes on the boat. Bring them with you, but don’t keep them on your feet. Put them in the appointed location that the captain tells you too. We really don’t want your dirty soles on the carpet!!!!!

    1. I’ve been told the opposite. If you read through these comments there are contradictions all over the place. I’d be a great guest on one boat and evidently a lousy one on another (help, don’t help unless asked) . How about instead, guide your guest upon arrival with the rules of YOUR boat. Your boat, your rules. State them clearly and your guests will be wonderful and not do something you don’t like but the last Captain preferred.

    1. Another Captain says not to help when it’s time to dock the boat. I really think these are Captain preferences and each boat should provide their own rules, state them clearly and you’ll have less issues.

  39. No. 1 with me. Never jump into someones boat. I don’t jump up and down on your car.
    No.2 Never board someones boat without the Captain or mate indicating you to do so.

  40. This is awesome!! We should print this and hand it out to all that come aboard!!!

    You may also suggest that the Captain is the one in charge of where are you going for the day – NOT the passengers! With the price of gas and less than a mile to the gallon, heading from Detroit to Mackinaw Island is simply NOT a cheap idea!!

  41. IMO, you need to worry about people “chipping in” on gas expenses, you have no business owning a boat financially speaking.

  42. Fingernail / toenail polish keep it white or very light colored! When you apply sunscreen it makes it bleed and getting polish out of vinyl seats is almost impossible!

  43. Three biggest pet peeves:
    #1: OVERPACKING-do NOT bring everything you own-your own tube, floaties, tubes, noodles, extra clothes, swim gear, flip flops, swim shoes, another swim suit, two extra sets of towels, your own cooler-and try to cram it on my boat with you, your spouse, all your damn kids, then look up and act like we need to find a second boat for our own stuff!!!! Yes, it happens more often than you would think.
    #2: SPRAYING ON YOUR SUNSCREEN ONCE EVERYONE IS ON THE BOAT AND LOADED DOWN. Spray your stuff before you get on. And don’t spray on sunscreen with bronzer. Really?! This isn’t common sense??
    #3: DO NOT WEAR RED NAIL POLISH: Holy cow…another trip to the upholsterer…he loves to see us turn the corner. Big smile…”more new friends on the boat?” he snickers. Yeah, yeah. Even Magic Eraser doesn’t work magic on the red stuff.

  44. Help clean up everything on the dock and put everything away when you get back! Don’t be the first guy to leave to go inside when there still are towels, wakeboards, lifejackets and everything still out. Don’t leave the dock until EVERYTHING is put in it’s place! If you don’t know where something goes, ASK. Don’t just pick a place you think it might go.

  45. When you have been invited before, don’t tell the host/or captain what you didn’t like about the last time on the boat.
    My friend and her hubby came on our 28′ sailboat. As we went out on the sail we needed them to move from one side to the other side as we were getting the sail into the wind, pull the Halyard to get the sail up. My friend later confided that she and her hubby felt they were in the way and didn’t enjoy that.
    Well there’s a solution for that. Next invite.. was lost in the mail.

  46. It really is quite simple gang and not hard to do when asked “Get in, Shut up and hold on” see I knew you could do it. and take them for the real ride. where you can smile like you never have before but always held back. And they are turning white knuckled and cant wait to reach land some how as they scrape the bugs from there teeth silently. Yeah Baby! and your boat is still pristine unlike there shorts. “Drive Fast or Be Last”

    1. Wow no respect! using your own “Stabbin Cabin”. that’s when you say you want her then you start paying for her. The “wife” that is. Good Luck………… been there. not a good place in life to be.

  47. Why is everyone so uptight here? We bought our boat to enjoy it with people. We pay for gas, we get food prepared, we take care of beverages. Our friends bring their own stuff, too. But ‘no glass, red wine, shoes, spray sunscreen, time constraints, pooping’?!? Relax! Accidents happen, clean them up. Guests have to be back at certain times, be a good host and drop ’em off. Shoes leave black marks, scrub the deck later.

    Am I alone on this? It’s supposed to be fun, not my grandmother’s living room with plastic coverings on the furniture!

  48. Never wear regular street shoes. People show up with dark soles drives me nuts. Even if you have proper deck shoes try to make sure they are clean before boarding the best you can. When boarding as the captian where are the proper places to step or not to step.

    1. Don’t let people drive you nuts with dark soles shoes. They obviously just don’t know. It’s not about offending you or your boat. Clear rules on the outset make for great guests. Guests want to know these things, tell them before they even dress for the morning. E-mail is great for this.

  49. Boats have rules. Not that this discussion is about safety but the captain/owner is in charge and there for responsible for your safety. If you as some have stated are offended by any of my rules you need not apply for a ride. I often have groups of twelve or more that enjoy the day on the lake without any complaints. The level of fun is not deterred by a few simple courtesies. As for drinking it is expected but not required, but just in case I have an ice maker onboard. For myself as captain I defer from alcohol drinking until the anchor is dropped for the night. All I require as payment is for you to add to the fun/pleasure on our outing. I will worry about the cost. I was going to take the boat anyway.!

  50. Life jackets, guests and grills! Don’t assume your children are invited. If they are, don’t assume they can bring a friend. That also goes for adults too. The invite isn’t automatically a plus one or two. Your kids are your responsibility. Bring a life jacket that fits them, and make them wear it and behave. The Captain normally has plenty of adult-size jackets, and if he tells the teens or adults to put one on, do so, and then ask why. The Captain will be the first one to see a dangerous situation, like weather, intoxication, or boat failures. The boat owner is legally responsible for everyone’s safety and usually prefers not to have strangers aboard.
    Grills are great, but require extra boat space, gas or charcoal and a person to cook the items. Surface areas for grilling are limited, so check with the host before bringing food for the grill. Prepare/marinate the items at home and place in zip-lock bags for the cooler. This reduces cook time and cooler & trash space needed.
    Boating can be very dangerous and they have limited space, so be courteous guests, and take notice of this article and all of the helpful comments!

  51. Not my fault you bought a showpiece instead of a boat. Carpets on boats? If you can’t hose out all the fish guts, scales and blood, bait residue, spilled alcohol and snacks, suntan oil, sand, sweat, poop, waterspots, etc., whatever, it wasn’t built to be on the water or have fun in. Just store it somewhere indefinitely, where you can show it off, and leave more room on the water for boat owners who aren’t primadonnas, smoking Nazi’s, or control freaks. Own a useable boat you alone can afford. You don’t have to be arrogant about it. If guests contribute, you have good friends. Boating safety, as a Captain, is always paramount. Just try to have fun, and let your guests enjoy so being with you, so much, on your boat, that they’ll go out of their way to help, contribute, and return as your guests. So what. You own a boat. I do, too!

  52. Thought the article was pretty spot on. I’ve been boating a long time. I have seen some pretty bad situations due to people simply not knowing. We do have a newbie talk for those who haven’t been out with us before, but it’s more about the rules of safe boating, what the age for those who have to have their life jacket on at all times, what “no wake” means, be careful on the deck because we teaked it and it might be slippery, why somebody would have an orange flag out, etc. I figure if we talk about those things as we are on our way, they will be adults and we can get on to the day of fun in the sun. This article is more about common sense and respect. We don’t expect people to pay for gas or even bring towels, but they should bring their own specialty items (like special sunscreen for sensitive skin, something in particular that they would like to drink, etc). I always overpack food in case my guests underpack. I did have single parent who invited themselves and their child. Although this person is somebody I would not have invited, they are a friend of people I was with so I let it go. The problem I had is that this single parent went off to ride a personal watercraft with someone I don’t know and left their child with me to watch. The child had never been on a boat before and was afraid of everything. Needless to say, as one of the owners of the boat, I didn’t have a very good time that day since I got the babysitting gig. If you are on my boat, I try to ensure your safety, but please don’t take advantage of it. Again, it’s about respect.

    1. The true colors of guests really do come out when on a boat but often if the parameters are very clear at the start of a trip it’s more relaxing for all involved. For instance, if a Captain prefers no assistance during docking – say so to the less experienced guests so you don’t have three floundering inexperienced people hopping off the boat trying to tie bows with the ropes, lol, but let those guests who are more experienced know you’ll depend on them during docking, for instance and all others stay in the boat just to make life easy or some other way to explain to guests the do’s and don’ts. CAPTAIN RULES are great if they are known and clear and certainly are helpful if they expand to what you won’t tolerate – I say get a rule in there about YOU BRING IT, YOU BABYSIT IT – this includes your bag of chips to your kids. 🙂

  53. Anyone who attended a 5th grade English class before 1970 knows that when depicting a group of individuals it is acceptable to use the masculine pronoun or descriptor. I dare say that even though many members of your audience were born after 1970 (or 1990 for that matter), they know that boorish behavior is not limited to the male of our species. I enjoyed what you wrote and agree with the premise; and have two suggestions. 1 – In your writing, strive for the highest ideal in terms of grammar, flair and use of language instead of the lowest common denominator. 2 – Make no accommodation for and refuse to succumb to the cultural Marxism known as political correctness. Your readership is better and smarter than that.

  54. “No brown food? I think we just encountered a mutant strain of Upper East Side anal. It’s like she’s consciously trying to cultivate an eccentricity so people won’t notice that she’s completely devoid of personality.”

  55. Write rules for your boat. Make them humorous and laugh at yourself but make them. If you have a “no chip rule” or “nothing red rule” make it funny, let us enjoy the humor and we’ll still follow it without thinking we won’t be relaxed because of all the stringent rules when we thought we were being good guests bringing groceries that included chips for the kids, for instance….. Hang it somewhere, list it at the bottom of all your e-mail announcement’s you send out. But communicate with your guests in that manner and you’ll have excellent guests who know the parameters and aren’t entering in to an uncertain environment where we are doing something wrong when we sincerely thought we were being accommodating by bringing you your favorite bottle of wine and your favorite chips (dear god, NO! It’s not white? It’s a chip? who does this guest think they are???? – we thought we were being thoughtful guests is what we thought we were…..). If you read the comments here there are many contradictions and it seems the rules are different for different boats and Captain’s preferences.

  56. If you are fishing Deck Shoes for sure. No bare feet. And remember “No Bananas”. Bananas are considered bad luck on a fishing vessel. If you insist on keeping them you may just be returned to shore.

  57. Scrubbing Bubbles (bathroom cleaner) works excellent when cleaning body grime off of seats and a Mr Clean Miracle sponge will make most every scuff mark disappear.

  58. Some great discussions on capt. preferences.

    Those of you offended by or confused over these suggestions may not have encountered the reasons behind them. The owners and or captains arent asking much in the scheme of things.

    Personal preferences are what they are and being polite and considerate goes a long way from all parties.

    To clear up a few contradictions :

    Shoes or no shoes:
    This preference has alot to do with the type and location of boating. If you are pleasure boating and swimming in some areas shoes tend to be cast about on the boat, blowing around (or overboard) in the wind and tripping people up. Or maybe the captian/onwer is anal and worried about getting things dirty. I have been asked as a house guest to remove my shoes in some people’s households, I wasnt bothered then why should a boat be different.

    In some situations such as fishing where fish and fishhooks are likely to be a danger proper shoes are a must have. In my neighborhood the is a lot of shallow areas with oyster bars and big enough tidal fluctuations that proper footwear is a necessary safety item (if things go wrong you just may be walking on those oyster bars) so fine wear flip flops but bring some sensible shoes just in case of deteriorating circumstances.

    Bringing to little or to much:
    This has alot to do with the size or the boat and the planned (or possibly unplanned) itinerary. Are you going for a 30 minute pleasure cruise? Don’t bring the kitchen sink, but a little bit of food and drink as well as appropriate clothing (jacket,raincoat?) might be prudent. Are you going on a Trans Atlantic journey? You may want to bring a bit more.

    In short think what you might need and don’t be afraid to bring it to the dock. Once boarding talk to the guy loading the boat and don’t be offended to leave things behind. If you really feel you need something (especially for safety) speak up and say so. (Side note: Never under any circumstances leave on any trip no matter how short without important medications if you require them, things can and do go wrong; i.e. Gilligan’s Three Hour Tours Llc.)

    To help or not to help:

    Simply put: Ask before you do anything.

    I am a licensed captain. I generally know what I am doing. I often go out with friends and colleagues on their boat. I always ask before I “help” with anything. Even if Ive been on their boat and done it a hundred times. Often that means asking out loud, often it’s a look and a nod.

    This is not pretentious, this is just repect and understanding that boats are a dynamic environment. Generally speaking do not move about while the person driving is lining up to and approaching the dock. If you are going to help get into position before the approach and or dont move until the boat is ON the dock.
    The reasons: weight moving around changes the direction of the boat unless you are on a really really big boat. The operator is doing thier best to compensate for wind and current and often dodging obstacles, dont go throwing a monkey wrench into that situation. If you happen to be moving toward the bow when the operator full reverses at the last minute to not hit the dock to hard you may just be headed overboard head first onto the dock or worse (like between the boat and the dock).

    Anyway there is my two cents…..

    1. Thanks Bryan, the type of boating I do is pleasure cruising on a lake. So shoes are no big deal on a carpeted pontoon, but not so great on a ski boat. I’ve noticed some commenters have sail boats, others have fishing vessels so it’s going to be a bit different for everyone. The medicine comment is a good one! And thank you for getting the gist of what I was saying about “helping.” And thanks for your thoughtful reply to my post!

  59. great article. its true that different boats and situations may require slightly different rules. but in the end it all comes down to common sense. if you are invited, be happy, be nice, don’t be stupid and don’t be a dick!

  60. Please don’t just stand there as we approach the dock, grab a post and help us get securely in without unnecessary rubbing. Also, do not just hop off and leave me to clean everything, and throw away your garbage/recycling too!, rather, help unload the boat, sweep/wipe/etc and then help button up the cover. Also, the boat doesn’t run on “Thanks”, it runs on unleaded, and not only that, but the unleaded had to be carried down to the vessel by someone if you don’t want to pay 5 bucks a gallon, so maybe just bring a five gallon tank if you are a repeat guest, I understand if you are a first timer, than you get a mulligan, but it still does not hurt to offer even though I will prob say, nah… next time. Friends that spend a lot of time on my boat usually offer to help with minor maintenance as well, like re-teaking the wood, spring time power wash/clean, and pulling it out/putting it in during the beginning and end of season. Look, if you were invited by me for the first time, I have few expectations; however, if you become a frequent flyer. show me a little love as being a boat owner is a big time and financial responsibility that I take on so that I can share some great memories with you and yours. 🙂

  61. No glass ever on boats…bring your beer in cans please. Know proper boat terms…they are NOT bumpers but fenders, they are used to fend off docks, boats & walls, not bump them! Throw a SPRING (midship line) line first!!! People scare me when they throw a bow line first…

  62. vikki fraser,

    I’m not sure what kind of boating you do but the amount of drinking that you do is down right dangerous. I’m a licensed commercial captain while most of what i do at work is very different than any recreational boating i’m well aware of the hazards that are entailed. Please whatever vessel you board don’t consume absurd amounts of alcohol. Alcohol is found in the bloodstream of 70% of recovered drowning victims during autopsy. Alcohol is proven to speed the onset of hypothermia in cold water. Never drink alcohol if you need to be a watchstander this is not only reckless but illegal. As far as edicate goes on fishing boats typically you offer to pay for your part in fuel sometimes the owner will accept sometimes he will deny. Boats use quite a bit of fuel depending on the fishing boat you could be burning upwards of 100 gallons of fuel per hour at 4-6$ per gallon to get to the fishing grounds upwards of 100 miles offshore. offer to buy bait or ice but don’t bring a cooler most fishing boats have multiple built in coolers most for the catch and one small 50 gallon cooler for food and drinks. other coolers just get in the way. Bring your own rods unless asked not to. on sail boats ask to help with the provisioning run, bring your own harness, offer to help cook meals, you will pitch in with line handling grinding and quite a few other things don’t just sit there. on all boats bring foul weather gear you don’t want to be that one guy complaining to the owner that you are getting wet because you didn’t bring foul weather gear while you are making a 50 mile run back to shore in 12 foot seas. Inform the boat owner if you cannot swim they should make you wear a life jacket we can’t save you if you can’t swim. Tell the vessel owner if you get seasick before you leave the dock this is for everyone’s benefit. Never get in between the operator/captains and the helm sometimes we need to get to the helm quickly. If the captain/operator asks you to take the helm don’t change any electronic displays(ECIDS, chartplotters, AIS, RADAR, radios) outside of what is required ie zoom. never ride on the bow you can fall over if the vessel hits a wave and get ground up by the props. there is a reason why uscg bow gunner’s wear harnesses after one of them was ground up. Always offer to help out it might be something really minor to you but a huge help to the operator. If the capt/operator asks you to do something and you don’t know how to do it speak up and ask typically we are willing to teach you. Often times i’ve asked guests or clients to tie a cleat and asked them if they knew how they will say yes but they often times bungle it up. I’d rather you say “no i don’t know how to tie a cleat” then to put a improper knot on that can cause problems. offer to help clean the boat it varies on the boat and what standard they keep it at typically it involves hosing the blood off the decks and flushing the motors for outboard boats. ive honestly never seen any boats where everyone was so anal about what you bring on board like chips and what not as all of the boats i’ve run or been on all that you have to do is hose the blood off the decks if you spill abounch. even gallons of dolphin blood cleans off most boats. after you go out in a friends boat invite them to come out on your boat next time. I know a lot of guy who go out and fish on their friend’s offshore boat and then the next time they invite their friend with the offshore boat on their flats skiff.
    on not being late not only have i left people on the dock i know many captains who leave late people on the dock. you aren’t going to make cay sal before sunrise if you wait for the person who woke up at 0500.
    some boats do have very specific and strict rules that differ boat to boat and are instituted for very specific reasons. Dive boats have very specific rules for their operations so this is obviously not all encompassing

  63. Holy cow…..rules, rules, rules!!!! We have fun and relax…that’s what boating is about right??? Clean as you leave and meet us back at the dock in the morning!!

  64. As a sailboat skipper, I always ask people to keep their shoes on. When the boat is heeled, people are moving around, handling lines, changing sides, usually with sunscreen on, it is easy for someone to slip, trip on a deck fitting and hurt their feet or fall. Especially going down the hatchway steps. I ask people to bring white soled only. I have spent a lot of time scrubbing black sole marks off white fiberglass.

  65. No popcorn! No Smartpop! Someone always sits on the bag, pops it open, knocks it over, puts their wet fingers in the bag. No matter how well the person says they will clean it up there will always be more everywhere! Even months later you’ll find some!

  66. No red wine, cheetos or anything that will stain or cause extended time cleaning up. No SHOES at all on the boat. So annoying when you pick up rookies and they jump on your boat from the dock with tennis shoes on. I’m yelling from the boat “take your shoes off before getting on boat” and some seem confused by that concept. Shows grip the vinyl and can tear it. I own a boat and provide gas, ice, food, beer, etc. When somebody comes on with NOTHING and drinks and eats then offers no $, that’s their last time on our boat. Its not really $ with me but mutual respect. I am taking you out on my 100K wakeboard boat and you look and I’m sure feel pretty cool. It cost a lot of $ to buy and maintain this thing. At least you can do is be respectful and offer something. We are very clear with people now before they come on our boat. People that pay + respectful treat your boat the best. People that mooch and party like they’re some kind of star tear your boat up. No more moochers!

  67. I wish this post had been around a long time ago……i’m that guy. I fish alone a lot….hit the party boats when the seasons come and go and the boats are full of “that guy”s , i won’t mess up the next chance i get .

  68. I’m a gal .Southern. I love this. Actually I’m a bitch because most men can’t afford a boat. Im an Ole school gal. I have A Correct Craft Mustang 17 1973 305 40 bd over. She’s a classic. What you wrote I straight up love. I introduced myself to all the lake wardens. They talk to my chest but tbey know my boat. I like to party but I don’t drink because I’m the Captain. I love your etiquette. ..however if you have the luxury of my invitation I provide all. I take you to the dock if I am pissed. Happened one time. To me the sound the feel the water is sacred. You step on my vessel it’s a unspoken respect. I’m going to share your rules. If you come down South to North Carolina. and your dahling have a seat…personally if not driving. ..I sit on the motor box. Write on dahling. Highest respect and fabulous wake your way..Grace

  69. Totally agree with the rules and trust me, there has been a lot of people not invited back on our boat…It’s a respect thing people, learn it 🙂

    absolutely no eating, drinking no smoking, no shoes, no standing on seats…party on the beach, not in my boat… and your ass better help wipe the boat down when taken off the water

  70. Do not, I repeat, do NOT, make the assumption that the captain can “just drop you at the dock” when you are ready/need to leave. Boating is all day. If you can’t do all day, make sure your Captain knows this before accepting an invitation to go boating.

  71. Please, don’t wear or bring new clothes or towels that you have not washed! Had a friend that purchased a black cover up right before getting on the boat. She got In the water to “check the prop”, when she was finished and put her cover up back on, the water made it wet and transfered the color dye to the white vinyl seats. Took months for it to finally fade out.

  72. My rules:
    1. Always wear shoes on the boat.
    2. Never wear shoes on the boat.
    3. Avoid boaters and their boats.

  73. Can’t believe no one has said this one yet. NEVER yell at someone in another boat! Waving is fine. Saying “beautiful day” as you pass by is fine. But, I don’t care if there’s a hot babe naked sunning herself, no cat calling! No making fun of other peoples’ smaller or slower boats. If another boat is anchored and they’re drifting in too close, let your skipper handle the situation. Never ever be “that guy” that takes it upon himself to discipline the other boaters. Road rage applies to boats just like cars, maybe even more so. People can get upset and hostile easily. Egging-on the passengers of other boats and causing confrontation is a sure way to never get asked back again.

    1. Marty,
      Yes! Wave at other boaters, it’s polite and we’re all out for a bit of fun. Shore folk too if you can see each other. Warning: Voices carry over water – If you cruise around a lake near the shoreline THEY CAN HEAR YOU on their patio. So if you say “That ugly old cuss and his demon wife need to see about that roof” Um, they know, and you’re not coming to their BBQ now 😀

  74. Rules for swimming in my pool. Come over. Swim. Do whatever you want and tell Lord “Mud Water” you don’t need to listen to him pontificate all day about his view on politics, his important job, Romo and how important boat owners are to the economy. Oh, let him know his choice of Country and Classic Rock all day sucks, too.

    (kidding, no-one’s ever invited me onto their boat. probably the music thing more than the self-importance of “the Captain” and his rules for the stormy and unpredictable sea AND Lake Lewisville)

  75. WTF? My Rant! But first I applaud the author on the original post you nailed it. However the comments were quite entertaining from many stupid people. For the people that don’t like all the rules here’s a reality check some of these boats cost more than your house much more ! Here’s some examples glass would you appreciate it if I dropped my beer glass in your pool? Probably not. Shoes can I jump up-and-down on your couch with shoes on? can I climb into your bed with sand on my feet? I have three main rules on my boat no sand, no shoes, Watch where you step. If you have sand on your feet and you are walking around my boat ultimately it will end up in my bed that sucks. Shoes have a tread rocks get inbedded in the soles which will scratch my boat. Ask where you can stand or what you can grab onto for balance don’t grab my Irreplaceable windshield or stand on my outside wet bar because you want to do a table dance ask the captain how and where to climb in and out of the boat. Gas money here’s the deal if you go on my schedule I don’t want your money however if you want me to pick you up at a certain time and drop you off When you feel like it that is a special trip you should pay for the entire cost of going back and forth my boat gets half a mile to the gallon it is 5 miles to the beach from the dock to make two round-trips would be 20 miles which equals 40 gallons of gas times five dollars a gallon at the dock equals 200 bucks Not many people want to pay that kind of money so it’s easy go when I go return when I return no charge but hey throw a dog a bone buy me a drink at the bar. Drinking goes with Boating it just does it’s a pastime no comment on here is going to change that just try to drink responsibly and yes never ever argue with anyone in another boat or on the beach because I Will probably run into them people the next weekend. Some of you boaters don’t allow chips on your boat That is ludicris having a picnic and potato chips go with boating and it will clean up however down in the cabin is my living room and I would appreciate that You don’t eat down there unless invited. Hopefully if people spill a drink or chips they will clean it up because I’m sure they wouldn’t like it if I left Grease on my seats for them to sit down with their outdated $250 Ed Hardy bikini just for it to get stained. This is not directed at the ladies but is towards the dumb stripper bitches just because you are cute doesn’t mean you can disrespect the dudes 200,000-500,000 dollar boat so be cool or he will replace you with another stripper that he impressed by putting a $20.00 bill in her g-string. At the end of the day help clean oh you was in a hurry then you could have done some cleaning before we left the beach oh you were busy trying to pickup that chick on the beach that was out of your league. It’s all about respect and common decency. Example I wouldn’t put my shoes on the seat or your dashboard of your cheap ass lifted truck that can’t even tow a sea-doo (worthless) or your corvette because you have a little dic! while you are giving me a ride up to my truck and trailer just so you can leave me to retrieve and clean the boat while you just leave. You can surely see the people in the comments that are not boat owners or they have a 14′ aluminum fishing boat or a tuna barge. Yes my boat is more important than our friendship.

  76. This is all great stuff!! A lot of truths here.. I live in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada… And the rules are same up here 😉

  77. NUMBER ONE RULE: GAS MONEY….. give the Captain GAS money… Its GAS CASH or ASS….
    We always Give GAS MONEY and We always help clean the boat after a day on the water. ALWAYS dont get wastey pants and trot off… you help clean. Especailly if your friend keeps the boat at his own place.

  78. Bring some cash. Just in case. Your never know there may be an unexpected beer run or everyone may decide to grab a bite to eat at the marina restaurant because they will go eat there without you.

  79. I always ask guess to bring a sweater or light jacket when expected to be out past sunset.
    No chettos, mustard, or red wine, keep your hands and limbs in the boat when docking.

  80. Great post and comments, may have been covered already but I absolutely hate when a guest who is a non-boater jumps up and tried to help me or guide me into a dock or my slip. I’m in control, if I need your help I’ll ask for it, otherwise I have it under control so you can just remain in your seat till I’m in and ready to tie off. If you want to hold onto the dock while I tie her off that’s fine, but let me do it… every boater has his or her way of securing their boat.

    1. I grew up in Michigan owning boats there and now live on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I no longer own a boat, but several of my friends do. These are some of the things I’ve learned: Don’t pester a boat owner to go on their boat…wait to be asked! If invited, ask for the restrictions on what to bring, the time to arrive (NEVER be late), if any help is needed prior to setting off. The captain could help by sending emails to all guests telling them what they already have on board and what you should bring of your own. He can indicate preferences for footwear and his reasons as well. Ask where to step when boarding and ask where you should sit…common courtesy! Do NOT bring any extra people if they were not specifically invited…especially children! Space is usually limited and extra people = extra stuff to stow! Bring as small a cooler and bag as possible or share with someone else…bring food enough for more than just you. Bring money or a credit card if possibly stopping somewhere for a meal or drink. If you have time constraints, decline the invite and indicate that you would love a rain check. When on the water, listen to the captain…it is HIS/HER boat and they get to run the show. When docking, ask if the captain needs any assistance from you. After pulling the boat from the water, ask to help clean up and DO IT! I usually offer some cash to help pay for the gas they used. Buy the captain a drink at the end of it all!
      This is just basic common courtesy…it’s not hard and you probably will be invited back!
      Most of my boat owning friends are laid back and easy going, but I’m sure they do not appreciate people who take advantage of them!

  81. Me to Friend: Do you want to go into town and go out to dinner, or just chill on my boat?
    Friend: Let’s do the boat, It is cheaper.
    Me: (Screams internally)
    I don’t ask for or want gas money, I just want you to appreciate that it is not cheap and definitely not free to go on the boat

  82. I would never invite someone and expect them to bring their own drinks and food. That’s just how I was raised. Guests are guests and if you’re entertaining that is the polite thing to be a good host. Unless of course you’re still in high school. Maybe college. But BYO ends there.Seriously. When it is their turn to reciprocate, if youre not on the invite list…get some new friends.But the other stuff totally agree. Especially smoking and littering…very rude!!

  83. LOL, loved the article… most of this is common sense since some also applies to being invited to someone’s home. (then again, the water is a second home to most of us who have been enjoying boating since we were wee tikes).
    I would add…… make sure you turn your common sense on before heading out of the house and to the pier.

  84. 1 more thing i would like to add if you are invited on a go fast boat ,dont try to open the cooler and make urself a drink ,get something to eat or try to light a cigarette while under power. Cant tell u how many times i have taken people out and they think its ok to try to open the cooler and get a beer or something to eat or light up at 100 mph. Just be patient and wait til the boat has slowed down and u have gotten the ok from the captain . Just use a little Common sense and if u are not sure about something and nobody else is doing it then dont do it without the captains ok .

  85. No foods with orange or red dye # whatever in them. Can’t get them out of the carpets!!! (Friut punch, Jax, Doritos etc)!!!!

  86. This is awesome! One thing left out was, if you are a guest…especially one who hasn’t contributed much….you don’t get to determine when it’s time to leave. Plan on being out there for a while and go with the flow. When the captain is ready, we go. Until then, don’t be a buzz kill!

  87. My experience has taught me to adopt a “drop off the drunk policy”. I had a charity group of ladies that got so intoxicated, I feared there would be a serious injury of drowning. (THAT would look great on a resume) I now inform passengers that drinking in moderation is acceptable. If however you choose to overdo, I reserve the right to find a dock and call a taxi. It is just too risky.

    1. I’ve actually done that a couple of times. Dropped off a very intoxicated young man who refused to listen to our rules. He kept jumping in the water and I insisted he wear a life jacket. After many times doing this, we untied from our group, headed back to the dock and had a taxi waiting for him. I was scared too death he was going to drown. Last time he invited on our boat

  88. do not attempt a group selfie where everyone stands on one end of the boat! we *almost* made the pontoon flip at my friend’s bachelorette!

  89. I agree with everything except bringing a cooler for drinks. More than likely the captain has a cooler on board and you don’t want all your friends bringing coolers and clogging up the deck.

  90. OK mom just take all of the fun out this boating trip! This dude has a point if you’re like 50+ and can only handle 1 drink with ice. Anyone younger should never listen to any of these Debbie downer rules.

  91. And don’t get trashed and stare at or make comments about the friends of the captain’S that are wearing bikinis.

  92. Great basic rules and comments. One thing though, if you and your children are invited onboard for the day, it is YOUR job to keep the kids in line. We had an incident this past summer where the child had recently suffered a head injury and was told repeatedly not to go below deck. There is not much head room and a wake from a passing boat could cause a head/neck injury. The parents did nothing and did not enforce this safety rule. We ended up having fun but it definitely put a damper on the day having to constantly watch this kid. Watch your kid! Same thing in a restaurant or anywhere else.

  93. This was always one of my biggest pet peeves. While I totally respect and obey the “do not drink and drive” laws, if you’re coming onto my boat, everyone likes to party a bit, when it comes time to dock and your drunk ass can’t drive, plan on calling an Uber or arrange for somebody to pick up your drunk ass! One of the reasons I stop inviting people onto my boat, because they always got drunk and “needed to sleep over”. if you want to sleep continually on a boat, buy your own! And then there’s the expelling of said liquids via your mouth. Just don’t do it. You’ll never be invited back!

  94. Your article seems like it was written by somebody who is a newbie/amateur at “boating”, and is a little up tight to say the least due to the new experiences that may come with owning a boat. Seems more like growing pains you have gotten over and learned . You have a list of rules a mile long for that guy who doesn’t know one rule on the list. Heres an idea. Don’t invite that guy. Only take friends you know and family you can tolerate. You should know your going to have people showing up that are half way prepared so it is actually the “Captains”/Host job to leave a little extra room in the cooler, have extra towels, life jackets, food etc. Like you said, you are responsible for the people on your boat. If you are not able to accommodate somebody who is apparently a stranger to you on your boat, well that would be your fault, and you just made “that guy” feel like a real asshole. This mind set you are in is only going to lead to years of frustration until you finally throw your hands up and sale your boat. Nobody is ever going to learn your rules. Only tolerance and acceptance of what to expect and being prepared for it is going to eliminate your struggles and make for a happy day of boating. Good Luck and Safe Boating.

    1. IDK. I’ve owned boats for 20 years and I tend to agree with a lot of this article. I’ve experienced everything from having a guest try to come aboard with a handgun and a bong while headed into DC for a 4th of July weekend (DC gun laws are some of the strictest in the country) to just this weekend having two uninvited guests of guests show up at my boat, having a guest break a bottle on the boat and me subsequently walking around with glass in my foot for the balance of the day. About the only thing I feel that I need to provide are life jackets and a safe environment. Guests should know to show up with food, drinks, a good attitude and a flexible schedule. We hosted over 30 people on our boat this three day weekend and we had to purchase more alcohol each day because our guests brought little to nothing. Worst part is as a captain, unless I’m tied to the dock and going to remain there….I’m stone cold sober. Our guest list has changed over the years and it clearly needs more tweaking but you do hope that guests will exercise some level of common sense and graciousness.

  95. Ok I know people are going to say it’s a bass boat but at least read this. First of all I paid a hell of a lot of Money for my Bassmasters Classic $61.000 and I don’t try to cut you off, blow you out of the water and I slow down when it’s not safe to go by . I do this because I pain a lot of money for my boat and I don’t want to tear it up, hurt anyone or piss someone off. Now as far as all the big boats that ski and just having fun with jet boats stop thinking that it’s funny to put me to close to the bank stop it. I will catch you because you can’t outrun me lift my prop close to the top of the water and blast you with 300 reasons why you will stop because you can’t see. Then it’s not that funny and after that you want more no problem I’ll soak all you cigs,food and what ever you have on you boats. So let’s have respect for each other so you don’t follow me to the bank a get your fellings hurt. Life is to short for all this to be going on. No smoking , dipping on my boat will help you clean up you trash and mine. I will take you for a ride if you want but if we make a day out of it please give me $12.00 for gas and I’ll be happy. We will wipe the boat down so it want have to hard at home. Peace Out??⛵️

    1. Are you serious? You must be since you sent 3 comments. First of all, I never saw your post on an obscure scuba diving forum from 12+ years ago before today. Second, the only things they have in common are: don’t be late and chip in for gas. Both of which are common among boating folks. Trying to insinuate that I copied you is as laughable as it is inaccurate.

      1. Smile it will make your day go by better. There’s always a Nim Nut on here somewhere

  96. Gee, after reading all these posts, it seems simple to me…ASK THE CAPTAIN FOR HIS RULES! Every boat owner is different…just ASK!
    Don’t be late!
    What can I bring?
    Should I wear shoes?
    Is there anything I can help with?
    How about booze?
    Cooler or no cooler?
    Any other questions you need answered
    Offer to help clean the boat when you dock.
    Follow the captain’s orders
    Ask where to sit and where to stow your stuff
    Dress appropriately (Captain can guide you on this one)
    Do NOT ask to come in early!
    Use the bathroom BEFORE you leave port
    bring your credit card and/or money for stops along the way
    Limit how much “stuff” you bring…remember there are other people bringing “stuff” too!
    Be respectful
    Don’t bring along extra people if they were not invited (this includes kids!)

    Most importantly…Say THANK YOU to your Captain

    This is not rocket science!

  97. No need to get defensive; 12+ years, LOL Year and a half, Obscure? Not if you’re a diver or a boater. Only commonality gas and timing, even the title…. Read mine again and then yours. Clearly the former was your “inspiration”. And that’s okay. It’s surprising how clueless folks can be when going on a private boat. Glad you took my lead getting the word out.

  98. If we are fishing, especially inshore DO NOT SLAM THE DAMN COMPARTMENT DOORS. If you need to get something out of a compartment ease the lid,hatch,door closed easily. shallow water fish spook easy. Thank you.

  99. Nobody shits on my boat unless they brought their own 5 gallon bucket. Just kidding, no buckets allowed. If it’s an emergency I’ll let you off on the Nebraska side and you can dig a cat hole.

    -Yankton, South Dakota

  100. The thing that irritates me most is if you are on my boat for hours, most times I bring everything needed food ,drinks, vests, towels etc. but when we return to the dock they get off get in car and leave. We are in saltwater do people not realize how much cleaning inside and out and flushing of the motors there is it takes hours not minutes to do it right

  101. If the Captain tells you NOT to use the head at the dock and to use the marina bathroom nearby instead, don’t disobey. You needed a little instruction before using the head and you now clogged it, likely with too much (marina) toilet paper, and we can’t use our boat – or even the batteries at the dock, until we solve the problem YOU created.

  102. The Captain should do it, but make sure that there is a life jacket/vest for each person and that they are accessible. Most states require that you wear them, if that is the case be sure you do no matter how uncomfortable. If you have one you like bring it. If the boating involves fishing, be sure you get and bring any required licenses. If water skiing bring an extra pair of glasses, if you wear them. Request a quick driving lesson for that boat in case an emergency requires you to take over. Find out where first aid and flares are located. Make sure your mobile phone is charged and put in in a couple zip lock or waterproof bags, with fishing float attached.

  103. Preferably don’t bring glass containers or beverages,
    Get keg cups if you only bring bottled beer or others.

  104. Another things I hate is when someone doesn’t finish their meal and ask for a to-go box. Then on the ride back they either forget it on the boat or it’s all in the floor. Great article

  105. Love this! Here’s a few more:
    1. Do NOT bring a brand new red towel or swimsuit on my boat (scrubbed for hours!) or a fishing pole.
    2. Your “plan” for the day is to go with the flow. Do not tell me your schedule. You are on my schedule, which is always super fun. No time watchers!
    3. We have wakesurf days and tie up and socialize days. Do not expect me to teach you to surf on July 4th weekend. Not happening.
    4. If I invite you and your kids for a day on the lake I promise you will have fun. Do NOT bring a tube to go tubing. I only pull an inner tube a couple of times a summer…it’s an all day deal and I do it because the kids have a great time. Otherwise I hate it. Do not let your kids beg me to tube. That’s a different day with a different captain unless you are lucky enough to be invited on tube day…in which case you will not be an adult.
    5. If you are an adult excited to learn to wake surf. Game on! But please let your kids go first…🙄
    6. Bring snacks! I hate food prep. I love when people come and take care of that for me!
    7. The lake is my happy place. If you make me unhappy in my happy place, you will not be invited back.

  106. I would like other peoples opinion about this. We live in Florida on a chain of lakes and we have other chain of lakes to visit. There are restaurants on most of these chains of lakes. We invite our friends on the boat and buzz around and show them the beautiful Lakeside and the different things of interest, using a tank of gas.… My husband and I feel that if we pay for the gas: about $75-$100 for each full day of boating, our guests should offer to pay for our mealS? The restaurants on the water are never super expensive, and are reasonably price like a grill or a sports bar. Are we wrong about this? And how should we tell our invitees that they Should plan to pick up our tab.? Or just let them guess it?

  107. If you invite your guests then no pay is intended.
    If they ask for a boat ride then they should pass you a few bucks or cover lunch or something.

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