Better Boating Etiquette


Ever wonder why power boaters and sailors often misunderstand each other’s intentions? It all comes down to understanding the other’s needs.

While the intentional disruption of a day on the water is quite scarce, unintentional disruptions are usually the result of a misunderstanding of rules. In other words, it’s a misunderstanding of the needs of the other boat, when under sail or power. A BoatUS article suggests that it comes down to three major issues that can put boaters in dangerous situations on the water.


Crossing with other boats can get messy fast, as boaters have different desires depending on their vessel-type. Sailors worry about powerboat wake slowing them down, while anglers worry that lines astern might snag on a sailboat crossing their bow. However, most boaters opt to do what they think is “the right thing.”

While it is impossible to know what another captain’s preference is, the best choice is to give a wide berth to other boats. After deciding on your wide berth, make it even larger, just to be safe.


Wake is a major issue that can damage boats and their occupants. Luckily, with enough space, wake diminishes. However, say two boats are passing one another in a narrow channel, requiring that one boat travels at a speed that causes a large wake. Before the boats pass, the boat causing the wake should slow down to reduce any risks.