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 some drunk may 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.
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.
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: 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.)