sailors etiquette - don`t look like a dick.

Updated: Jun 14

living on a sailboat is subject to a few, quite special rules. common sense to everyone with some sensitivity for its environment and ability to adapt appropriate to new situations and extraordinary circumstances. for everyone else, better follow the following recommendations if you are interested to get connected longterm with the sailing community in your area:


every liveaboard-sailor appreciates the privacy of his little home in the dark deep blue or bright light turquoise. as we are all members of a quite social species, we also love to meet new interesting people to chat, drink and enjoy the sailing lifestyle together. but be aware, different people spell p r i v a c y different and not every one likes the same dose of social contacts and most sailors, especial the long-established ones could need a little bit longer to open up and get warm.


1. don`t approach another ones boat uninvited.

if you want to get in touch with crews of other boats in the bay you are on anchor with: - check their boat name in social media (local sailing groups) and message them a friendly „hello!?“

- wait until they go to the beach or the bar in the bay and get easy in touch with them on neutral territory.

- in some areas its common to broadcast over radio on channel 7 at noon like a bay chat to exchange latest weather informations, local news and organize todays activities. feel free to be the initiative and call the other boats in your bay.

- if you prefer the direct way, approach the other boat with some distance from stern only, when you can spot someone outside or in the cockpit. wave friendly and wait for a positive reaction to approach. - never step a feet on another sailors boat if you are not invited to do that or if it`s not an emergency case, especially not by night, especially when you can`t see any light on the boat.


2. don`t pass a liveaboard boat close and never at stern.

boats are small and every square meter of space is precious livingroom to liveaboards. boaties like to be outside and close to nature as much as sun & rain allows it. also many sailors uses outdoor showers and love to be naked on their boat, in their home. respect their privacy. most dogs bark when they hear noises, especially by night. this is their nature instinct to warn their pack and protect their area. a dog is part of the crew on more boats you may think. your noise close to the boat at night makes him bark and the rest of the crew awake. there is always enough space for an alternative course, especially by night, don`t disturb others when they obviously demand their privacy or are asleep already.

3. boat parties are great and even more great if you are part of it.

boat parties mostly happen spontaneous and causes a lot of loud noise which wind can transport quite far over the water to a boat what is on anchor just right behind you. think about this and maybe choose the most far away boat for your late afterparty gathering and try not to disturb other sailors who want to rest after a long passage or have to start with the very first daylight the next morning. if you plan a party, just invite your neighbors, it`s another nice way to get in touch with them. invite them for a sunset beer to your boat and see where it goes..

.. and even some will not come, they will be much more relaxed in case of disturbing due to your good intentions.


4. always: think first, act then.

think about and plan things. rumbling noise and exhaust fumes from your engine(s) or generator when you do an engine check or charge your batteries can get blown just to the boat next to you and annoys people massively. the right timing often is everything. just consider wind direction/ tidal streams/ eating/ sleeping times. your clanging halyard may not disturb you but could drive others crazy, especially during the night when wind may pick up. it`s just a short pull & tighten up for you and everyone is happy.


5. give more than you take and you`ll get it back double. #KARMA

it is an unwritten rule among sailors that you should be willing to help and led a hand when needed. if a fellow sailor or boater is in distress, take a minute to see what they may need and how you can support. don`t hesitate. go and help and they will likely return the favor next time you are in needs and not few long lasting friendships have been startet exactly this way.


6. you want to be the perfect guest and leave a great first impression!?

if you are invited to another boat. always contribute some food and drinks. if it`s a first time invitation to a boat, bringing a small present showing you respect and gratitude, definitely its gonna be highly appreciated and when you leave, take your garbage with you. our most impressive guests even brought towels and their own drinking water.


in summary:

be polite and think about the consequences of your behaving. treat others as you would like to be treated or positively surprised yourself and you and others will always be (more than) fine. watch what/ how other sailors do and/ or ask. in general sailors are super friendly, they love to share informations and are always eager to help. isn`t it always better to get some precious helpful advice than upsetting your neighbors and risk looking like a dick..!?


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