How To Be A Welcome Guest On A Boat

1. Offer to Buy the Fuel:  Boats burn a lot of fuel.  Guests should offer to pay for the fuel bill (or a sizeable portion of it, at a minimum).  The boat owner is already covering the cost of wear and tear, dockage, monthly payments, marine insurance, licensing, repairs, storage fees, and a potentially lengthy list of other fees.  Buying fuel is not too much to ask of a guest who has come along for the ride.

Avoid potentially awkward situations by making an offer to pay the fuel costs without waiting to be asked to contribute! Most boat owners wouldn't ask a guest to chip in towards the costs, but many of those same boat owners wouldn't refuse an offer either!

2. Bring Lunch on a Day Trip:  The captain typically gets to the boat early, sets things up and runs the boat.  The least a guest can do is offer to feed him or her.

3. Help the Captain:  Guests generally want to help, but often don't know what they SHOULD do or SHOUD NOT do.  Stand by and let the captain give instructions.

4. Don't Force It:  How many hasps, hinges and catches are yanked and broken by boating guests annually?  Too many.  If it doesn't unzip, unsnap, or open easily - please ask.

5. Stay Out of the Captain's Way:  A boat is a small space.  The person running it often has a lot on his or her mind, such as weather, waves, where the fish are (and sometimes even - "where are we?").

6. Don't Touch That Dial:  Electronics are the captain's turf. Don't fiddle with the dials, punch buttons or try to make things beep.  If guests want to learn about the boat's electronics they should ask questions, or better yet, read a manual while running out on the lake.

7. Docking is Serious Business:  Docking can be one of THE most stessful times for a captain.  Wind and weather can make a typically easy docking...not.  When guests are gathering belongings and generally milling about, it can make the boat list (lean in one direction).  It makes docking difficult at best.   As a guest, either man your designated position while docking, or sit still.

8. Clean-Up:  A good captain wants to keep a clean boat.  Guests should offer to help at the end of the day.   Guests should also realize that chores must be done quickly and efficiently, and the captain can't go anywhere until the chores are done.

9. Help Out:  There are countless hours of "invisible work" that goes on in order to make a boat ready for use... like waxing and polishing in the Spring, winterizing in the Fall, bottom painting and many other jobs required to keep a boat in shape.  ANY offer with these things is always appreciated, and likely guarantees you an invite back!

10. "Flush" Only What You've Eaten First:  If you didn't eat it first, don't put it in the Head (Toilet). NOTHING but marine toilet paper and what you've already eaten (or drank!) should go into a marine toilet.  Marine toilets and pump systems are "delicate" at best, and no one wants to be out on a lake with a non-working toilet because of an avoidable situation.

These guidelines are just that - guidelines.  However, if you follow these simple suggestions you can almost guarantee that the folks that had you out on their boat once...will gladly have you out again and again!



Northern Pike Lake Trout Walleye Muskie Perch Sauger Crappie Smallmouth Bass