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Boating Etiquette Makes for Smooth Sailing

Boating Etiquette Makes for Smooth Sailing

Typically, boating is a fun, relaxing activity. But occasionally situations arise that cause tension - between boaters, or between boaters and homeowners on the shore, or dock owners. Thankfully a little etiquette can go a long way to helping diffuse these situations or even avoiding them altogether.

One of the most common issues arises when boaters get too close to docks, other boats or shorelines. This issue is compounded when the boater is going too fast, or displays a disrespectful attitude when other boaters, or home/dock owners, point out the problem.

As the captain of the ship, the best thing you can do in these situations is be respectful and try to correct whatever the behavior is that has caused frustration. If at all possible, just move on, away from the area. If you do end up speaking to the party that’s frustrated, stay calm. Be polite. Do your best to diffuse the situation.

Loud music and loud boats can also be frustrating, especially for homeowners. Remember that sound carries over water, so if the music is loud to you, it’s loud on shore, too. It’s also a safety hazard for the driver, who may not be able to hear everything he or she needs to - so turn the music down. If your boat is very loud, try to avoid repeatedly going past the same area of shoreline. The homeowners will appreciate it.

Depending on where you boat, frustrated property owners could limit your access to the water if they feel boaters aren’t respectful or following the rules of the waterway. To try to keep issues from arising in the first place, follow these rules of thumb:

  • Stay at least 150 feet from docks and shorelines
  • Obey “No Wake” zones
  • When other boats are near, slow down.

You have a dog. You have a boat. You need MariDeck.

You have a dog. You have a boat. You need MariDeck.

Whether it's a pickup truck or a pontoon boat, there is something inherently wrong about getting into a vehicle and driving away without taking your dog along for the ride. For dogs, a ride in anything mechanized is a little slice of Doggie Heaven.

It’s impossible to shove off onto the lake, steering your pontoon boat out onto the water while watching your dog on land getting smaller and smaller, tail wagging slower and slower as he realizes he's not coming along for the ride. Talk about cruel and unusual! Have a heart. Bring your pooch on board.

Dogs are great. Dogs are wonderful. But wait! Dogs have claws.

Claws present several problems on the deck of a pontoon boat. First of all, without good flooring, dogs don't walk on boat decks. They ice skate. After about a half hour of slipping and sliding around like a drunk figure skater, your dog might start to wonder if he might have been better off back on shore chasing Squirrels or napping.

When you upgrade to high-end vinyl flooring from MariDeck, however, your dog — and your two-legged passengers — have a safe, slip-free deck that's cozy on the feet while offering all the traction any species could ask for.

The other problem with claws is that they scratch things up — yes, even fiberglass. While your dog is slipping and sliding, frantically trying to gain even the slightest bit of traction, he's digging those claws into your deck.

Finally, dogs go to the bathroom — only when they do, they don't actually go to the bathroom.

Even the best trained dog might succumb to his instincts in unfamiliar surroundings. If the worst — or the really worst — happens on MariDeck flooring, a few sprays with the hose and it's like it never happened. If the same thing goes down on traditional boat carpeting, your dog's mishap is now a permanent part of your boat deck. Like, forever.

Or at least until you upgrade to Marideck — which you should right this second! Your dog and your deck will thank you.

Pontoon Boat: Your Floating Stay-Cation

Pontoon Boat: Your Floating Stay-Cation

You don't have to go too far to get away.

You, after all, are among the elite. You have the hardware required to bring the party wherever you go. You invested in a floating memory-making machine.

You're a pontoon boat owner.

Leave the "all-inclusive" cruises to the schmos who are willing to settle for cramped cabins, crowded dinners and hack entertainment. Let the landlubbers scour Travelocity for the can't-miss, can't-wait deal of the century that comes along every four days. Let the masses pack their SUVs and head to their secret, pristine vacation hideaway that's a secret to everyone except for all the people who have Facebook.

You're a pontoon boat owner. For you, the vacation starts as soon as you shove off from the dock.

On regular boats, kids get bored quickly because they can't move around. Your floating living room, however, gives them all the stay-cation space they need to spread out and have some fun.

What would you do on vacation? Go fishing? Go water skiing?

Check and double check.

Unlike most boats, with their rigid seating structures, pontoon boats are comfy and cozy. Cuddle up and watch the sunset — or sunrise, depending on your stay-cation itinerary. Grab a pair of binoculars and see what kind of birds or other wildlife you can spy from your maritime sanctuary. Explore a channel or tributary you've never cruised before, or cut the engine and just relax, talk and enjoy each other's company — cell phone and iPad free.

The point is, spring is here. The kids will be out of school soon and a vacation doesn't sound like a bad idea. But you don't need to go very far to get away. When you invested in your pontoon boat, you entered an elite fraternity of adventurers and enthusiasts who don't need to travel to find excitement, adventure and relaxation.

You've got a pontoon boat. All of that goes wherever you go.