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Old 06-27-2010, 09:44 PM
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Question Anchoring Etiquette on Private Dock

We've recently been blessed with a waterfront home.
We have a dock (no boat yet) and I guess because the house was
empty for about a year we have had people both land on the dock to fish
from it and tie up to one of our anchoring pilars....

While we want to be neighborly and good fellow mariners we feel a bit uncormfortable with them being there and worry about liablity and yet don't want to be nasty in asking them to leave as theyr are mostly OK and as long as they are not loud and drunk.

But selfishly at the same time they're fishing out my fishing hole!


What is the Anchoring Etiquette these days?
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:03 PM
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I believe that the general etiquette is to never use a private dock except in an emergency. Around here it's easy to tell a private one (Portland OR) because it's always directly below a $1M+ house or neighborhood on the river, and the closest people come to those docks is to anchor near them for fishing.

I don't know what your area is like, but a 'private dock' sign that was readable from a good distance would be all you'd need here and would be considered totally appropriate. Maybe the dock squatters are just ignorant and need a pointer?

Basically, it's your stuff and your liability - the etiquette is yours to decide.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:38 PM
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I agree. A sign on the dock lets everyone know it is private. If they still get on the dock without permission then you aren't being nasty running them off, they are in the wrong.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:01 AM
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If you're concerned about who exactly you might be running off (and rightfully so in a new neighborhood), after a week or so of having the Private Dock sign placed...consider a call to the local Marine Patrol and ask them to do a "safety check" on the boat that's encroaching. One or two checks at your dock will spread the word.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:32 AM
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This has come up on my locals forum a few times. Some interesting points came up.

There's a USCG reg that you can't untie someone else's boat without their permission and doing so makes you liable for damages. Since the "Jone's Act" has finally defined "navigable waters" in such a way that a waterway entirely within one state and not accessible to interstate commerce is no longer within USCG jurisdiction, this might not apply to you.

Trespass laws do apply to docks. If you've posted a dock and there's an un-authorised boat call your local water cops. Ours will come and impound it at our Lake Winnipissaukee but I don't know about the seacoast unit or other waterways. You may be referred to a local towing service.

Sugestions with various degrees of seriousness have included: Leave a nice/nasty note to inform the owner that their boat is not welcome and may be towed at their risk and expense. Have "Warning Notices" printed on stickers and place them in the middle of the windshield. Put a "Bill for services" on the boat. Put a "For Sale" sign on it. Toss duck bait like bread and sardines on the boat. Take it off the dock and anchor it a short swim ance away (to heck with USCG reg.s ...).

Good luck!
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Last edited by Kamper; 06-28-2010 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:46 AM
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I'd take the direct approach.

Walk down talk to'em. And just tell them it is your dock and you will shortly be mooring your own boat, so they need to make plans to have another place to tie off or fish.

Then if that don't work, nuclear tipped ASROC!
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish1234 View Post
We've recently been blessed with a waterfront home.
We have a dock (no boat yet) and I guess because the house was
empty for about a year we have had people both land on the dock to fish
from it and tie up to one of our anchoring pilars....

While we want to be neighborly and good fellow mariners we feel a bit uncormfortable with them being there and worry about liablity and yet don't want to be nasty in asking them to leave as theyr are mostly OK and as long as they are not loud and drunk.

But selfishly at the same time they're fishing out my fishing hole!


What is the Anchoring Etiquette these days?
To start wit, you don't "anchor" to or on a dock.

It's your private dock and unless you've given people permission to use it, they are trespassing. More importantly, if they are injured on your dock or their boat is damaged by the dock, you could be held liable.

The suggestion to put up one or two signs stating that it's a private dock and "No Trespassing" is a good one.

If some people are in the habit of using your dock, you may have to speak with them about it.

Suggestions to untie the boat and let it drift away, move it, throw garbage on it, etc. are pretty stupid. These people know where you live, you don't know where they live or what type of people they might be.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:09 AM
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...and until you know who the players are in your neighborhood, doing something aggressive could tag you as a jerk; not a fun way to start a relationship with the locals.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:13 AM
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Talk it over with the closest neighbors... They may know who the folks are who are using your dock...
They may also have a boat they can tie to your dock for a few weeks, so that the folks who are used to using the dock will see the private property sign and a boat tied up there and will likely move on without your having to confront them...
Then if that doesn't work start calling the police..


More creative solutions...
If it is primarily young people doing it, get one of the high frequency sound generators which will drive them out of their minds while you can't hear it...
Or play a short passage of classical music on an endless loop from a speaker pointed at the dock (talk this over with the neighbors first)...
Borrow a large, aggressive dog for a few weeks and tie him on the dock with enough line to roam up and down... Make sure he has adequate shade, water, etc...
Spray BEAR MACE on the deck - just be sure you are upwind and remember to wash the deck off very well before you use it... This stuff is nuclear warfare so be very careful when applying it...

For boats they just leave there I chuckled over the tossed bread to draw the gulls..
You can also throw slices of red beets on their pretty white decks - the gulls are not fussy and beet stains are a pain to remove (but they do come off so no one can claim defacing their property)...
Get those stick on "you are a jerk" signs they offer for putting on car windshields when some ahole takes your paid-for parking spot, which are just this side of impossible to peel off...

Then there is the guy with a tiny, private island who always had problems with people pulling up on his sand beach and making a mess - after a while the local police said they just didn't have time to come out there 6 times a day to remove the trespassers... Being that he is older and has a full beard, and he routinely mowed the lawn and tended the garden in the buff, when the boaters would ignore the large sign that said no trespassing he would come ranting and raving across the lawn, stark naked, and swinging a large garden hoe, which sent panicked boaters scrambling into their boats... Within a few weeks the word about the insane hermit got all over the local marinas and voila, no more boaters... This may not thrill your neighbors, though...

cheers
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:24 AM
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I suspect your dock is empty of items because you just bought the house?

I would first set up some of those plastic chairs and table or a lounger or two. That would indicate that the house is now lived-in and that the dock is now used by the owners.

Failing that, then the sign. I would do the sign second because the less signs on the waterways the better, but I would add one if they ignore the obvious fact that the dock is an occupied private one.

Good luck.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menzies View Post
I

I would first set up some of those plastic chairs and table or a lounger or two. That would indicate that the house is now lived-in and that the dock is now used by the owners.

Failing that, then the sign. I would do the sign second because the less signs on the waterways the better, but I would add one if they ignore the obvious fact that the dock is an occupied private one.

Good luck.
X2 good points. Look at other docks and see whether they have signs...you don't want to stick out. Menzies has the best idea for a socially-acceptable method of annoucement.

.....what? Menzies and socially-acceptable in the same post????
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:31 AM
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I to live on the water in Fl and have a dock. Many fishermen come around the dock and fish day and night but they don't anchor or tie up to the dock. By law they can anchor right next to your dock but cannot tie up to it. Put a sign on the dock saying your welcome to fish here please just don't tie up to my dock.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:35 AM
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I can assure you that you will be held responsible from an insurance and legal point of view if some one is using your dock with or with out your approval, and God forbid, gets hurt or worse dies. You must protect yourself with proper sianage and insurance. Good neighbor or not will not make any difference to the lawyers.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:30 AM
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I am not shy about my property. Especially after having stuff stolen off my dock/boat.

I don't mind people fishing - shoot I have lights set up to attract fish - even a bojo fishing light. I do mind if someone sets foot on my dock - or ties up to a tie pole if they are not invited.

Deck chairs/no trespassing sign probably the first step. Escalate from there.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:28 AM
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http://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums/...highlight=dock

Here's is the link to the forum I mentionned earlier. More info including....


"Here's your sign!"

http://www.u-neak.com/no_docking.htm
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:37 AM
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i never had a problem with the dock but i have a boat ramp in my yard. when i first moved in people were using the ramp and parking in the yard. the local sheriffs said to leave a note on the windshield and record the tag number. if they came back i could have them towed. maybe you could do kinda the same regarding the dock. a nice note and a pic of the boat then get nasty.
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:01 AM
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aim your water sprinklers in the right direction. 100% sucess rate
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:41 AM
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I forget where I saw them maybe in the northern catalog, motion activated pest away water cannons. They will deter loitering but will still allow a stranded boater to tie up as long as they don't mind getting wet.
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:12 AM
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aim your water sprinklers in the right direction. 100% sucess rate
Now that's just plain childish.

A simple "Private Dock - No Trespassing" sign is sufficient.
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Skip R View Post
I to live on the water in Fl and have a dock. Many fishermen come around the dock and fish day and night but they don't anchor or tie up to the dock. By law they can anchor right next to your dock but cannot tie up to it. Put a sign on the dock saying your welcome to fish here please just don't tie up to my dock.
As for the fishing hole in front of your dock. It is public property. Nothing you can do about it.

As for the dock. That is your private property. Just take the direct approach and be nice about it. If all else fail. You could always put up a fence.
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