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Docking etiquette question??

Old 04-17-2008, 02:28 AM
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Default Docking etiquette question??

Wanted to pose a situation that I observed last summer for comment from the group. 28' Chaparral Cabin cruiser trying to dock at a busy waterway restaurant (Memorial Day Weekend) in windy conditions. No slips available so the Chap owner decides to drop a guy off on the pier. No room to nose in to the pier for the drop-off so the guy steps off and across the transom of a newer 27' - 28' CC (sorry, don't remember the make) that was slipped up with no one aboard. A few minutes later said guy is returning with a take out order and runs into a very upset 27' CC owner who witnessed the step-across from inside another restaurant. This question settles a debate: Is the 27' CC owner justified to really lose it concerning someone stepping across the transom of his boat?? Are you more apt to step off and walk on the boat if it's not so nice?? Thanks for the feedback,,,,,
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

"Permission to come aboard" comes to mind.

I think it is as simple as respect for others and assigning your value system to others. I would never walk onto someone else's boat without permission except in an imminent risk to person or property - ie to fend off another boat that is having trouble docking and about to hit it - and I would hesitate to do that unless I at least knew who the boat owner was. It makes no difference whether its a 30 yr old row boat or a spanking new viking.

While it's really no "big deal" to walk across someone's transom, if no damage is done, I don't think you can expect it to be accepted simply because it is done "because the dock is full". I don't think the owner should get irate, but you can't blame the person for being upset. It's that person's property and they have the right to say who may board or who may not board.

Some may say it's no big deal, but that is were I believe you are placing your value system on others. If the person who owns the boat doesn't want you to do something involving his/her boat, what right does anyone have to contradict the owners wishes? - whether you agree with the owner's position or not.

Unfortunately too, in todays day and age, you can't be too hospitable to strangers, especially in the marine environment where there are inherent dangers. I have been semi-involved in situations where people were "trespassing", slip and fell, and have sued. I've been surprised by some of the people who have done this - I never thought they were that type of person.
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

The 27' CC owner would have a melt-down at Red Eyes on a Sunday, then!

I would have to agree with chrisjb.
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:08 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

If there was no other option, I dont think it is a big deal. The guy had to get his food somehow, right?
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

DrJim - 4/17/2008 7:08 AM

If there was no other option, I dont think it is a big deal. The guy had to get his food somehow, right?
I understand respecting some else's property but it seems like there was no other option, I would have apologized to the owner of the CC and if he did not accept
pretty tell him to kiss my ass
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:16 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

Down here, you don't touch nobody elses stuff.

Can't dock, then go somewhere else. The owners of the place can either provide adaquate docking or lose business.

Personnally I wouldn't mind some one stepping across my boat to get where he needed to go, after all it's all about fun. However you give an inch and some folks take a mile. Some one steps across your transom this time, next week you are going to come back and either you are going to find six people having a party in your boat or your boat will be cast adrift, because the other boaters deem their need to dock greater than your's.


My priority would be not to cause any one a heart attack. So faced with that situation, I would first ask permission to step across some one's boat. If no one is around that particular boat I would find one that I could ask. Next if that didn't work I would consider the place to crowed for my liking and go on up the river to somewhere else.

On the other hand the owner of the docked boat didn't think enough about his boat to have some one maintaining a watch over it. He needs to understand he was/is in a public place and not everyone is going to share his view of what is right.
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:29 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

tprice - 4/17/2008 7:12 AM

DrJim - 4/17/2008 7:08 AM

If there was no other option, I dont think it is a big deal. The guy had to get his food somehow, right?
I understand respecting some else's property but it seems like there was no other option, I would have apologized to the owner of the CC and if he did not accept
pretty tell him to kiss my ass
Yes I agree

At some block Island Marinas you tie up 20 or so boats deep.

The restaurant could have a sign saying "Docked boats can and will be used for access to dock from other boats" to make it clear.

I think in these parts it is assumed that this could happen and is acceptable when you tie up at a public dock.

Boaters should not make a big deal about these things - I remember the days when we all waived to each other.
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

If you block access to a place of public assembly, causing financial harm to the restaurant owner and also hindering others from their freedom to gather (and eat!), and then disappearing, then you risk having the transom of your boat stepped on. I'm with tprice on this - the upset owner can eat sh.. - well, you know what I mean. This kind of attitude creates stress in an otherwise enjoyable atmosphere.
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

Darn it - I "mis-spoke." I thought the CC was only temporarily tied up. I'd have to say my comments were more harsh than they should be - but the CC owner should work with the restaurant owner on a more permanent solution.
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:12 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

twentynine - 4/17/2008 8:16 PM

Can't dock, then go somewhere else. ...

There you go.

I am seeing this more and more in the US with regard to how people drive, too. It seems as if people think their desire to get somewhere supersedes everyone else's desire to be there, too. Happens with lane changes, off-ramp access, you name it. Not surprised it would happen at a resturant dock, too.

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Old 04-17-2008, 05:33 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

Stay off my front lawn....out of my truck....off my boat....out of my house.....off my land.....IF YOU DO NOT
HAVE PERMISSION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....If you do not have permission...........YOU ARE A POTENTIAL TARGET !!!
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:53 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

Not had that first cup yet this morning?

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Old 04-17-2008, 05:57 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

Some very valid points by all. I'm hesitant to board someones private property without permission, even for just a step-across. The 27' owner was temporarily tied off (he was eating in another restaurant) and the boat left un-attended. I see his point for being upset but not for the total meltdown. My friend did a very good job of diffusing the situation in short order. However, I also think some people would be more apt to step across a tied up jon boat or another "well experienced" vessel even though they are still private property.
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:09 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

DrJim - 4/17/2008 4:08 AM

If there was no other option, I dont think it is a big deal. The guy had to get his food somehow, right?
There were all the other options. Wanting to get some food right then from that particular restaurant did not amount to Necessity.


tprice - 4/17/2008 4:12 AM
... but it seems like there was no other option ...
Did your face turn red when you wrote that?
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

All depends on what "she" looks like. With the right figure, access need not be granted.
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:43 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

I don't want to seem like back-tracking, and I am not, but LI brings up a good point. If it is standard and customary for boats to "raft up" for docking in an area, as is in a lot of places in the NE, I consider you giving permission for others to cross your boat by simply docking in that specific area. You should expect it, in that case, and even leave fenders out in anticipation for someone pulling up along side.

But this does not seem to be the case in this circumstance.

What may have really irked the owner was not only the fact that you ran across his boat, but you inched up your boat right next to his in basically unsafe conditions - busy waterway in windy conditions. Just not prudent.

It was also Memorial Day Weekend - a lot more inexperienced boaters out there on the major holiday weekends than usual.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:14 AM
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Default RE: Docking etiquette question??

Agreed - there are circumstances when it just isn't proper.

Anyway, this may be a bit off topic (sorry) but a funny story from about 15 years ago.

I invite some friends from work to go on the boat and we head out for a local restaurant/marina. The place is packed but there is one boat - a Sea ray Cruiser about our size with some people on it so I ask if I can raft up to them. The guy says no. So my friend Dick (one of our inspectors and an ex city law enforcement officer who seems to know everyone in CT) immediately takes over the conversation and gives the guy a little crap then says - well OK I see have a nice day. He tells me to just wait a few minutes and he is gonna make a call.

3 minutes later the dockmaster and part owner comes down and asks the Sea Ray guys what they are doing. They say they are about to go into the restaurant - the DM says well, you been about to go in for almost an hour now so leave. They exchange a very few words the Sea Ray guys are bitching about you can’t make us leave so the dockmaster (probably a 65 year guy but about 300 lbs and steroid type muscles) pulls a Bowie knife out of a dock box, cuts their lines and pushes the boat off and tells them he will cut their family jewels off if they ever tie up here again.

In the restaurant we get free drinks and Dick gets an apology from the owner for the “inconvenience”.

But at least we didn’t climb over the poor fellows boat.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:30 AM
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Default RE: Docking etiquette question??

I'm very particular with my boat and it would not be cool if someone just backed up and climbed aboard.
If I'm on the boat,I may very well make that offer,but don't take it upon yourself.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:33 AM
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I like this thread....it weeds out the A-holes!
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: Docking etiquette question??

It never ceases to amaze me what someone will threaten (or perform) bodily harm to someone else over.

"Be a target", get a knife pulled on, etc....ridiculous.
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