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Boating Etiquette: Watch Your Wake
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  • Boat Handling & Seamanship
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Wake Etiquette

There’s nothing else quite like a day of cruising, but while you’re out there having fun, don’t forget about the waves your boat is kicking up, otherwise known as wake. Those waves might be fun for surfers and wakeboarders, but for other boaters, they can be an annoyance and even a hazard. A speeding vessel’s wake can jostle those on another boat’s deck, potentially causing them to drop dangerous items–hot coffee, for example–or even be thrown overboard in rare cases.

There are several ways to reduce the effect of your wake and improve the experience of everyone on the water. Here are a few of the best tips for proper wake etiquette:
  1. Decrease your speed as you’re approaching another vessel or other sensitive object nearby.
  2. If you’re overtaking a boat, allow a wide berth. Use your VHF radio to call the other boat on channel 16 or 9 and let them know that you intend to pass.
  3. If you are the vessel being overtaken, slow down and allow the other boat to pass. This lets the passing boat reduce it speed and, as a result, throw less wake.
  4. Abide by the wake signs posted out on the water, and be careful not to create big wakes in crowded areas or mooring fields.