The St. Johns River: Boating Etiquette Tips

Just like driving a vehicle on the road, operating a boat is much the same but in the water. There are a few general rules of boating etiquette tips to follow for safety but also to be courteous to follow boaters.

boating etiquette wake
A good boating etiquette tip is to control the wake of the boat.

Wake Etiquette

Remember other boats are on the water and a large, rough wake may cause the other boats to rock or cause damage. Consider slowing your speed when passing near other boats to decrease the wake. Keep in mind to also control the wake upon your arrival and departure from the dock.

Signs are in place along the river for boaters to follow. In manatee zones the boat needs to maintain a slow speed.

Boating Signs of the St. Johns River

Waterways like the St. Johns Rivers are popular for boaters to enjoy. The river is home to a diverse eco-system that requires careful attention by boaters to protect these areas, especially when it comes to manatees. Posted signs in manatee zones require a slow speed and minimum wake so that the slow moving mammals have time to evade oncoming boats.

Accessing the many springs along the river also requires going slow or idling in order not to disturb the pristine, sensitive environment.

Take time to understand what the various signs and buoys mean while the boat is operating in the water.

Nautical Lingo

Do you know which side of the boat is port and which is starboard?

Port – the left side of the boat if looking at the bow.

Starboard – the right side of the boat.

So why don’t we just say left and right sides of the boat? The term starboard dates back to the days when all boats were operated by oars which were typically placed on the right side of the stern. The side opposite the oar was eventually referred to as the port side; the side used for loading the boat on the dock.

Now you’ll know which side is which when you pull into dock.

boating etiquette litter
Litter is a no-no in boating. Please keep the water clean.

Keep the water clean

Littering is a definite no-no of boating. The water is not a place to discard trash. Provide a receptacle for everyone on board to place trash that will be disposed of once on shore.

Boating Etiquette Tips

Most boaters have at least one thing in common, their love of the being out on the water. So it’s a nice gesture to wave in greeting other vessels. Those using a boat to get to their favorite fishing spots will often chat with other anglers about what’s biting. While there is lots of good advice along the way, be respectful of others who want to enjoy the solitude and quiet on the water.

Ready, Set, Launch!

It’s good boating etiquette to be ready to launch your boat upon arrival at the ramp. If you have to still load gear and park the tow vehicle, others waiting behind you may become impatient. Have everything in place before you get to the launch ramp.

Likewise when you return, clear the path the boaters following you in for day.

Contact Us

Launch your boat from our ramp and spend the day enjoying all that the St. Johns River offers. If you need a boat, we have plenty available to rent for the day or just a few hours if you prefer. Let our staff get you ready for a day of fun on the water. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates about the area, check out our website or give us a call at (352) 759-3422.

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About Castaways on the River

Castaways on the River offers boat rentals and lodging accommodations in beautiful Astor, Florida. Come experience the natural beauty of Central Florida's fresh waters.

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