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Boat Protocol for Snorkelers

Knowing how to display polite boat etiquette, along with some considerate behaviour, is imperative for the safety of everyone on board.

Furthermore, when snorkelers demonstrate proper boating protocols it also adds to the overall enjoyment for them and for others when venturing out to sea.

Preparation for Embarking: Jump On Board

It is very important to be familiar with the proper boating etiquette on snorkeling boats.

You may already have experience in many different types, shapes, and sizes of boats. Nonetheless, for some it will be the first time for boating at sea.

Small inflatable boats (e.g. RIB) can be unstable and difficult to get on and off (embark and disembark).

Whereas, large luxury cruise liners tend to be easier to embark – even though they have strict boating rules and regulations. They use them to protect and promote good boat worthy behaviour among the passengers.

Unless you recently completed your seaworthy marine training, we are confident that our polite and proper boating etiquette guide will add to your snorkeling experiences when conducted from sailing craft.

Here's the bottom line...

Preparing for boat travel actually starts on land. The weather and sea conditions will influence the clothing needed for a snorkeling trip.

Even so, you should also prepare for abrupt changes in the air temperature and precipitation. Assuming you have checked the local conditions for the day, most of your carry-on stuff is likely to be small and lightweight.

Clothing and UV Protection for Boat Trips

You may need to consider taking some extra UV sunscreen protective clothing items (e.g. a trendy rash guard to wear). So, it could be a hat or cap to shield your forehead, nose, ears, and neck.

Other useful lightweight extras might include a windbreaker or a fleece. Clothing with a hood will offer protection from the wind and spray. The weather is unpredictable and it is always better to be over prepared – rather than sorry!

  1. Shade your eyes from high-energy visible light and UVA and UVB sunlight rays.
  2. A good pair of sunglasses will help to protect your eyes from the strong glare of the sun and the harshness of the wind. Polarized protective eye-wear may also prevent eye damage and discomfort from intense sunlight.
  3. A final thought about your darkened glasses if they are expensive Ray Bans. Take care not to lose them on the boat or leave them in a place where they could get smashed or lost overboard.
  4. Take at least one towel with you on the boat. Towels are always useful for drying your snorkeling equipment and underwater cameras. A larger towel or chamois works great for wiping yourself down after swim sessions.

Boating Etiquette Tip: Take your seasickness prevention medication at least thirty (30) minutes before boarding the boat.

Boat Dry Area and Gear Station

One of the most useful snorkeling accessories to have on a boat trip is a waterproof dry bag. We do not mean an ultra-thin supermarket plastic carrier bag, or a conventional zip bag.

Boating Etiquette when Snorkeling | Proper Boat BehaviourWe refer to a purpose specific dry bag that is meant to be waterproof and will not leak.

It will protect your personal valuables and water-sensitive belongings from the rain and boat splashing.

Boat trippers and snorkelers should not be without a general purpose sturdy dry bag.

They are available in different sizes and colours to match your snorkel gear. It will keep your keys, wallet, clothes, and food dry inside.

Finally, before you make your way on board, consider whether the boat is equipped with enough water and snacks. Dehydration and hunger are common when you are swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving.

If you take extra water bottles along, try to have the reusable types. They are better for the marine environment and more hygienic for sharing with friends and the boat crew.

Boating Etiquette while On Board

Be sure of the time to show up and the boat's scheduled time to leave the dock. Being late is bad manners – not to mention frustrating for other passengers.

If you are alert and courteous, and arrive early, it is customary to ask for permission to climb on to the boat. This is showing proper boat etiquette if the crew members are not immediately ready for departure.

The skipper of the vessel will have his favourite customs and protocols. So, listen carefully to any boat briefings and set up your gear according to the rules.

Proper Protocols for Boat Briefings

If no-one gives a briefing on the safety rules and guidelines of the vessel, it would be a good idea to ask a crew member to do so.

You need to know where to locate the safety equipment in the unlikely event of a serious emergency. Learn where they store life Jackets, flares, first aid kits, and make a mental note of where the VHF radio is situated.

Another safety issue you need to know about is learning what system the crew use to inform snorkelers of a recall (e.g. to get back on board). There are a few different methods to recall swimmers from the water if the boat needs to make an urgent departure.

Mooring and Anchoring

When you have finished the in-water snorkel activities, you should already be familiar with the location of the mooring anchor. Thus, you should have an idea of the recommended way to exit the water and get back on board. Most boats will have a swim ladder to use.

Boat ladders are often fixed at the stern of the boat (rear) close to the propeller. Always be extra cautious near engine rotors. Observe boat propeller safety rules for preventing snorkeling and scuba diving accidents.

You should remove your snorkeling fins before you attempt boarding via a boat ladder. When you are back on deck, find the fresh water rinse buckets. Clean your snorkeling mask, fins, cameras, and try to dry them without delay to avoid mould growth.

Boat Etiquette Tip: It is good manners to stay organised and keep your gear tidy. Always consider the safety issues regarding smoking cigarettes on boats.

How to Disembark at the Dock

It would be decent and polite to ask if the crew needs any help before you get off. Always take a second look to avoid leaving common items such as clothing, shoes, cameras, towels, and hats.

Most crew members will remove your trash from the boat for you. Nonetheless, if you had good service on board, it is customary to tip the staff and crew.

A relaxing day snorkeling in the water from a boat is usually full of fresh air, refreshing, and exciting. So, follow the code of boat etiquette next time you are out at sea and stay safe on board.

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