Things to remember for good marina etiquette

view from the shore of sailing boats in a marina.

When we spend time in a marina, it’s important to keep the peace. Depending on the season, these places can be busy both on shore and on the water. It follows that when lots of people are sharing a space, tensions can occur. However, by remembering just a few pieces of common sense, we can all rub along nicely together. It might not be rocket science, but etiquette is a sometimes lost art. So what should we all remember when we’re docked in a marina?


Slow down! This is so easy to forget when you’re ready to call it a day and are returning to the marina. So don’t leave it too late to slow down. There may already be a designated No Wake Zone, and even if not, this is an expected principle to follow when entering the marina. 

Keep things tidy

Try not to leave clutter either on or off the boat. It’s easy to lose track of things, especially when you’re out as a family as kids are a law unto themselves. 


It’s worth separating out gear that’s coming ashore with you in advance. This means that you can make sure that any on boat gear can be quickly stowed away when you’re docked. Be neat and tidy with ropes, power cords and suchlike as they can create a trip hazard.


Rubbish and leftover food can quickly attract pests, or indeed a neighbouring Labrador if your marina is dog-friendly! Make sure you clear up on board and dockside, even if it’s late. 


Like many other ares of life, putting in a bit of extra effort will make things easier in the future. The same is true of docking your boat. It may take a little more effort, but dock stern in. It’ll be easier to get on and off the boat, and there will be a clearer walking path along the docks. Plus, there’s less manoeuvring to do tomorrow!


No one’s expected to be as quiet as a mouse, but if there’s one thing that people can be very sensitive about it’s noise! This is especially true when it comes to the evening. It’s perhaps exacerbated by the close proximity that marinas tend to create. 


The vibe will vary from marina to marina, so if you’re not in home territory be conscious of the existing ambience. Music and chatter is lovely (especially if you’re the ones hosting!) but remember that some will be trying to sleep. 


Turn everything off, even if you’re off to a shoreside restaurant but returning to the boat later. Similarly, if you’re coming in late, turn off louder kit like radio and generator before you enter the marina.


Very basic consideration might seem obvious, but when we’re busy or preoccupied, these things can easily be forgotten. Maybe you have new visitors to your boat, or are running to a tight schedule. Sometimes taking a moment to show consideration can help everything around you go that bit smoother. 

Local rules

If you’re lucky enough to own a permanent marina berth, you’ll know your local rules like the back of your hand. But what about when you’re visiting somewhere else? Most things are likely to be the same, but there might be some anomalies and the last thing you want is to upset the locals! It’s the locals who are your saviour here – ask those around you if there’s anything unusual you need to know. They’re likely to be more than keen to pass on their views!  

Using facilities

Promptness when using facilities is always appreciated by those around you. Only use fuel docks or launch ramps for as long as you need to. Whether you’re on home turf or are a visitor, you’ll know from experience how tiresome it can be waiting around unnecessarily when you want to crack on out to the open sea! 

Generally, good etiquette follows one basic principle; to behave yourself as you expect others to behave around you. It’s one of the key ingredients to a wonderful day’s sailing!

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