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Don’t Rock the Boat: Discover Boating Guide for Guests

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We used to spend our 4ths on the water, until Hurricane Katrina took our summer homes.  I miss it ~Kelli

Sunset Boating

Top five tips for getting (and keeping) an on-water invite for the year’s busiest boating day

Fourth of July is the biggest boating holiday of the year, with many of the nation’s 83 million boaters hitting the water. If you’re invited out on the water to take part in the celebration, make the most of the opportunity and show off your nautical know-how with Discover Boating’s top five tips on boating etiquette.

“For those getting invited out on a friend or family member’s boat this holiday it’s key to know your boating etiquette,” says Ellen Hopkins, Discover Boating lifestyle expert and Chicago-based boater. ”If you’ve never been invited on a boat before there are insider tips to help you navigate being the best boat guest and to ensure you’re invited back.”

Discover Boating’s top five boating etiquette tips include:

1. Dress the part. Nautical attire has been a classic fashion trend for decades for good reason. Not only are boat shoes one of summer’s hottest trends, but the soles are specifically designed to provide good grip on slick surfaces and avoid leaving marks on a boat’s decks and interiors.

2. Layering is key. Swimsuits are a must for any boating activity, but bringing extra layers will have you prepared for whatever the day (or night) brings. When out on the water the temperature can vary drastically from sun up to sun down. If heading out to catch Fourth of July fireworks, extra layers will keep you warm when the sun goes down.

3. Learn the ropes…literally! Don’t be afraid to talk the talk and walk the walk while on deck. Get up to speed on your nautical lingo at and even learn a few knots so you can lend the captain a hand and wow your fellow sailors. Simply ask the captain how you can help and you’ll make the perfect first impression.

4. Chip in. Bringing snacks and drinks might seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll win over the boat owner with mess-free items that won’t easily melt or stain. Dark colored beverages or foods are a no-no. Go the extra mile and bring sunscreen for the group, create the perfect on-water playlist or pitch in for fuel.

5. Capture the moments. What’s a better way to say thank you than with memories of your time on the water? Bring your camera or smartphone along to document the adventure and share with your boating crew (but be careful nothing goes overboard—plastic bags can ensure electronics return to dock with you). Impress your Facebook-savvy boat-owner by taking your thank-you photo up a notch and creating your very own boating movie using the new Welcome to the Water – Movie Maker application on Facebook.

Whether boating for the first time or a nautical pro, a little common sense and research will make all the difference in your on-water experience. It will also ensure your first invite out on the water won’t be your last. Visit for everything you need to know before you set sail.

About Discover Boating

Discover Boating is a national awareness campaign developed by the North American recreational boating industry. Discover Boating programs focus on improving the boating experience and building interest in recreational boating by providing a resource for Americans to explore the benefits, affordability and accessibility of the boating lifestyle. To find out more, visit

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