Docking Up to Chow Down?
the etiquette of docking to dine


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By Randall Taylor

There’s nothing like a nice summer day when you pack the family and friends into the boat and set off to a nearby dockside restaurant only to find a packed dock four boats deep with a string of boats drifting and waiting for a spot.

There are two types of people I see in this situation: the person who can maneuver his/her boat on a dime and must show everybody at the dock. Then there is the terrified soul who can’t steer a boat without playing demolition derby. This is fun to watch, as long as it’s not my boat at stake.

Here are a few tips on docking etiquette. Hopefully they will save you some grief and embarrassment, and maybe even a scratch or two.

First, remember the scope of docking a boat, especially around other boats. It’s like parking a Ferrari in a parking lot full of other Ferraris. Banging into another boat is like taking your keys to the side of the car next to you.

Second, take inventory of who is in line in front of you We learned this in first grafe.

Third, if possible, approach the dock while facing the current or wind. It makes docking much easier because your maneuvering requires less compensation for drifting.

Next, don’t be afraid to accept help from somebody dockside by throwing them a line. At the same time, if you have reservations about throwing a line to just anybody or prefer to dock all by yourself, don’t be shy to thank a bystander but to politely tell them to take a walk. Just be sure you don’t make a mistake, because you have an audience that loves to laugh at idiotic skippers who make mistakes.

Take charge in your own boat and tell passengers exactly what you want them to do before you even approach the dock.

And if you do tap or even hit a boat, don’t try to hide it. Examine both boats and approach the other skipper if he/she is not aware.

If you pull up to a busy dock where rafting (boats docked along side each other several deep) is allowed, you must accept that people may walk across your boat to get to theirs and that you are surrendering your boat to a dock hand who may move your boat. Put a towel out to cover upholstery if you don’t want it walked on. Also, you can never hang too many bumpers.

Last, if you happen to be the confident skipper and see the other type coming right for you, don’t yell first. Offer a hand first and then make suggestions later on the dock.

Hopefully these tips will save you a horrific experience. Oh, and so will tipping the dockboy.

Region One
Ft. Lauderdale
15th Street Fisheries
1900 SE 15th St.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 954/763-2777

Bimini Boat Yard Bar & Grill
1555 S.E. 17th St.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 954/525-7400

Marina Mar Of Ft Lauderdale
3100 E Oakland Park Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 954/563-7101

Florida Keys
Sombrero Marina Dockside Lounge
35 Sombrero Blvd
Marathon, FL 305/743 0000

Key West
Key West Yacht Club
2315 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West, FL 305/296-3446

Miami Beach
Francis on the Bay
1279 N. E. 79th Street
Miami Fl 33138 305/758-9888

Region Two
Apollo Beach
Lands End Marina
1212 Apollo Beach Blvd
Apollo Beach FL 813/645-5594

Cape Canaveral
Sunrise Marina
Cape Canaveral FL 407/783-9535

Region Three
Jacksonville Yacht Basin
Jacksonville FL 904/223-4757

Region Four

Four Winds Marina
16501 Stringfellow Rd
Bokeelia FL 239/283-0250

Lazy Flamingo Restaurant
16501-B Sring Fellow Road
Bokeelia, FL 33922 239/472-0555

Cape Coral Area
K C's River Stop
5819 Driftwood Pkwy
Cape Coral FL 239/549-5699

A Waterfront Marina
2131 Oleander St
St James City FL 239/283-0592

Ft. Myers
Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar
14301 Port Confort Rd.
Fort Myers 33908 239/489-0770

Marina 31 Restaurant & Lounge
Ft Myers FL 239/694-6865

Marco Island
Moran's Barge Restaurant Marina
at Goodland Bridge & San Marco Rd., Box 1219
Marco Island FL 34146 239/642-1920

Snook Inn
1215 Bald Eagle Dr.
Marco Island FL 33937 239/394-3313

Region Five
Marina Jack
#2 Marina Plaza
Downtown Bayfront
Sarasota, Florida

Tarpon Springs
Marker 25 Marina
1155 Anclote Rd
Tarpon Springs FL 34688 727/934-4474

Port Tarpon Marina Assn
531 Anclote Rd
Tarpon Springs FL 34688-1486 727/937-2200

Hernando Beach Seafood
4435 Caliente St
Hernando Beach FL 34607 352/597-5200

Longboat Key
Pattigeorge's Marina Restaurant
4120 Gulf Of Mexico Dr
Longboat Key FL 941/383-5111

Buccaneer Inn Restaurant & Marina
595 Dream Island Rd
Longboat Key FL 941/383-5565

St. Petersburg Area
Sea Critters Cafe
2007 Pass-A Grille Way
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706 727/360-3706

The Boat House
9555 Blind Pass Rd
St Pete Beach FL 33706 727/360-5116

Trappman's Crab Trapp & Shrimp Shack
11350 Gandy Blvd.
St.Petersburg Fl 33702 813/579-1414

Showboat Seafood Shack
4110 127th St W
Cortez FL 941/794-3766

Riverside Marina
6451 Riverside Dr
Yankeetown, FL 34498 904/447-2980

Twin Dolphin Marina Grille
1100 1st Ave W
Bradenton FL 941/747-8300