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Old 14-08-2018, 14:40   #1
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Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

As a new boater, what are the general 'rules' about tying up your dinghy?

i.e. If you anchor somewhere and then take your dinghy 'into town' or a marina, etc. are there some basic rules as to WHERE you can tie it up?

And is it almost always FREE to tie up a dinghy somewhere?

I have seen some areas in South Florida where they charge you to tie up a dinghy on their dock (a restaurant/bar that owns the property will charge like $10 but give you food/drink credit for it.)

Do most marinas have a designated 'Dinghy Area' where anyone can tie up their dinghy and leave it there? Or are other areas 'marked' in some way where you CAN or CAN'T put your dinghy?

Thanks for any insights!
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Old 14-08-2018, 14:52   #2
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

Many places have a dedicated dock but tie on a long line so that others can get in. Many places do not want transient dinghy traffic or charge. In Panama on the edge of the Canal they wanted $140/ month.

Go to the office and ask or you risk them locking the dinghy. We use a 12 ft 3/8ths chain that also goes through the gas can handle and always lock the engine to the transom.

In Baltimore they wanted $20 so we let a cruiser tie up to the outside of our boat that was paid up for a weeks mooring.
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Old 14-08-2018, 15:07   #3
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Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

Generally you either pay or your trespassing, there are a few free docks, but they are few. If unsure avoid a lot of grief and ask, often if you ask they may ask how long do you need to be there or something but say itís fine, if you donít ask sometimes they donít like that.
Often where you pay is pretty secure, with cameras etc, and you usually have to put a sticker on the outboard. Sometimes it come with shower privileges, access to water etc.
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Old 14-08-2018, 15:39   #4
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

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Generally you either pay or your trespassing, there are a few free docks, but they are few. If unsure avoid a lot of grief and ask, often if you ask they may ask how long do you need to be there or something but say itís fine, if you donít ask sometimes they donít like that.
Often where you pay is pretty secure, with cameras etc, and you usually have to put a sticker on the outboard. Sometimes it come with shower privileges, access to water etc.
Good advice. Do you typically call in on the radio first to ask where you can dock a dinghy (as well as pay for any fees) or do you typically just cruise up to the marina in the dinghy and look for other dinghy's etc, then tie off/lock it up, and then look for a nearby office to ask about fees, etc.?
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Old 14-08-2018, 16:05   #5
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

Active Captain has been my most reliable source up til now.
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Old 14-08-2018, 16:43   #6
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

It depends on where you are. many out of the way places have a dock for that... it brings business into town. Populated places are the pits sometimes and hard to find a spot. Smart ones have it.
Calling other boats nearby is useful for info. Or cruise around and ask ashore.
Usual Rules:
-Do NOT tilt your motor up, it damages other dingys.
-Long painter may be necessary as there may be 20 dingys on one little dock.
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Old 14-08-2018, 16:48   #7
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

Dinghy dock ediquitte: keep the motor down ( in the water ) so you don’t damage other boats.
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Old 14-08-2018, 16:56   #8
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

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Dinghy dock ediquitte: keep the motor down ( in the water ) so you donít damage other boats.
Exactly, you can destroy an inflatable that way, (and, put small annoying scratches on a hard dinghy).
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Old 14-08-2018, 17:01   #9
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

Agree with motor down and long painter. You should always lock your dinghy so that means a long chain (preferable) or cable.


I rarely paid to tie up the dinghy, but sometimes that is either necessary or desirable. Often that can be a big benefit as it will include security around the club or marina. Dinghies pulled up on beaches and locked to a tree are usually OK, but not always - very location dependent. Security information is widely shared so just keep your ear to the ground.


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Old 14-08-2018, 17:24   #10
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

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Active Captain has been my most reliable source up til now.
I've never used Active Captain before. I see it's a Garmin service. Do you have to have Garmin equipment and then subscribe to it? Or it's a web site you can get a membership to?

And you can just search for marinas around the world and then read info on what their dinghy fees are as well as WHERE you can dock them?
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Old 14-08-2018, 18:23   #11
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

Dinghy dock etiquette, do not tilt your motor up
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Old 14-08-2018, 18:30   #12
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

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Dinghy dock etiquette, do not tilt your motor up
Except too many people donít care
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Old 14-08-2018, 18:43   #13
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

Just a scenario I saw a few weeks ago.... my camera lens was not wide enough to capture all the dinghies there.... at least the outboards were down!
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Old 14-08-2018, 19:02   #14
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

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Originally Posted by boatingnewbie View Post
I've never used Active Captain before. I see it's a Garmin service. Do you have to have Garmin equipment and then subscribe to it? Or it's a web site you can get a membership to?



And you can just search for marinas around the world and then read info on what their dinghy fees are as well as WHERE you can dock them?


The active captain thing is in flux, it used to be widely available on different nav programs, not so much now.
If you are in the US, traveling the ICW in particular, itís hugely useful.
My Garmin blue chart app still works for now, but its days are numbered Iím sure.
Active Captain currently seems to work on Aquamap, maybe others Iím unsure
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Old 14-08-2018, 19:16   #15
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Re: Dinghy Dock Rules? (Or Wild West?)

We have never paid a dinghy fee except ar 79th st basin on the Hudson. It was the worst marina with the nastiest staff we have seen in seven years. Throughout the Caribbean we never are charged anywhere for a dinghy.

Lock your gas can to the motor, motor to the dinghy, dinghy to the dock. At night, lift the dinghy out of water and lock to the boat. The boat is your home. The dinghy is your car.

Leave your motor down. Mind where you leave the dinghy and how it might interact/damage another boat. If the area security looks poor, stay away. Never leave it overnight or especially late. We paint the motor so it is harder to fence. Our equipment is 2002 and maintained. It looks old.

Go Blue.
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