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Old 13-01-2006, 11:42   #1
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Dinghy etiquette

Hi All,

Forgive this novice question, but I've just recently gotten interested in sailing (cruising) and am in the early stages of formal training. I think I've read every book on the subject (haha) and keep getting more excited.

Let me get to the point... Cruisers tend to anchor and go to shore in their dinghy which makes perfect sense to me. I was wondering what the protocol was for dinghy's once ashore. Some questions that come to mind are:

How do you know where to leave your dinghy?

Can you lock your dinghy? Do most people?

Do you take oars at all times incase your motor dies (ugh)?

Are there any local books for the areas that you are cruising that show where to leave dinghy's at popular anchorages?

If there are docks and slips (but you choose to anchor) are there places to leave dinghy's? Do they charge for that?

Any other useful information would be appreciated and make me feel comfortable on my first cruise :-)

Thanks,

Marc
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Old 13-01-2006, 12:12   #2
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Prudence dictates

Prudence dictates that you ALWAYS take your oars. Assume that your engine will quit at the worst possible time and place. Take a handheld VHF with you if you are around others who monitor. When you are all alone, like in some remote spot where you take the dinghy to go diving or fishing, go nowhere that you do not feel that you cannot get to safety using the oars.

Carefully monitor the currents and winds when you are alone with no help around in order to maintain prudence regarding being able to row back to safety. Practice rowing your inflatable for some distance to become proficient at using your body efficiently with the power of the strokes.

Be aware that you might have to actually partially flood your inflatable in order to get off a shore with breaking waves that otherwise always push you back ashore when attempting to get past the breaker line. The added inertia helps you to push throught the breakers with a reasonable attitude to your dinghy.
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Old 13-01-2006, 17:09   #3
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If beaching, pull or carry up above tide. Small anchor is useful for beach or shallow area.
Marinas have dingy docks - best to ask - don't leave where boats load / unload. Short stay, or if you are spending money @ marina, usually no charge, but ask.
Or act like a newbie and just leave the damn thing right in the center of the action. Send wife to retrieve.

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Old 13-01-2006, 17:37   #4
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When in doubt as to the location of a dinghy dock near your anchorage, it doesn't hurt to approach a boat that's already anchored there and ask. Guide books may also be good sources of information on the "where" issue.

One point of etiquette that is often overlooked: when you get to a dinghy dock, particularly one that is crowded, leave plenty of line between the boat and the dock. That allows more space for more boats.

As for locking your boat, it is absolutely OK, and in some cases, essential. If we are in an area where theft is common, we also try to haul the dinghy up on its davits each night. And certainly, if most people are locking their dinghies, you will want to follow suit.
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Old 13-01-2006, 18:09   #5
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Dinghy parking

Check for rattlesnakes under the park bench, especially near Rattlesnake Island. I walked right by one in bare feet.
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Old 14-01-2006, 04:02   #6
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As Harriet observes, propriety & utility* suggest that you ... leave plenty of line between the boat and the dock ... Set a stern anchor, approach dock and offload all but most nimble crew. Fasten bow line (I often use a 3/6" SS lifeline & lock) to dock, pull back on stern anchor and cleat rode, so that dinghy rides at least 1.5 lengths away from dock (or more). Pull yourself back to dock (raising rode catenary), & disembark.

*Observe tidal ranges, ensuring that the dinghy cannot ride up to, and under dock, as tide rises.

The 35 Ft. long lifeline, used as a bowline, is locked through the transom & outboard, and taken through a bow eye.

I always carry a rigged dinghy anchor (about 80' rode - 75' rope + 5' chain), oars, bailer, flashlight, whistle, and a couple of fenders & docklines - and often a small tool kit. Ive spent an (unintended) night anchored out (Bahamas) in the dinghy, and would have appreciated a blanket or jacket.

FWIW,
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Old 14-01-2006, 10:55   #7
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Quote:
GordMay once whispered in the wind:
I always carry a rigged dinghy anchor (about 80' rode - 75' rope + 5' chain), oars, bailer, flashlight, whistle, and a couple of fenders & docklines - and often a small tool kit. Ive spent an (unintended) night anchored out (Bahamas) in the dinghy, and would have appreciated a blanket or jacket.

FWIW,
Gord
Don't tell me that May had kicked you out of the house/boat.

Back to dinghy's. Also if you radio to the marina, they may tell you the procedure at their location. The back side of fuel docks is common here but some no way. I too, carry a long SS cable to lock up the dinghy.
And yes on the oars. I broke a shear pin on the out board once and it was a relief that I had the cheap breakdown oars otherwise I would have had to swim. The wind was blowing me farther away from the boat................_/)
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Old 15-01-2006, 01:11   #8
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Old 16-01-2006, 14:59   #9
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and please leave the engine down
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Old 17-01-2006, 10:04   #10
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Thanks for the great information!

I just wanted to thank everyone for the great information. It appears that common sense falls into most of the decisions and I'm sure after time it will become second nature!

Marc
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