A lot of websites that claim to explain responsible boating actually only list safety practices. I'm all about safety (I'm the oldest 26 year old in the world), but safety tips can only carry you so far when etiquette is being questioned.
The problem I find most on the lakes around here is a lack of courtesy and common sense. The problem with not having either of those things is that they're hard to teach. The same people who speed on the highway while towing a boat are more than likely the same people who will drive a boat recklessly. That means if you see them driving crazy on the road, be aware of the boat they'll have on the water. Here's what we've always done, keep in mind that etiquette doesn't start on the water, it starts on the ramp.
At home and the ramp:
1. Get your boat ready at home as best as you can. Put the stuff in the boat that won't fly away BEFORE you get to the boat ramp.
2. Don't speed driving to the ramp... don't be that guy I mentioned up there ^^^ Not only does it make you look bad, poorly attached seat covers can take flight (trust me).
3. Once you make it to the ramp, stage your boat. Turn on your blower, put the plug in, and load any gear that you haven't already (ice chest, towels, bags... etc).
4. Once the boat is staged, the only things you should have left to do is put it on the water and add your crew. It's best to have someone who can drive the boat already in it once you get it in the water. That way they can take it to the dock and load the crew while you pull the truck and trailer to a parking spot.
On the water (these don't have an order really):
• Mind the no-wake or slow zones! They're there for a reason. That doesn't only mean that you should go slow while in the zone. It also means if your pulling a rider stay away from the the buoys. Last weekend a surfer and wakebaorder both were driving so close to the no-wake buoy they could have touched it. It caused chaos at the ramp. Wakes were coming in and making it harder for others to load/unload their boat. When it makes it harder to load the boat, it backs up the ramp.
• As mentioned before, no power turns. Bring it to an idle and let the rudder turn you around. The only time you should power turn is to avert some form of danger.
• Don't drive too closely to another boat. Give yourself at least 2 rope lengths between you and them if at all possible.
• Watch where you're going! Sounds obvious... but to some people it's not. Use your mirror to watch your rider while keeping your head FORWARD.
• Yield to boats that have the right-of-way. If you're pulling out of a no wake zone and see a boat coming your way, just wait a second to let them go by (this is where courtesy comes in to play).
• If your trying to get your rider up real quick before a boat passes by, don't! Just let the boat go by, get the rollers out of the way, and get them up once you're clear.
• If you see a rider down, give their boat a thumbs up. That way they don't worry if you see them or not.
• If you're anchoring your boat to chill for a while, do it in an appropriate area. Don't do it in the line everyone has been using (again, this is just courtesy).
• Don't give the sheriff or game warden attitude... they just want to make sure you have the appropriate safety equipment and they'll move on. It's that simple. Much like a traffic stop, showing a little respect can go a long way.
I'll think of more after this weekend. I'm bound to see mistakes then
The best etiquette to practice is that of awareness. Watch out for those not paying attention or not caring. They're everywhere!