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Dock Etiquette Print E-mail

by Pammy Penny.

DOCK LINES. How many times have you stumbled over a sloppily coiled dock-line as you walk down the dock after a salubrious beer or two with friends from a nearby boat? Muffled expletives as you hop from one foot to the other whilst trying to punish the rope you’ve just tripped over. A vicious kick to the offending rope leaves you sprawled on the dock nursing a grazed arm, bloody nose and an even more agonising stubbed toe.

If you borrow my hose coil it up. Clean it up buddy!  

Round two with the offensive rope leaves you in a sweaty tangled mess as you somehow manage to hog-tie yourself and almost choke on the insidious object as it takes on a mind of its own and does a credible imitation of Day of the Triffids.

Make coiling your dock rope a fun pastime. Maybe you could instigate a competition for the local kids with prize for the most neatly coiled rope.

Don’t undo your neighbour’s dock-line and tie your own to their dock-cleat. This happened to me recently and resulted in our boats swinging very close to each other. Very rude.

Most marinas seem to have one dock trolley per 50 boats.

You get back from shopping with seemingly hundreds of bags of food for your next big sail and lo and behold! not a dock trolley to be found. You try searching in all the usual spots e.g. the last dock over where the guy seems to have a never-ending boat sale from dock trolleys. This time you are out of luck and by the time you make numerous trips back and forth to your boat  all your refrigerated food weeps silently into a congealed mass of unrecognisable bits.

Just yesterday I saw a dock trolley sprawled in the middle of the dock with a brand new anchor chain spread out in all directions. The boat owner left it like this the whole day, seemingly oblivious to the quarantine officers, who have been flat out lately, stumbling past  carrying heavy bags of quarantined goods.

Proud to be an Aussie .. No. Not yesterday.

Messy dock-lines mean upset neighbours.

Recently my old hose was consigned to the dumpster after leaving oozy green slime lines over the deck.

I invested in a top-of-the-line hose that supposedly lasts for 100 years, coils itself automatically, turns the tap on by itself and sings a great rendition of Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head (well maybe I exaggerate just a bit).

It seems all the over-nighters that come in and can’t be bothered to haul out their own hose are drawn to my gleaming iridescent blue hose curled into resplendent coils by my tap.

Hey! I don’t mind if you use my hose but

  • Return it straight away. Don’t leave it sitting on your boat whilst you down a few coldies.
  • Coil it up and leave as you found it. Don’t just chuck it over your shoulder in the general direction of the tap so the next mug who wanders by trips over and falls in the drink.
  • I need the fittings more than you. Don’t steal my fittings inadvertently or otherwise. By the way I have a spare hose and shower attachment and can fire off a needle-sharp spray of water with deadly accuracy.

Kev coils up the rope.

A while ago we had some well intentioned but very annoying dock neighbours.

We would get back from our day’s activities and within minutes ... No ... seconds! they would race upstairs and waylay us with a minute by minute monologue of their day. No chance for us to escape and we would just give up and gaze longingly down into our fridge dreaming of an icy-cold beer.

We ended up getting large cardboard photos of myself and my husband and attaching them to long poles.

Every time our have-a-chat neighbours came up on deck we’d race downstairs, hoist up our cardboard photos whilst the neighbours chatted on for hours wondering why they didn’t get a response from us. We are currently working on a new prototype with moveable mouths and a built-in recorder with typical responses loaded in.

Hey, if you are a have-a-chat person do a course on body language and I’m sure you will learn that a person lying prostrate on the deck, groaning softly with their hands on their eyes would rather not be talking to you for two hours about the rust stain you found behind the galley stove.

Okay this is not strictly dock etiquette but it needs to be said.

Invariably there are peak times when we all want to have a shower, be it first up in the morning or late afternoon before the night’s festivities.

A few basic courtesies are not that hard to follow:

  • Don’t leave crusty bits of soap and old razors in the shower cubicle. There are bins provided for this.
  • If there is a line-up everyone is invariably trying to get ready for a big night, just like you. Why not comb your hair, clean your teeth, and apply makeup (if you are that way inclined) outside the shower cubicle.
  • Don’t be a shy. You can chat to the other 10 people waiting while you comb your hair and might even be voted ‘Miss/Mr Shower Cubicle 2011’ as the impatient hordes mutter obscenities at the shower door down the end that has been closed firmly for the last 30 minutess.

Us boaties sure do love our music and impromptu parties.

Attracted by hearty guffaws and the chance to listen to some grooving Zydeco tunes a small gathering turns into a back to back, bumper to bumper boogie on down.

Time to let our hair down and have some fun.

Sometimes though we get carried away by the butt busting blues baby and decide that Jimmy Buffet looking for his lost shaker of salt needs to be played over and over. Hey, we loved it the first time, got sick of it the third time and by the fifth time you just know where you’d like to shove that salt shaker.

 We are all in the same boat, so to speak, so why not show some common courtesy. Being a courteous dock neighbour will result in a lot less needless stress.

Wendy Elliston
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