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Old 13 June 2021, 05:23   #1
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Harbour Etiquette

As a complete novice, are there any words of wisdom and basic advice for the main doís and doníts when launching/landing in a harbour/beach area.

Having witnessed the inexperience, ignorance, rudeness and downright dangerous behaviours of Seagoers (of all sorts) this weekend while scouting quiet launch areas for the sib around harbours, I really got my eyes opened

Very early morning start with suitable conditions will be a must to avoid the crowds going by how busy everywhere is already. Its not even main holiday time up here, but never seen the places so busy.

Great for the tourist industry, not so good for us beginners trying to find somewhere quiet to make our mistakes without a thousand eyes watching us
Bring on the opening up of all foreign tourist destinations
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Old 13 June 2021, 05:42   #2
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Do a RYA pb2 course, it's very interesting and good fun. It doesn't specifically cover launching and recovery but it does give a good grounding in boat handling.
Then if you're not used to it - find somewhere quiet and do loads of reversing with a trailer!
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Old 13 June 2021, 08:47   #3
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Hi Brian, along with doing a RYA PB2 course, my advice would be to go away for the weekend, if you can, to any of the freshwater Lochs where you can use an OB. Being a complete novice you will want all the time and space to practice and make the silly mistakes we all have made. You won't have as many eyes on you, no tide and or waves to contend with, you can run your OB in over a weekend and importantly you will gain much needed water experience before moving to the sea.
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Old 13 June 2021, 11:16   #4
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Do a RYA pb2 course, it's very interesting and good fun. It doesn't specifically cover launching and recovery but it does give a good grounding in boat handling.
It certainly should cover at least the theory of launch and recovery.

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Then if you're not used to it - find somewhere quiet and do loads of reversing with a trailer!

Certainly a good plan - find somewhere with a big open car park and practice. Then find somewhere with a terraced car park and reverse between the terraces. Work through what you need to do first, eg taking straps and light boards off etc.
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Old 13 June 2021, 11:36   #5
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Certainly a good plan - find somewhere with a big open car park and practice. Then find somewhere with a terraced car park and reverse between the terraces. Work through what you need to do first, eg taking straps and light boards off etc.
It's a very good plan, if you have a trailer. Which I don't think Brian does.
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Old 13 June 2021, 11:36   #6
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Hi Brian, along with doing a RYA PB2 course, my advice would be to go away for the weekend, if you can, to any of the freshwater Lochs where you can use an OB. Being a complete novice you will want all the time and space to practice and make the silly mistakes we all have made. You won't have as many eyes on you, no tide and or waves to contend with, you can run your OB in over a weekend and importantly you will gain much needed water experience before moving to the sea.


The biggest freshwater Loch is Lomond. Iíve experienced waves on there big enough to give beginners a bad day and on nice days queues bigger than anywhere else in Scotland! IME Loch Ness didnt have the queues but did have plenty of waves and a slipway with little shelter and no pontoon to make boarding east etc. I donít think Iíve taken the rib on Tay or Earn but Iíve been afloat there and donít think they are necessarily that much more friendly than the sea.

Personally as a beginner Iíd go to a marina, pay for a decent slip with access to a pontoon to tie up to. Largs or Port Edgar depending which side of the country you are are both quite beginner friendly. Avoid the very lowest tides and itís fairly straightforward.
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Old 13 June 2021, 11:43   #7
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The biggest freshwater Loch is Lomond. Iíve experienced waves on there big enough to give beginners a bad day and on nice days queues bigger than anywhere else in Scotland! IME Loch Ness didnt have the queues but did have plenty of waves and a slipway with little shelter and no pontoon to make boarding east etc. I donít think Iíve taken the rib on Tay or Earn but Iíve been afloat there and donít think they are necessarily that much more friendly than the sea.

Personally as a beginner Iíd go to a marina, pay for a decent slip with access to a pontoon to tie up to. Largs or Port Edgar depending which side of the country you are are both quite beginner friendly. Avoid the very lowest tides and itís fairly straightforward.
Understand your point, I'm thinking more along the lines of of that "pond" called Ullswater
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Old 13 June 2021, 13:00   #8
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There are two good places to launch from on Loch Lomond if you are camping or caravaning :-

Camping & Caravan Club Site, 2 good slips, 1 of which is reasonably sheltered in all but a westerly wind; and Camping in The Forest site which is a lot more exposed.
Both are very private and have loads of room to set up.

I just know from my first time set up, that I found it easier not having to content with a busy slip and tide times.
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Old 13 June 2021, 15:48   #9
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I see you're in Aberdeenshire.

Decent slipways include Port Errol/Cruden Bay (honesty box to launch), Portsoy, Banff, Rosehearty and Stonehaven. Gardenstown isn't for the faint hearted to drive down the steep road to the slip. Easier to dock there than launch. There's also Boddam in Peterhead. A season ticket for Aberdeenshire slips is around £70, or launch and retrieve for £15. I lose track of costs because of covid, and haven't renewed my season ticket this year.

Stonehaven on a fine day though is a nightmare. An early launch is fine before the crowds arrive if you're early, but in the late afternoon it's utter pandemonium.

I've reversed over a kid's sandcastle to get the RIB out before. Honestly, some parents are bordering on negligent, kids running behind the trailer, failing to move.

I get the seaside is for everyone, but it's a working slip, and if the parents have had boozy lunch, then what can you do?

Perfect your trailer handling is my advice. If it's busy, you want to be in and out quickly. Again it all depends on the tide. Park the car and trailer so it's not obstucting anything then enjoy the day. At the Aberdeenshire slips, phone ahead so they know your coming, pay your launch fee and observe speed limit. During the summer, there's anglers, paddle boarders and other craft, but first thing you'll have most harbours to yourself.

As mentioned, do you PB2 training to build confidence.
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Old 14 June 2021, 01:46   #10
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Originally Posted by Brinormeg View Post
As a complete novice, are there any words of wisdom and basic advice for the main doís and doníts when launching/landing in a harbour/beach area.

Having witnessed the inexperience, ignorance, rudeness and downright dangerous behaviours of Seagoers (of all sorts) this weekend while scouting quiet launch areas for the sib around harbours, I really got my eyes opened

Very early morning start with suitable conditions will be a must to avoid the crowds going by how busy everywhere is already. Its not even main holiday time up here, but never seen the places so busy.

Great for the tourist industry, not so good for us beginners trying to find somewhere quiet to make our mistakes without a thousand eyes watching us
Bring on the opening up of all foreign tourist destinations
To be honest, I think practice is the key.

Practice packing and unpacking at home until you're bored to death. And then take the boat to a launch site one evening and simply practice going out and coming in until you're bored and any lookers have formed the firm opinion that you've lost your marbles during lockdown.

When I was a child, may father would stick me into boating situations and I'd be stuck all morning or afternoon until I was deemed to have reached some form of acceptable level. When my father bought a new boat he would book a marina berth for a day and spend all day putting the boat in and out through all the tidal stages and forwards and backwards.

It's better to spend one day with onlookers assuming you're mental than numerous outings with onlookers assuming you're incompetent or damaging possessions.

This season I think it might prove to be more important than ever to be self confident and competent as there could be an abnormally large number of new boaters and less experienced people on the water and this might combine with a temporary fall in etiquettes.

As for manners in general, when I was a child in the 80s I remember the standard scrote in a gin palace smashing through a load of boats at anchor with children in the water and having spent this weekend on a friend's boat off Osborne Bay, I am aware that this hasn't changed and that this complete idiot still exists. However, what has changed is that only one person instructed them to slow down instead of every boat at anchor.
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Old 14 June 2021, 03:54   #11
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To double down on TmMorris' post, I'd add the following, if you are launching on a slipway.

Make sure that by the time you're at the top of the slipway, you're 100% ready to launch. The most frustrating thing in the world is people who block the slipway while they unpack and prepare.

So I'd recommend finding a quiet corner to get everything just so and ready to go in the water before you're on the slipway and then once you're ready, off you go. It also means you're less harassed or rushed with all eyes on you looking for a humourous cockup.

Also - plan ahead. Make a checklist of preparation steps in advance and run through them to make sure you forget nothing before and during the launch.
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Old 14 June 2021, 04:26   #12
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It's a very good plan, if you have a trailer. Which I don't think Brian does.
Ah, well that could be a bit less interesting then!
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Old 14 June 2021, 17:34   #13
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There is etiquette and competence.

Etiquette is things like - don't get to the top of the slip obstructing others whilst you unstrap, remove lighting board, load the boat with kit, wait until your hubs cool , go fro a bacon sandwich before launching, or leaving car and trailer blocking the slip whilst you solo motor off to a pontoon and saunter back 10 min later meaning other can't use the slip; or barge in in front of others. Then on recovery, pull to top of slip, blocking it for others whilst you leisurely wash down, flush the engine, strap up, then go for a cup of tea before driving home.

Competency is about launching fairly efficiently and cleanly without endangering yourself or others. Doesn't need to be fast, but without undue delay.

I've seen lots of competent people with bad etiquette, and some people with good etiquette and poor competency. I have more time for the latter as that how we learn. As others have said a bit of forethought and practice helps on the competency, your attitude drives the etiquette.
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Old 15 June 2021, 02:14   #14
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Old 15 June 2021, 15:10   #15
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Thanks again everyone for the words of wisdom from your experiences.

After seeing and reading so much about the PB2 course, I do think it would be ideal to do this first off but unfortunately i doubt we will get time to do it this year. But certainly wouldnt discount it for the future if not now.

Would have like the chance to go somewhere like you suggested to run in the OB correctly as well as practice on the water, but also because I wasnít sure if going to sea might mean having to throttle a bit more than you should while fighting wind or tide during the run period?

Donít want to be that person on the slip everyone is tutting and shaking their heads at, but Steveís correctÖ.no trailers for me yet. (Will be a build and pack down every trip which Iím sure can bring its own dramas)
Reversing would be the one and only bit I would be confident doing, as Iíve been handling vehicle trailers of all manner of types and sizes since I was 10 years old from 70 tonne articulated to 200kg car trailers.

We will be doing many many set up practice sessions in the garden first and might write up some flash cards just to keep handy as well as suggested. Itís just so annoying that Iíve had the time (which I rarely do) and the weathers been great (which it rarely is), but no boat and OBÖ...neighbours will definitely think weíve completely lost it when it comes

I have done fishing off a few of the piers suggested, so did consider some of these as options to launch as well as Stonehaven, but did not know how it worked with fees etc.
My uncle used to have a small boat out of boddam. I've gained limited knowledge of tides/winds etc due to fishing, watching videos and reading here as well, but nothing compared to the PB2 course I am sure.
I was looking to see if there was somewhere I could launch from the beach, but not much areas I know of on the east coast without having to drag everything miles over the sand, even with transom wheels and the rest.

Understand completely about the kids and families, when watching drunken parents letting their small children dive, swim and even snorkel in the only shipping lane into the harbour, never mind letting them play on the launch ramp.
Paddle boarders young and old were completely ignoring the rules by paddling over at the wrong side of harbour after there has already been numerous incidents apparently.
I could barely see them looking off the pier and must have been even harder to see for all the vessels coming in and out. Yet if poor darling Charles got chopped up by a propÖit would all be the boater, the council or harbour authorityís fault!
Its not as though there isnít a great beach just a short walk awayÖbut then it isnít surrounded by bars I suppose!

There was certainly a large mix of water users at the weekend of all levels, and perhaps even just with the knowledge gained here alone, I wouldn't make any more of an arse of myself compared to many.
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Old 15 June 2021, 16:23   #16
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Thanks again everyone for the words of wisdom from your experiences.



After seeing and reading so much about the PB2 course, I do think it would be ideal to do this first off but unfortunately i doubt we will get time to do it this year. But certainly wouldnt discount it for the future if not now.



Would have like the chance to go somewhere like you suggested to run in the OB correctly as well as practice on the water, but also because I wasnít sure if going to sea might mean having to throttle a bit more than you should while fighting wind or tide during the run period?



Donít want to be that person on the slip everyone is tutting and shaking their heads at, but Steveís correctÖ.no trailers for me yet. (Will be a build and pack down every trip which Iím sure can bring its own dramas)

Reversing would be the one and only bit I would be confident doing, as Iíve been handling vehicle trailers of all manner of types and sizes since I was 10 years old from 70 tonne articulated to 200kg car trailers.



We will be doing many many set up practice sessions in the garden first and might write up some flash cards just to keep handy as well as suggested. Itís just so annoying that Iíve had the time (which I rarely do) and the weathers been great (which it rarely is), but no boat and OBÖ...neighbours will definitely think weíve completely lost it when it comes



I have done fishing off a few of the piers suggested, so did consider some of these as options to launch as well as Stonehaven, but did not know how it worked with fees etc.

My uncle used to have a small boat out of boddam. I've gained limited knowledge of tides/winds etc due to fishing, watching videos and reading here as well, but nothing compared to the PB2 course I am sure.

I was looking to see if there was somewhere I could launch from the beach, but not much areas I know of on the east coast without having to drag everything miles over the sand, even with transom wheels and the rest.



Understand completely about the kids and families, when watching drunken parents letting their small children dive, swim and even snorkel in the only shipping lane into the harbour, never mind letting them play on the launch ramp.

Paddle boarders young and old were completely ignoring the rules by paddling over at the wrong side of harbour after there has already been numerous incidents apparently.

I could barely see them looking off the pier and must have been even harder to see for all the vessels coming in and out. Yet if poor darling Charles got chopped up by a propÖit would all be the boater, the council or harbour authorityís fault!

Its not as though there isnít a great beach just a short walk awayÖbut then it isnít surrounded by bars I suppose!



There was certainly a large mix of water users at the weekend of all levels, and perhaps even just with the knowledge gained here alone, I wouldn't make any more of an arse of myself compared to many.


If youíre practically minded enough to reverse an artic, all you need to do is apply yourself to sibbing and practice the set up a bit in your garden.
Youíve obviously got the right attitude - just have fun!
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Old 16 June 2021, 03:43   #17
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This side of the pond we are required to have a licence (everyone) to operate most vessels. Theres a free online handbook that might give you a few tips on etiquette and common boating rules etc which are the same worldwide. https://roads-waterways.transport.ns...g-handbook.pdf
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Old 16 June 2021, 04:29   #18
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Thats some handbook, well worthy of a read or several! Covers pretty much everything, thanks for the link.
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Old 16 June 2021, 15:10   #19
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This side of the pond we are required to have a licence (everyone) to operate most vessels. Theres a free online handbook that might give you a few tips on etiquette and common boating rules etc which are the same worldwide. https://roads-waterways.transport.ns...g-handbook.pdf
Thats a very informative read for anyone and especially those quite new to boating of any sort
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Old 16 June 2021, 15:21   #20
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This side of the pond we are required to have a licence (everyone) to operate most vessels. Theres a free online handbook that might give you a few tips on etiquette and common boating rules etc which are the same worldwide. https://roads-waterways.transport.ns...g-handbook.pdf
looks like there's loads of useful information in there, shame there's not a kindle edition
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