Fishing with a friend is one of the best things about hitting the water. The activity is even better when that same friend invites you for a day on their boat. Friend or not, however, being invited on the boat is a privilege and anyone fortunate enough to enjoy it should act accordingly. Today I’ve outlined a few tips regarding being a guest on someone’s boat in hopes that proper boat etiquette spreads broader among the fishing community.

Being a good fishing partner starts before you set foot on the boat, meaning being at the dock or your buddy’s house on time, or early. Tardiness is lazy, inconsiderate, and even rude, so make sure you meet on time to start the day off on the right foot. Furthermore, it’s also smart to have your tackle organized and combos set up the night before. Take into consideration the type of fish you’ll be after and where you’ll be fishing, and plan accordingly. This saves time and ensures your boat partner doesn’t wait and isn’t made to think your time is more valuable. After all, your buddy was ready, stowed his tackle, and prepared the boat, and was on time, so there’s no excuse for being late when all you have is your gear.

Speaking of gear, it’s considerate to keep the amount of gear you bring to a reasonable amount. Boats aren’t equipped with infinite space and you’re a guest, so a decent-sized tackle box and two combos at most is reasonable. Bring scissors to cut lures rather than every rod you own.

While on the boat, be mindful of the fact that you’re with another person. This means maintaining a positive attitude, kind demeanor, and open line of dialogue (if your partner likes to talk). It’s considerate to not be on your phone when the action is slow and to not get frustrated when things aren’t going well. Also, try, try, try not to complain. Nothing will ruin a day on the water faster than a fishing partner who complains the whole time. Gauge your partner’s attitude and take advantage of the quality time to talk to each other. Obviously the individual thinks you’re cool enough to go fishing with, so they want to hang out with you.

Lastly, be sure to chip in for fuel. Gas prices are ridiculous these days and your buddy is filling up the boat to take you out on the water, so contributing to the fuel cost is a smart idea. Don’t ask if you can help out with gas; just do it, either at the pump or at the end of the day.

The tips listed above will go a long way towards making sure your day on the water is an enjoyable one. Not only will your buddy appreciate the consideration, but odds are you’ll be invited on more fishing trips. 

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