Rafting Up Right

Rafting up with friends on the water to kick back and relax is a great way to enjoy your summer days. It’s best to have a few ground rules to prevent unintentional bumps, scratches, misunderstandings, and the like. Here are 5 tips to make sure it all goes smoothly.

Location: Rafting up out of the wind, out of the current, and away from any place that may have serious boat wakes is best. Ideally, look for a place that is buffered by the shore with access to shallow water or a beach where kids can wade, swim or dinghy to shore.

Anchoring: Start with the biggest boats in the middle and smaller boats on the outside edges for balance. The largest boat should anchor first and set one off the bow and one off the stern for added security.

Permission: When tying up alongside another boat in an existing raft always ask for permission first. If you don’t know the skipper, approach slowly and ask to join the raft from a safe distance.

Fenders: You will need several fenders, at least two or three per side, depending on the size of the boat. Bring the biggest ones you have (a minimum of 10 inches) and secure them along the side of your boat before you approach the raft to tie up.

Boat Alignment: To avoid climbing over gunwales, it’s best to align swim platforms to move from boat to boat. Tie off at the bow and stern and use spring lines amidships to fine-tune positioning.

Practice safe boating, be courteous of your neighbors and follow these tips the next time you raft up. If you end up cranking the tunes and enjoying yourselves so much that your batteries go dead, you know who to call.