In the event you are invited to go fishing on a friend or family member’s boat, it should be considered a privilege. Boat owners spend a significant amount of money not only to buy the vessel and gear but to maintain it annually. For this reason, as a guest, you must act appropriately because it is necessary to be invited back again. Here are 7 unwritten fishing rules when fishing on another person’s boat. 

Offer Gas Money

Don’t stick the boat owner with the gas bill when they are inviting you out for a day of fishing. You need to offer up some cash. 

Remember, running a boat is costly. Running from spot to spot burns fuel quickly. Furthermore, if the owner is filling up on the water, the cost per gallon is significantly higher. 

I suggest asking the boat owner to pull up to the fuel dock and fill it once you return to the dock. You can throw down the credit card to top the tank. You’ll be more likely to get an invite back. 

Pick Up The Bait

In the event you’re fishing with live bait or frozen bait, make a trip to the store and pick up what is needed. 

Ask the boat owner what they prefer to use so you can pick up what will work best. Arriving at the boat with bait will alleviate the captain’s responsibility. Additionally, paying the bait bill shows you respect and appreciate the invitation for a day of fishing. 

Respect The Equipment And Boat

All too often, I see people disrespect friends’ vessels. Some of the more notable actions that show a lack of respect for equipment and the boat are the following.

Rough Handling Of Rods And Reels

I become frustrated when people handle my rods and reels roughly. This includes banging the reels against the boat, reeling up to the lure or float, and placing hooks on rod eyes.

Without question, if you’re invited as a guest, you need to treat the gear with respect. Fishing equipment is expensive, so avoid being rough on it, causing it to become damaged or broken. 

Slamming Hatches

The constant banging of hatches is enough to drive a boat owner nuts. Never open a hatch and allow it to fall freely closed. The sound will radiate throughout the fiberglass. 

When opening boat hatches, keep your hand on the hatch until it is completely closed. Never let it fall freely. 

Standing On Cushions

As a boat owner, I was annoyed by the fact that people would step on my clean boat cushions. 

Boat cushions on a vessel are designed to be sat on and not stepped on. Often, footprints are left behind that are challenging to remove. Don’t step on the cushions at any point while on the fishing trip. 

Pack Food And Drinks

The operator of the boat already has enough to think about when preparing for a fishing trip. Don’t add more responsibilities; instead, take some tasks off of their plate. 

One of the most helpful things you can do is pack a cooler full of food and drinks. Take a trip to the store and load up on hydrating beverages and easy-to-eat food. 

I recommend purchasing subs because they can be held with ease, make little mess, and can be set down when you get a strike. Subs are one of the best boat food ideas

Packing the cooler ahead of time will allow you to set it on the boat and depart without delay. 

Ask How You Can Help

A lot goes into operating a boat, no matter if it is departing from a marina or the boat ramp. With that said, you can’t let the person who invited you handle all of the tasks. 

Importantly, you should act as the mate. The mate’s role is to assist with dock lines and fenders when departing or returning to the dock. While underway, make sure that everything is secure so gear doesn’t get tossed around. Lastly, help clean the fishing gear and bring it back to the vehicle. 

Help Clean Up The Boat

After the fishing trip is done, don’t get up and walk away. More often than not, the boat will need scrubbing to remove fish blood and guts.

With that said, don’t leave the owner to handle it themselves. Offer to lend a helping hand so that the boat can be cleaned up more quickly. I suggest either scrubbing with a boat pole, brush, and boat soap or rinsing behind the owner scrubbing. 

Remember, if you don’t offer to clean after making a mess of the boat, you are unlikely to be invited back. 

Listen To The Boat Owner

One of the biggest factors in being an invited guest on a fishing boat is listening to the information provided. Not only is it imperative for your safety, but it can lead to being more likely to catch fish. 

First, in regard to safety, you don’t want to have someone tell you what to do twice. Often, the captain will guide you to sit in an area that will either protect you from injury or keep you dry while underway. 

Secondly, as far as fishing is concerned, the boat owner is likely more experienced. For this reason, you’re going to want to listen to what advice they are providing. 

Follow These 7 Unwritten Fishing Rules

If you want to get invited back out fishing rather than investing in a boat and gear, make sure to act appropriately. Following these 7 unwritten fishing rules will better ensure that you’re looked at positively after a day of fishing. I have had plenty of disrespectful people aboard my vessel who never got a call to come back out. You don’t want to be that person.