Choosing A Boat Dealer: Red Flags & Good Vibes


The boat-buying experience is a simultaneously exciting and terrifying endeavor. Finding the right boat dealer to do business with can make all the difference. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you go through the process. For each segment, the experienced Port Annapolis crew provides a “Red Flag” that could signal the dealer isn’t up to snuff and a “Good Vibe” that indicates you might be right on course to finding the right dealer for your next boat purchase.


Does the dealership staff seem happy to see you?
Buyers like to walk onto boat dealership lots or into showrooms to look around. You’d be amazed at how infrequently anyone comes to greet potential customers.

Red Flag: If no one comes out to say hello and ask if he or she can help within the first five minutes, don’t count on service getting any better in the future. Big red flag. If you eventually must ask for help and are met with confused or annoyed looks by staff, that’s also a bad sign and another red flag.

Good Vibe: If you find people in the store are attentive, engaging and genuinely happy to see you, give that dealership high marks; it bodes well for the future.


Check it out on the Internet.
Use a web search engine such as Google to look for mentions or reports of the dealer on the Internet. Or logon to related forums to ask if others have experience with the dealership.

Red Flag: Take web reports with a grain of salt. One or two negative comments should not overly influence any decision, but if you read about a rash of bad experiences, poorly handled warranty work or long delays on service or repairs, it’s definitely cause for concern and a red flag.

Good Vibe: Similarly, one or two glowing e eb reports are not the basis for judging a dealership, but if positive reports far outweigh critical posts, consider visiting the dealer in person to get a better feel.


Are the yard and showroom clean and organized?
While an unkempt facility might not seem so bad, consider this: If this is how they treat their own property, how are they going to treat your boat when it’s in for service or repairs?

Red Flag: If you find that inventory boats in the yard are dirty and dusty, the yard’s forklift is rusty and leaking oil, no one cleans up after the guard dog, or the property is cluttered with discarded parts, you might want to look for another dealership.

Good Vibe: An immaculate showroom, an organized yard, and boats that are washed daily earn the store a good vibe. Add in a well-stocked parts department, and it gets another thumbs-up.


Is the dealership staff prompt in returning phone calls and emails?
You can understand that staff might not always be able to pick up the phone when you call. After all, if it’s a good dealership, they’re liable to be busy. Still, you would think any salesperson would be highly motivated to return phone calls and emails, but it isn’t always the case.

Red Flag: Lack of prompt response is a big red flag, indicating that customer service after the sale will only get worse. Another red flag is a salesperson’s reluctance to work with you by phone or email. In this busy world, it’s not always possible to visit the store to ask questions or negotiate the deal.

Good Vibe: A salesperson’s willingness to work with you by phone or email is a great time-saver and a positive sign for the future. Make sure to ask for an email confirmation of any deals that you negotiate by phone.


Talk to the service manager.
Before you close the deal, ask to talk with the dealership service manager or, even better, one or two of the mechanics. This will give you a chance to see inside the shop and get a feel for the culture.

Red Flag: If the shop is messy, greasy, dirty and disorganized, it shows a lack of pride in the work–that’s a negative sign that reflects on the management as well as the service staff.

Good Vibe: However, if you witness a clean shop with state-of-the-art diagnostics and tools, as well as a knowledgeable staff that displays high spirits and dedication to doing good work, give them a gold prop.


Ask to talk with existing customers.
When you interview for a job, you might be asked to provide references. Why not ask the same thing of the dealer? Request a few names and emails of existing customers.

Red Flag: It’s understandable that a salesperson might be reluctant to give out names and emails of customers for fear of violating the privacy of others, but if he flatly refuses or becomes indignant, it’s a sign they’ve got something to hide. Defensiveness indicates guilt and a possible red flag.

Good Vibe: If the salesman asks if he can get back to you after he checks with the customers and then sends you the names and emails, it means he’s proud of the dealership’s reputation, as well as mindful of customer privacy. You would expect glowing reports from the salesperson’s references, but check them out anyway. You never know, a bad report could cancel out this good vibe!


Does the dealership staff keep you waiting?
You might be used to sitting in the lobby, waiting to see a doctor or dentist, even though you were on time for the appointment. But if you made an appointment with a boat salesperson, you should not have to wait.

Red Flag: If the salesman keeps you waiting more than a minute or two, it might mean that disregard for others’ time pervades the dealership’s culture. If you’re kept waiting more than once, or the salesperson interrupts your meeting to take a phone call, the store gets two red flags.

Good Vibe: If, on the other hand, you’re greeted promptly by a congenial staff and offered coffee or a refreshment before you get started, the dealership is golden. If you get a follow-up call after the meeting, give them twin props and seriously consider moving full speed ahead.


Does the service department hold manufacturer certifications?
Certain engine manufacturers such as Yamaha Outboards offer certification programs for dealer-service staff. These are ongoing programs designed to keep mechanics up to date on the latest engine technology and product developments.

Red Flag: Request documentation of the most recent manufacturer certification for the service department. If the dealership can’t produce it, or the certificates are more than five years old, they may have just earned a red flag or two.

Good Vibe: The more manufacturer certificates the service department can produce, the better. That means good vibes now and in the future.


Do you like the dealership staff?
This might sound like an irrelevant question, but it’s always nice to work with people you like. Once you buy the boat, you’ll be returning to the dealership time and again for motor service and possibly warranty work.

Red Flag: If you find yourself with a grin-and-bear-it attitude as you try to negotiate a deal, it might mean you really don’t care for or trust the salesperson. Check out the rest of the staff to see if they strike you the same way. If so, slap the store with a red flag.

Good Vibe: When you look forward to talking with salespeople and staff, it means you like them (and they probably like you), and that earns the store a good vibe.


Is the dealer conveniently located?
Choosing a dealer far from the location where you plan to keep your boat is a huge disadvantage. Even if you can tow the boat, who wants a 130-mile round trip each time you visit the dealer for service or repairs?

Red Flag: If the dealer is more than 40 miles away, every trip will be a hate mission. Remember that you can rarely get a boat serviced or repaired while you wait, so you have to make two round trips for each service visit. A geographically undesirable dealer is a big red flag–not against the dealer, but against your overall choice.

Good Vibe: A dealership that’s close by, whether by water or land, is a godsend. One that will come to your marina or dock to service and repair the boat in the water is better yet. Give that dealer a major good vibe!

For most, a boat is a major investment that pays back with years of fun and memories. The process of selecting and purchasing the right boat can be made substantially easier by choosing the right dealer. Follow the steps above to optimize your experience prior to, during, and after, your boat purchase. And, be sure to check out the award-winning NauticStar boats we sell at Port Annapolis.



How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane

When preparing for a hurricane, it’s important to have a plan in place and ideally have your boat secured before the storm hits. At Port Annapolis Marina, here’s our recommended preparation protocol for hauled boats or docked boats:

  • Candy cane main sails
  • Remove or candy cane head sail with extra dock line
  • Ensure furler line and sheets are tied off if sail is left on
  • Remove and stow canvas or at least fold down and secure
  • Double up on dock lines – tie “Loop End” of the dock line to the piling and leave the adjustment ON BOAT. If we need to adjust these lines and they are below the water and pilings are under water, we will be forced to cut your lines to save your boat and damage to the docks.
  • Strike canvas remove Dodgers/Bimini
  • Tie halyards away from spars
  • Secure or remove all gear above deck
  • Take shore power cords off dock
  • Take dock water hoses off dock
  • Take cable TV cords off dock – if water goes over docks we will be shutting off the electric

Please call us if you need assistance: 410.269.1990 (main office) or 410.269.1944 (service department)

Top 10 Stowage Tips for Your Boat’s Safety Gear

Here at Port Annapolis, we’re all about safety. Sure, boating is an enjoyable pastime—but like all other recreational activities, it comes with its own set of inherent risks. Luckily, these dangers can be mitigated with the proper precautions—perhaps the most important of which is being adequately prepared at all times. Here are a few tips for stowing safety gear aboard your boat to ensure your equipment is accessible, operational and secure in the case of an emergency. You’ll be ready to hit the open water with the peace of mind your safety has been taken into account.

  1. Lifejackets – You need to have at least one that is in good condition and properly sized for everyone onboard. Approved inflatable PFD’s count, but only if you’re actually wearing them at all times. And if you’ll be going offshore or navigating through rough waters, consider upgrading them to the Type III variety for added safety.
  2. Throw Rings & Cushions – A throw-able PFD (Type IV) is also a must-have. Keep this item on-deck and easily accessible at all times, so if someone falls overboard, you can quickly toss it to them. If your Type IV is more than a few years old, grab the straps or ropes and give them a good tug. If you can rip or break them, the PFD needs to be replaced.
  3. Sound Signal – On many boats, this will be a built-in horn. In other cases, you’ll need to carry a whistle, or an air horn. Yelling doesn’t count!
  4. Fire Extinguisher – One or more fire extinguishers may or may not be required aboard your boat, depending on how it falls into the USCG regulations. Be sure to consult their standards and consider adding extra units in high-risk areas such as the galley and engine room.  See our blog post for more info!
  5. Flares – Visual signals may or may not be required by law depending on where you take your boat, but again, the majority of experienced boaters consider these as a necessity onboard. And don’t forget, they have a limited life-span! Check at the beginning of every boating season, to make sure yours are current and operational.
  6. Navigation Lights – This is another item that is required for some boats, but not all of them. Usually, if they’re required the boat will have them built in already. If not, you can take portable lights with you and mount them on the boat when needed. In any case, test your lights before any trip when you think there’s a possibility you’ll be on the water at or after dark.
  7. First Aid Kit – Although law does not require it, a first-aid kit is an absolute necessity aboard any boat. When you’re out on the water you may not be able to get to help for several minutes or even hours, so make sure you have plenty of first aid basics safely stowed onboard.
  8. Extra Food & Water – Even inland and near-shore boaters should always have an emergency supply of food and water, even if it’s just a granola bar and a plastic bottle. You never know when mechanical difficulties could leave you stranded, or force a long hike back to the boat ramp.
  9. Safety Briefing – Whenever you take out guests, be sure to start the trip with a safety talk. Show them where all the gear is stowed, and how to use it. Otherwise, valuable time may be lost during an emergency.
  10. Kill Switch – If your boat came with a safety lanyard and kill switch, make sure you use them. If you’re thrown from the helm and the engines keep running, the rest of the safety gear won’t help you one bit—as you watch it cruise away with no one at the wheel.

“Be prepared” is the Boy Scout Motto, but it’s applicable to boaters as well. Use the suggestions above to help ensure a fun and safe time while boating. If your safety equipment needs an update, stop by the Ships Store to stock up on all the necessary gear!



Your Maintenance Regime Should Include Detailing: Here’s How & Why

Boating season is in full-swing here at Port Annapolis, but here’s a quick thought before you hit the open water: Have you adequately maintained your boat this summer? Many boaters think they’re doing everything right in terms of maintenance—but are ignorant of the finer aspects of boat maintenance that can greatly impact the longevity of their vessels. One such oft-neglected detail is the detailing process. Here are a few tips on how to incorporate both engine and all-around detailing steps to ensure you are doing the utmost to keep your boat looking and performing great for years to come.


Like most avid boaters, your boat is most likely one of your most prized possessions–but remember it’s the engine that makes all those cool boating adventures possible. A clean engine makes visual inspections more effective. And the process of detailing your engine will make you more familiar with and force you to examine every inch of your engine. So treat your engine right by caring for it with these maintenance tips that incorporate engine detailing measures.

Clean: Use paper towels to remove big globs of grease. Then apply a solution of soap and water with a rag or sponge: Dawn dish detergent is an effective and inexpensive degreasing soap. Rinse thoroughly with a light spray of water. Allow to air-dry.

Paint: Color-matched engine paint is available from your dealer or the engine-maker’s website. This includes paint for inboard and sterndrive engines, as well as for the gear cases of sterndrives and outboards. Painting staves off corrosion and can also enhance the resale or trade-in value.

Lube: Be sure to lubricate all control linkages with grease, remembering that a little goes a long way. Also apply grease to outboard cowling latches. Check your owner’s manual for the location of any grease fittings (Zerk fittings) specific to your engines. Spray the entire engine block with a silicone-based aerosol lube.

Replace: In the process of cleaning, painting and lubing your engine, you might discover some fasteners that have corroded. This is especially true for coastal boaters. Remove and replace (or clean) these now, before you need to remove them and can’t because of corrosion.


Here are some tips gleaned from the pros on how to make your boat look great by taking the time to detail.

Remove the Old Wax: Wipe the hull down with acetone or a dedicated product like Pettit’s D95 Dewaxer. Use several rags, and turn them frequently so you don’t reapply the wax you remove.

Use a Machine: Save the “hand-rubbed” finish for woodwork. A polisher makes quicker work using less material and does a better job of removing compound and wax. And it’s in the removing that these products achieve the fine finish. We recommend using a rotary polisher, which is quicker, spatters less and doesn’t “kick” when working around transom rings, rub rails, vent fittings and other obstructions. But if you’re inexperienced, consider a random orbit polisher, like Shurhold’s Dual Action model, which is more forgiving and doesn’t allow you to goof and create swirl marks.

White-Glove Treatment: There are many areas aboard that require you to apply compound and wax by hand. The areas between gauges and instruments, the narrow borders surrounding hatches and companionways, and beneath cleats and grab rails are some of these. Instead of using a rag, don a pair of clean cotton gloves and use your fingers like custom-conformable polishing pads.

For most, a boat is a major investment that pays back through years of fun and memories. To realize the greatest return on your investment, and optimize your experiences, take care of your boat by detailing. Clean, paint, lube and replace fasteners for engine detailing, remove old wax, machine polish, and give the white-glove treatment for all-around detailing. If you need a detailing boost, contact the Service Department, (410) 269-1944 x18 or (410) 269-1944 x11.

How to Keep Cool Aboard Your Vessel

We’ve all been there before: excitedly leaving the dock in the cool evening summer air only to find yourself constantly sweating moments later in the open water. Yes, here at Port Annapolis, boating is our favorite way to beat the heat. But sometimes, the weather is just SO hot that even the relief found aboard the boat needs a little something extra for boaters to get comfortable and make it an enjoyable experience. The next time that happens, try these tips to raise your boat’s chill factor:

Splash the Deck
The process of water evaporating emanates a cooling effect to offset the hot weather aboard your vessel. Use the wash-down hose, or a bucket, and splash down your fiberglass or wood cockpit sole. (Note: If your boat’s sole is covered in glued-down carpet, this tip may not be for you). Doing so will noticeably drop the “local” temperature and provide relief for you and your crew.

Install Hatches Hinged Aft
Deck hatches, or those in hardtops, are best installed so that they are hinged aft. This way, while anchored, any breeze will flow into the boat when the hatches are open. Although some hatches are installed, hinges forward on the premise that they will simply close, instead of ripping out. Should a careless captain take off into the wind, you might still consider altering their configuration and being a bit more responsible with your acceleration habits in exchange for some much-needed cooling during the summer months—that’s a trade-off your guests will be thankful for! You can also install a wind-scoop to make your hatches even more effective.

Drink lots of water. It’s what your body needs to cool down when the temps heat up! Always stock up your cooler with plenty of water and ice before leaving the dock. Stop by the Ships Store or The Wet Dog Café to fill your cooler before heading out on the water!

Cover Hatches and Ports
A dark cabin is a cool cabin! While you can have custom hatch and port covers sewn by a canvas fabricator, simply draping towels secured by lines or weights will reduce the solar gain and keep the cabin cooler.

Just like a car sitting in the sun, your boat can also be a hot spot. These few simple steps can help improve your boating experience and make sure you have a cool and fun time on the water!

Time to Check Your Boat’s Fire Extinguisher

Ask any marine surveyor, one of the items they always check is a vessel’s fire extinguishers. Unfortunately, more often than not, they find equipment that is old and in poor condition. Keeping this equipment in working order is vital to the safety of a boat and its occupants. Still, few owners pay much attention to the fire systems onboard. To be honest, these are not very exciting pieces of equipment, and hopefully you will never have to use them. However, in the event of an emergency, it is vital that they are operational. Checking your system is not difficult, but it does require some time and possibly some expense. The first step is to understand your fire extinguishers, what types are available and what is required by law.


Types & Sizes of Fire Extinguishers:

While there are many types and sizes of fire extinguishers available, we’ll stick to the most commonly found onboard your average pleasure boat in the 20-60’ range. The types or classes of fire extinguishers are based on letter designations for the type of fuel a fire is burning and are designated by the National Fire Protection Agency as follows:

Type A: Common combustible solids such as wood, paper, cloth, canvas, cushions, and many plastics. Dry chemicals and water work well on these fires.

Type B: Fires involving oils, greases, paints, solvents and gases. These would most commonly be engine, galley, and stored liquid chemical fires. Dry chemical and clean agents work well. Never use water.

Type C: Electrical fires. Dry chemical and clean agents work well. Liquid agents should not be used as they present a shock hazard.


What’s Inside the Fire Extinguisher:

These are the agents you are most likely to find on your average pleasure boat:

Dry chemicals: Can be used on B,C and A,B,C fires. The label will indicate which. They are the most common type for small portable fire extinguishers found on most boats. All have a B,C rating which is the minimum required by the USCG. Some are rated for A,B,C and this is preferred for marine use, but not required. Dry chemicals work by cooling and smothering the fire with heavy smoke. The powder can be caustic and if discharged, be sure to completely clean anything the power has come in contact with.

Clean agents: Called clean agents because they leave little or no residue after being discharged. The most common of these are CO2, Halon and now Halon substitutes. The Environmental Protection Agency has banned the use of Halon due to its Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. Halon is now being replaced with FE 241, FE200, HFC-227 and Halotron 1. Clean agents are not as common in small portable extinguishers as is dry chemical but you can find some units that use it. They work by displacing oxygen in the air thereby smothering the fire. The advantage is that they do not leave any residue. The disadvantage is that because they displace the oxygen, they are a suffocation hazard when used in confined spaces such as the cabin of a boat.


Sizes of Extinguishers:

Sizes for portable fire extinguishers are set by the US Coast Guard and use Roman numerals, I being the smallest and V being the largest. It’s rare to see anything bigger than a size II on the average sized pleasure boat.


Size I is 4-5 pounds clean agent and 2-3 pounds dry chemical. Commonly, this size is not serviceable, meaning it cannot be recharged should it be used or lose its charge. Check the label to see if it can be serviced or not. These are by far the most common size found on the average boat.

Size II is 15 pounds clean agent and 10 pounds dry chemical. As these units are larger and more expensive most (but not all) are serviceable. Once again, check your label. Serviceable units can be recharged by a certified fire extinguisher service center if they lose charge or are used.


The US Coast Guard by law requires all pleasure boats with engine compartments, and or with permanently installed fuel tanks to carry fire extinguishers. The minimum number and type are as follows:

16-26’:    One B-I

26-40’:    One B-II or Two B-I

40-65’:    One B-II and One B-I, or Three B-I units

The “B-I” and “B-II” are USCG designations for fire extinguisher types and sizes. The “B” is based on a complicated system set up by the USCG and the “I” and “II” are for the size. Suffice to say, always check the label to make sure it is USCG approved. At minimum it should be for B, C fires with A, B, C preferred.


Extinguisher Inspection:

All extinguishers should be professionally inspected and tagged at least once a year and a quick visual inspection done monthly. However, for pleasure boats this is a recommendation and not a requirement. Unfortunately, most boaters rarely do either of these. The USCG requires you have onboard “approved” fire extinguishers; this leaves it up to the boat owner to maintain their equipment in good working order. If you are boarded by the USCG or local waterway officers and you have fire extinguishers that are not fully charged, or are old and in poor condition you are likely to get a citation. It is not cost effective to have a service company come down to your boat once a year for only 3-4 small hand held extinguishers. It would be more efficient to take them to an approved service facility to have them checked. The average cost for this is $35-$75 per extinguisher depending on size and type. For the small disposable units, this might not be cost effective and it might be more realistic to just replace them on a regular basis. Most companies provide a 6-year warranty and a 12-year shelf life. After 12 years, they should be disposed of. We recommend replacing after no more than 6 years. You can tell the age of your unit by looking on the bottom, where you will find a 2-digit date number indicating its manufacture date. It is a good idea to look at this when you purchase a new unit, as you want to make sure you are not getting one that has been in stock for 2-3 years. Whether you take your units in for professional inspections or not, you should know how to inspect them yourself so that you can be sure you have safe working units. How should you inspect them? Here’s a handy step-by-step guide:


  1. Remove the extinguishers from their bracket and check the gauge. If the needle is in the red, or even very close to it, you should replace it.
  2. Visually inspect the canister and nozzle. Check for rust, corrosion, and dents. Look into the nozzle to be sure it is not blocked by anything. Make sure the safety pin is intact and that the handle is not bent or broken.
  3. Check the bracket to make sure it is in good condition. Too often, units are tossed into a locker or cabinet, unsecured. Check the label to verify it is USCG approved; this is often in very small print.
  4. For dry chemical units, turn the fire extinguisher upside down and tap the cylinder with a rubber mallet. You should feel or hear the powder move inside. This is important as the powder tends to get packed down at the bottom.
  5. For clean agent units you should weigh the extinguisher to verify it is within manufactures specifications. The minimum and maximum weights will be on the label, make sure it falls within that range. Even with these self- inspections, it is still important to have professionals look at all units at least once a year.
  6. Lastly, consider the number and location of your fire extinguishers. Just because the USCG has set a minimum number to be onboard doesn’t mean this is all you should have. When installing fire extinguishers, think about likely places a fire could start. The galley, the engine compartment, battery compartments and electrical panels are all places fires commonly start. Place fire extinguishers near these areas and near all exits from the cabin. You want to make sure if there is a fire you are not trapped inside so have units placed so that you can use them to clear your exit. Also, it is a good idea to have units in all sleeping spaces so that if a fire should break out at night, you will not be trapped. Lockers containing fire extinguishers should have a red label on the outside reading “Fire Extinguisher Inside.” As skipper, it’s your duty to make sure your guests know where all safety equipment is kept as well.


Remember, keeping your boat’s fire extinguisher in working order is vital to the safety of your boat and its occupants. Key points to be aware of are:

  1. Purchase only USCG approved fire extinguishers. The minimal rating for your extinguisher is B,C. A rating of A,B,C is recommended.
  2. It is recommended to professionally inspect and tag your extinguisher yearly.
    1. This can be accomplished by taking the extinguisher to an approved service company.
    2. A more expensive option is to have a service company come to your boat each year.
    3. Finally, for small disposal units, the most cost effective way might be to replace them each year.
  3. In addition to the yearly professional inspection, extinguishers should be visually inspected monthly.

The most important thing to consider is, when you need your extinguisher, you want it to work! If you have any questions about the fire extinguishers you have onboard, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Service Department!

4th of July Boating Safety Tips

Photo by Visit Annapolis

The 4th of July Holiday is the busiest, and often most dangerous time of the boating season. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is urging all boaters to exercise extra caution while boating during the upcoming July 4th holiday. 4th of July, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, typically account for more than one-third of all boating-related accidents and fatalities. Still, the holiday is a terrific opportunity to gather with fellow boating enthusiasts and enjoy the festivities in the comfort of Port Annapolis Marina’s premium facilities. Here are seven tips on how to stay safe this Independence Day.

Always Wear a Life Jacket: While it can be hot and steamy in Annapolis, don’t be tempted to forgo wearing a life jacket. Accidents happen quickly, and often there isn’t time to put on a life jacket once an accident has happened. Statistics consistently show that 80% of those who perished in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets.

Make Sure Your Boat is Properly Equipped and Equipment is Functioning Properly: The 4th of July is sometimes the first and only time people venture out on the water after dark. Make sure your navigation lights work so you can be seen. Better yet, request a free Vessel Safety Check to make sure your boat has all the legally required and recommended equipment onboard.

Be Prepared for Emergencies: Accidents happen quickly, often with little or no warning. Take the time to familiarize your crew with basic emergency procedures, and show them how to contact authorities for help via marine radio or cell phone. Make sure your flares are up to date, but never use flares as a form of fireworks. Doing so constitutes a false distress call, which is a class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, plus the costs associated with the false distress.

Boating and Alcohol Don’t Mix: Boaters are also reminded of the dangers of drinking and boating. Along with decreasing the operator’s ability to make good judgments, the consumption of alcohol also negatively affects the ability of passengers to respond in the case of an emergency on the water. The effects of the sun, wind, waves and a boat’s motion in the water can add to an operator’s impairment. Intoxicated boaters can face both federal and state charges with penalties of up to one year in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

File a Float Plan with a Friend: A float plan for a boater is similar to a flight plan for a pilot. It lists who is going, where you’re going, what the boat looks like, and when you expect to be back. Don’t file this with the Coast Guard; rather, share it with a friend who will be staying ashore, and instruct them what to do in the event that they don’t hear from you within a reasonable time of when you expect to return home. CLICK HERE for a complete plan along with instructions

Keep a Sharp Lookout for Other Boats, Weather, or Anything Unusual: The Coast Guard asks the public to be more aware of their surroundings, including carefully watching the weather, celebrating responsibly and understanding the hazards of boating under the influence of alcohol and misusing emergency flares as fireworks. Report any emergencies to local authorities by calling 911 or VHF-FM Channel 16. Any suspicious activity that might involve terrorism should be reported to America’s Waterway Watch at 877-24-WATCH.

Practice the 3 Cs – Caution, Courtesy, & Common Sense: Use caution, especially in close quarter maneuvering situations with other boats. In such situations, slow speeds are better. Be courteous to your fellow boaters, and use common sense. Don’t cut people off at the launch ramp, and never light fireworks from your boat!

By following these seven simple tips, you could save your life, the life of your passengers or fellow boaters and swimmers – and will make your Independence Day less stressful and more fun!

Be a Greener Boater: Protecting the Environment

Environmental-friendly boating practices help seafarers look beyond the bow and make a difference to maintain clean, healthy waters for years to come. Boating goes hand-in-hand with wildlife watching, swimming, fishing, snorkeling and diving—and each of these experiences is enhanced by the clean water required for a healthy bay. Unfortunately, mishandling a boat can be detrimental to marine ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. Improper handling, irresponsible or neglectful vessel maintenance, and poor refueling, repair and storage habits all present significant environmental risks. Reducing these risks not only helps preserve clean water and protect the animals that live in it, but also keeps boaters and their families safe – and can even save money!


Below, the experienced staff of Port Annapolis Marina lays out some best boating practices for a greener boating experience—practical steps you can use every time you hit the water. Learn more about how boaters can develop and incorporate environmentally friendly management strategies in six key areas:

  • Oil and Fuel
  • Sewage Pollution
  • Vessel Maintenance and Repair
  • Marine Debris
  • Storm Water Runoff
  • Vessel Operation

It’s important to realize you can make a tremendous difference and impact in preserving the health of the ocean and waterways!


Oil and Fuel

Diesel fuel and motor oil are toxic to people, plants and wildlife. They can also block life-giving sunlight in the water. Most oil pollution results from accidents and/or carelessness.

  • Refueling is when most spills happen. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends filling the tank to only ninety-percent to capacity to reduce the chance of spills from overfilling.
  • Even small oil spills spell trouble for water quality; bilge pumps can often discharge oil directly into the water. Be sure to use oil absorbent pads in the bilges of all boats with inboard engines.
  • Inspect thru-hull fittings often. A sinking boat is not only a safety risk for passengers, but also leaks dangerous fuel, oil and chemicals into the water.
  • DO NOT use soaps to disperse spills – it is ILLEGAL.


Sewage Pollution

Think one boat doesn’t make a difference? A single overboard discharge of human waste in a shallow enclosed area like a bay can be detected across one square mile. Excess nutrients disrupt natural cycles and pose a human health hazard.

  • Install and use a marine sanitation device as required by law.
  • Sewage and chemicals from holding tanks readily contaminate water.
  • Bring portable toilets ashore for proper disposal.


Vessel and Maintenance Repair

Sanding, cleaning, painting and degreasing boats can pose major threats to our waters. Particles of dust and paint in the water can block life-giving sunlight, and toxic substances from cleaners and antifouling compounds can sicken or kill marine life.

  • Use nonhazardous materials—if it’s hazardous to you, it’s hazardous to the environment.
  • Old batteries can leach dangerous lead or cadmium, and expired marine flares contain toxic materials as well so dispose of them properly.
  • When you paint your hull, choose officially certified environmentally-friendly materials


Marine Debris

Trash in the water isn’t just an eyesore; it damages boats and threatens the well-being of marine wildlife. It also undermines tourism and economic activities that create jobs. But there’s good news. Litter in the water is entirely preventable.

  • Bring your food containers, cigarette butts and other trash back to shore and recycle them whenever possible.
  • Let your marina know if it can provide better waste collection facilities.
  • Boaters are known for being good stewards and routinely picking up trash. For greater impact, raise awareness and collect data on what’s out there by participating in programs like Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.


Storm Water Runoff

At marinas, storm drains can carry pollutants – including toxic metals from boat hull scraping and sanding, oil and grease, detergents, litter, and hazardous bilge waste – directly into the water.

  • Use nontoxic cleaning products.
  • Discard worn motor parts carefully so oil doesn’t wash from them into storm drains.
  • Dispose of trash properly in onshore bins.


Vessel Operation

Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in reducing vessel operation damage. Vessel operation damage occurs whenever improper handling, irresponsible use or neglect of a vessel results in damages to the environment. The effects can be costly.

  • Anchors aweigh: Choose anchor sites carefully and use proper techniques to avoid damaging sensitive habitat.
  • Avoid boating in shallow water, where you can stir up sediments and disturb underwater habitat—not to mention damage your propeller, hull and engine if you run aground.
  • Know where to go slow to prevent shore-damaging wakes.

Port Annapolis has been recognized by the Department of Natural Resources as a Certified Clean Marina, so if you have any questions about how you can be a greener boater, please contact us! We’re happy to point you in the right direction and get you connected to local organizations in Annapolis that support green initiatives and cleaner water. Happy boating!

Port Annapolis Pool and Marina Rules

Port Annapolis Marina is proud to provide our patrons with unparalleled service and quality facilities while creating a safe, family-friendly environment around the clock. To ensure the maintenance of the high standards that makes our marina such a special community, please read the following marina and pool rules carefully and abide by them at all times—you’ll be safer, happier and more satisfied by following these simple steps!

Marina Rules

  • All areas are to be kept clear of clutter and tripping hazards.
  • Propane grills only on boats. No charcoal, wood-chip, etc.
  • No swimming or fishing allowed in marina waters.
  • Pets are welcome, but must be kept on a leash at all times. You must pick up after your pet. Bags are available for your convenience.
  • Fueling of a vessel in any slip is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All fueling at the Marina must be done at designated fuel docks.
  • All slip renters must adhere to Clean Boating Tips as set forth by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at
  • Work or maintenance on a vessel must be performed by an insured contractor that is compliant with Port Annapolis Marina’s insurance requirements.
  • No spray painting, fiberglass work, wood sanding or major engine work while boat is in slip unless expressly approved by management.
  • Place all trash in the cans provided. Over-sized debris is the responsibility of the boat owner.
  • Do not place or spill any pollutants such as oil, batteries and the like in trash receptacles.
  • Do not discharge Type I or Type II Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs) in marina waters.
  • Use your holding tanks as per government regulations. A pump out station is available at the fuel dock.
  • Do not pump oily bilge water overboard. We suggest the use of oil absorbent cloths in the bilge and the use of biodegradable cleaners whenever possible.
  • All hazardous chemicals such as used oil, fuel, batteries and antifreeze should be properly stored and recycled. Port Annapolis offers a convenient, free recycling drop-off point located at: 7074 Bembe Beach Road, Annapolis, MD 21403. Their hours are: Monday-Sunday, 8am-5pm (April to November 20) and Monday-Sunday, 9am-4pm (Thanksgiving through March).
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed on the piers – please refer to your slip agreement.
  • The lockers in the shower facility are for daily use only. Any locks left overnight may be removed.
  • Do not wash anything containing oil, paint, fuel or any hazardous substance in the laundry machines.
  • Loose halyards are to be secured when at dock.
  • No heaters on boats are to be left unattended.
  • Nothing may be attached to pilings without the permission of the marina office.


Pool Rules:

  • No Lifeguard on duty.
  • No Children under the age of 14 allowed in the pool area without adult (over 18) supervision (Note: Children 14-17 may NOT supervise children under 14).
  • No Running or Diving
  • No Glass or Food allowed inside the fenced pool area.
  • No Smoking allowed inside the fenced pool area.
  • No Pets allowed inside the fenced pool area as well as inside the bathhouses.
  • Port Annapolis Marina will not be held responsible for lost or stolen articles. Any articles left inside the pool area will be held for one week, and if not claimed, will be disposed of.
  • Keep off grass and out of garden areas.
  • All persons must shower prior to entering the pool.
  • No climbing on the fountain, fence, deck railings, tables, etc.
  • Gate to pool area is to remain closed at all times.
  • In case of inclement weather, the pool area will be cleared and the pool closed.
  • Patrons are not to play with pool equipment. If the water hose is placed in the pool by management, it is not to be used by pool patrons for any reason.
  • No splashing of other patrons by the pool.
  • No playing of games that take up large portions of the pool without prior management approval.
  • Guests are not allowed unless the tenant is present. Tenants will be held responsible for their guests.
  • No parties or large gatherings will be held in the pool/patio area without prior management approval.
  • Management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone or remove anyone from the pool area if management deems it necessary to maintain the safety and control of the area.

If you have any questions regarding these marina and pool rules, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We appreciate your assistance with following these rules to have a safe, fun season at Port Annapolis Marina!