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I posted the photo below on the ZTC Facebook page, making a bit of a rant about people tilting their outboard engines up at crowded dinghy docks. I essentially said that if the water is deep enough to not require it, don’t do it!

Several people couldn’t understand why I would say this. If you’ve ever had to “park” at a crowded dock, the answer is obvious. THIS is why…

Raising your engine at a spot like this shows, in my opinion, a total disregard for other people’s property. I don’t care about the mystery threat of stray current around the dock, or growth on the lower unit. Neither are an acceptable excuse. A prop rubbing on the inflatable tubes of a dinghy can easily cause damage. Have some respect… DO NOT be “that guy.”


  1. For people that insist on raising their motors at dinghy docks, pulling a bucket over the prop and securing is the best solution I’ve seen.


    Also, don’t be “that guy” next to the engine tilter, who apparently doesn’t attach the kill switch key to his body while underway.

    • We always attached the kill switch in our other dinghies but haven’t been doing so with the big one. We should rig it so that it’s more easy to do. It’s not convenient at the moment.

  3. Could not agree more.

  4. It had to be said. Thanks!

  5. Wow, that is a busy dinghy dock. It would certainly make locking dinghy a challenge.
    What is the normal tying off etiquette in such a place? Are all the painters tied off to the bollards on the dock, or tied to the next dinghy in?

    • They are tied to the dock. Second to the issue that I raised in this post is tying (locking) your dingy to a dock like this with a really short painter/cable/chain.

  6. I would bet there are a lot of “those guys” in a place full of bareboat charters. Tough to over come that kind of ignorance.

  7. Great post Mike. These are the “small things” that are not taught anywhere in any formal course. You will likely find that it is just a lack of education, rather than an outright lack of consideration. Thank you – please continue to highlight these things for us!

    PS: What is their rationale for tilting it up? Fear of a tide running out? Reducing contact with seawater to avoid growths or something?

  8. PPS: What do you normally do when your own dinghy is attached to your catamaran moored or anchored away in the open? Do you keep it down or tilt it up then?

    • It’s normally down. Only occasionally do I raise it.

      We do keep the tender in the davits when it’s not being used though, and definitely raise it every night.

  9. If the outboard’s sacrificial anodes are in functional condition, it’s not going to be harmed – at all – by being left in the water. A dinghy’s engine is completely self-contained, electrically isolated from the boat it’s attached to, and virtually all outboards have a corrosion protection system designed to keep them safe under these conditions.

    If the anodes are not in functional condition, then the death of the outboard is far more likely to be due to a complete absence of maintenance than to corrosion.

  10. Georgetown was one of the busiest dinghy docks we’ve seen so far, we went over this very concern on the morning net. Please don’t tilt your motor, most cruisers, but not all listened. The only thing you can do is stay away from them, if possible.

  11. Well said Mike!!!
    This has been a rant of mine for years…(ask my wife lol)
    Nothing worse then tying off carefully Making sure all is in good order, to return to see a new arrival with the slashing prop against your dinghy!! Ahhhh!!

    Care for others and their property as you would your own…

    Lady J 111

  12. Capt Jerry Robbins,usmm(ret) - Reply

    I am sure they do not think it should be necessary to teach manners to students whom have the wherewithal to purchase a yacht however I nave surmised that good manners are lacking!

  13. We call those cactuses “penis cactus” because that’s what they look like.

  14. That makes my local Wally World parking lot seem tame!

  15. How do you secure your dinghy in a case like that? Do you just lock the engine and tie off the dinghy?

  16. Even though we have a hard dinghy which is impervious to any prop damage, I always leave our motor down out of courtesy to the owners of easily damaged inflatables!

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