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Old 06-19-2015, 08:26 PM   #1
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Generator etiquette ?

Pulled into an anchorage occupied by a bunch of sail boaters. Just got through motoring like 90 miles from Key West. Hot, sticky, and wanted to cook some food in the AC. So I fired up the generator and turned on both ACs. I'm the only one running a generator.

My gen is pretty quiet outside but loud as hell inside. Should I worry about these other boaters or just give them the finger and relax in my cool AC?
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:35 PM   #2
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When you hear the gentle TAP-TAP-TAP on the hull be sure to answer with the obligatory small bag of ice. Your sailing neighbors will love you, at least until the ice runs out.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:41 PM   #3
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Ha! Will do!
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:55 PM   #4
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The biggest objection to generators in this area seem to be focused on boaters who run them constantly all day, run them late at night, or fire them up early in the morning. It's a bigger issue with boats on a dock than at anchor or on a mooring buoy. I've seen some near-violent confrontations on docks in the marine parks because someone was running a generator constantly, or they were upwind of everyone else and ran it for long periods of time.

People got most upset over the noisy portable gas generators people sit on decks or on the dock next to their boat. Things like Hondas and whatnot. The constant loud buzzing gets on people's nerves pretty quickly. The advent of quieter portable generators may have alleviated the situation in more recent years.

I once saw a boater kick another boater's running Honda off the dock into the water after the fellow had been running it all day, even when he wasn't there, and refused to discuss shutting it down.

So consideration is the key I think. If one has a quiet generator and uses it keeping in mind what the nearby boaters are trying to get out of their boating experience I would think that would be fair, particularly in your climate. It's a pretty safe bet the sailboaters had AC in their vehicles and maybe homes, too, right?
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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Built in water cooled generators are generally pretty quiet outside of your boat. During daylight hours no problem. You need it, run it. . . During sleeping hours, I would probably cut "them" some slack.

I had one of "them" row over to complain about my anchor light being too bright once. So I'm sure, even the gentle trickle of generator exhaust water outflow from your boat could be construed as objectionable to S-O-M-E people.
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:27 PM   #6
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If you can, run the airs hard for a couple hours with tstats set low. Chill the boat down. Then bedtime, shut everything down. Most boats stay sleepable overnight with airs off.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:05 PM   #7
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Ferenc Mate wrote in Best Boats to Build or Buy about the Nordic Tug 26:

"But whatever you do, do not install a generator that you may be tempted to run in a silent anchorage, for if I'm nearby I'm going to shatter your eardrums with the most vile string of words you've ever heard. Remember, Hungarians are world swearing champions, who laughingly mix curse, carnal acts, bestiality, and saints. One old Hungarian was once known to swear for a steady half hour without repeating a single word. Beware!"

Now I know that Ferenc has moved far away to France and has opened a vineyard since, but his words ring true within my ears.

Mind you this is in BC waters. No AC required...
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:13 PM   #8
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Shut it down late for the night. If needed turn on in the am at a respectable time.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:08 PM   #9
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"Ski in NC" and "mbevins" have it right. Run your gen if you must, to cook or pull-down refrigerators and A/C, but for Pete's sake, shut it off at night. Sound travels surprisingly loud and far across the water!
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:58 PM   #10
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Run it until they complain then say sorry.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardude01 View Post
Pulled into an anchorage occupied by a bunch of sail boaters. Just got through motoring like 90 miles from Key West. Hot, sticky, and wanted to cook some food in the AC. So I fired up the generator and turned on both ACs. I'm the only one running a generator.

My gen is pretty quiet outside but loud as hell inside. Should I worry about these other boaters or just give them the finger and relax in my cool AC?
If your gen is quiet outside and you've anchored away from others as best as can, I say, run and run it and run it how you like. Many sailboaters have no problem letting their halyards bang in the wind or letting their wind generators whistle all day and night.

I go out of my way in most cases to be courteous to other boaters. But as to turning it off before going to sleep, not me in south FL or other places further south in the summer that's for sure.

You're never going to please everybody. Heck I've heard people complain about not the exhaust gas sound but the splashing sound the exhaust water can make. Or even the splashing sound the A/C cooling water can make. I mean really? You're on a boat and you have a problem with the sound of water splashing!?
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:29 AM   #12
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If sailboaters are nearby, run it often and long.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
If your gen is quiet outside and you've anchored away from others as best as can, I say, run and run it and run it how you like. Many sailboaters have no problem letting their halyards bang in the wind or letting their wind generators whistle all day and night.

I go out of my way in most cases to be courteous to other boaters. But as to turning it off before going to sleep, not me in south FL or other places further south in the summer that's for sure.

You're never going to please everybody. Heck I've heard people complain about not the exhaust gas sound but the splashing sound the exhaust water can make. Or even the splashing sound the A/C cooling water can make. I mean really? You're on a boat and you have a problem with the sound of water splashing!?
There's a lot of truth there. We don't need to run the generator all night in NorCal, but I sure understand the need in FL or anywhere within 1000 miles. I hate heat with humidity almost as much as I hate googans parking on my transom during fishing season!! We have installed relatively quiet 12V Caframo fans throughout the boat to aid in the movement of air.

IMO, the use of generators requires "reasonable accommodation" of the needs of both parties. Adjusting the genset use to accommodate both can go a long way toward avoiding problems. Try an affable dink visit to the neighbor with beer in hand. Tell him what channel you'll monitor if they think it's a problem. Who knows...you might even make a friend in the process.

Don't even get me started on the incessant clanking of halyards through the night!!!
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:00 AM   #14
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I do have sound shields and very quiet generators. I don't regularly anchor and I try to stay a reasonable distance from other boats. However, I am going to run my generator when needed. Right now the temperature at 2:00 AM in South Florida is 83 degrees. It isn't hot weather, high tomorrow only 90 degrees. We just don't have the cool nights you may elsewhere. Similar in the Bahamas and Keys and many other places south. My generator makes less noise than their halyards and even some other of their equipment. Even less than their talk and sex with their windows all open. I don't think total silence is a reasonable expectation and have never been anchored with other boats where they were noise free. There are sailors who have a problem with the concept of generators, not the noise. We also have multiple refrigerators and freezers to power. We've measured and found we were under 30 decibels from twenty feet away. Also, because we anchor away from others the ones close to us are those who pulled in close and when they did our generator was running.

At docks, we would only run if the electric was out or unavailable for some reason. At docks with no electric we try to keep a distance and typically those are outside side ties where it doesn't become a problem.

What I find funny is at home have you ever listened to your own air conditioner plus those of neighbors? We don't ask our neighbors to not run their air at night.
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:56 AM   #15
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Sailboats have 12 volt fans, full opening hatches, air scoops, cowl vents and Dorade boxes to ensure airflow through the boat. My JN doesn't even have sliding windows. I try to be considerate and will anchor upwind and as far away as possible but on a summers night in Texas, I am running my sound shielded generator.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:09 AM   #16
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I'm not a problem. Have no genset, and the four halyards do not bang. (Not that I couldn't be with air horns and ten-gage cannon.)


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Old 06-20-2015, 06:10 AM   #17
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Usually the noise is only 1/2 the problem , the STENCH is the other half.

Anchor downwind of the fleet for fewest hassles.
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:48 AM   #18
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I am kind of interested in how Ski's advice turned out. My thoughts are it doesn't work well in South Florida at this time of year due to humidity levels.
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:29 AM   #19
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I think etiquette, is important in boating, you never know when you may need a friend.

We used to charter and anchor this time of year in SW Florida. And on our Hatteras, all summer long in NC. Anchor down wind on the fringe of the pack (or where the pack will be) and run that thing all night if that's what it takes for crew comfort. We're pleasure boaters, in that order. The generator was very quiet outside of the boat. I got a complaint here and there because of the splashing,each time from a late comer, my response was : "we anchored here for a reason, and I didn't anchor your boat there for you, sorry!". That ended the conversation. A few times, when we were on board, I would let people sidling up to us on the port side that there would be a generator exhausting on that side and they thanked me and found another spot.
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:30 AM   #20
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Generator etiquette ?

Well, I ran it while cooking dinner and tried to get the cabin cooled down as cold as possible before I hit the sack, but it turned into a hot sticky night after about 2am. I opened the hatches and the portligts that have screens but there was no breeze at all and felt like 99% humidity.

Next time Im anchoring by myself so I can run the AC all night if I need to. 😄

Part of the problem was I anchored too close to a couple of sailboats and they were behind me where the gen exhausts. I need to do better at choosing my spot. I'm finding anchoring positioning is an acquired skill that I don't have yet. I don't know how close or far to get from everyone allowing for scope and swing.
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