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Cockpit speakers and anchorage noise

Sep 30, 2008
1,429
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
At anchor on a peaceful night visiting Zafu in the BVIs, I played my harmonica with Bob Ward and his guitar. I was a little worried about disrupting the anchorage with our music, but I couldn't miss that opportunity to experience life and hoped no one else got annoyed. If anyone had complained, we would have stopped right away with an apology. No big deal. There's always something else to do.
We were anchored early one morning with several other boats waiting for the lock to open into the Dismal Swamp when one skipper stepped on deck with bagpipes and entertained us all with a nice medley. At other marinas on the ICW, heading to Florida, he would perform each morning and was greatly appreciated.
We play Jimmy Buffet and Izzy (Hawaiian) on the cockpit speakers, but only loud enough for us to hear them. If it gets late and one boat is too loud with music or generator, I would think about putting a spotlight on the offending vessel. If enough boats did the same, it could shame the offenders. At least that worked in some campgrounds I was in.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,841
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Just about every boat built with a radio has speakers in the cockpit. Do you use those speakers? Do you worry about noise and other boats?

More to the point, do you think other skippers worry about you when they crank the volume?

How do you approach noise at anchor, and the fine line between your own enjoyment and noise pollution? (And it's okay to rant about generators, too!)

View attachment 160346
No surprise, crowded anchorages are rare for us on the coast of Maine. I'm reminded of that when I cruise in Southern New England. The worst noise in crowded anchorages are engines and generators running to charge batteries.

When it happens, most folks only run them during mid day when other noises, outboards etc, fill the air. About an hour engine charging usually is the max for sailboats, hopefully less. After enduring an hour or so of a nearby engine or generator running, it's amazing how wonderfully quiet the anchorage is when it is shut down.

Big mobo's can be the worst noise makers often running generators at all hours. You take that into account anchoring(or not and moving on).

I can't recall the last time we were bothered by loud music. We don't have speakers in the cockpit or down below. If we have music onboard it's through a blue tooth speaker like a Bose mini.

We all make some noise. We have two dogs and occasionally something will set them off, but we'll be right on it to quiet them down. I'd hate to bother anyone else's peace.

We spend many overnights every season, like this.
Anchored at dusk (1 of 1) copy.jpg

Dusk and dawn - especially dawn, are the witching hours for me to enjoy the stillness on the water at anchor. It's amazing what you can see and hear in a secluded anchorage if you're still.
 
Oct 19, 2017
5,044
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
When we first got chickens, it turned out that 4of them turned into roosters. Like all my closest neighbors, I live on a 5+ acre lot. I can just see the white house next door through the trees in the Fall. When those roster started to crow, they cared not for daylight hours. Through the logs of my home they were pretty muted. No complaints from the white house either.
I walked over one day.
"Will, what can I do for you?"
"Nothing really, Rusty. I just came over to see how loud my roosters are from over here."
Rusty's wife walked out to say 'hi' just then. "Oh, they are driving us nuts." She told me.
"I'm sorry about that. Give me a couple of days to figure out what to do about it."
Two days later, there was fresh chicken in our freezer. They didn't bother us, no way am I going to live knowing how our neighbors felt.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Jun 14, 2010
910
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
I'm not bothered by wind gens, or slapping halyards. Loud music can get to me if it runs too late, especially if I don't like it, and droning gensets can also be upsetting if thy run on too long. But the worst, IMHO is being downwind of a smelly engine or cigar smoker.
One day we were anchored and another trimaran came in that looked like my prior boat. Sure enough it was, and I told my wife we should go over and introduce ourselves (it wasn't the person I sold it to, he had moved on to his next). I was going to bring an offering of food or wine but she said "what if we don't like them?". I said "I'm sure we can find something to chat about, the only people I automatically don't like are cigar smokers". We pulled up in our dinghy and the owner greeted us wearing a wife-beater t-shirt, clenching a big cigar, sporting a smile full of badly stained teeth. :eek: We stayed in the dinghy and made small talk just long enough to allow for a polite retreat. My wife laughed at me after.
 
Jul 31, 2010
5,370
AquaCat 12.5 17342 Wateree Lake, SC
When we first got chickens, it turned out that 4of them turned into roosters. Like all my closest neighbors, I live on a 5+ acre lot. I can just see the white house next door through the trees in the Fall. When those roster started to crow, they cared not for daylight hours. Through the logs of my home they were pretty muted. No complaints from the white house either.
I walked over one day.
"Will, what can I do for you?"
"Nothing really, Rusty. I just came over to see how loud my roosters are from over here."
Rusty's wife walked out to say 'hi' just then. "Oh, they are driving us nuts." She told me.
"I'm sorry about that. Give me a couple of days to figure out what to do about it."
Two days later, there was fresh chicken in our freezer. They didn't bother us, no way am I going to live knowing how our neighbors felt.

-Will (Dragonfly)
Obviously you had not named them. Once you name them it’s hard to eat them.
 
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Sep 20, 2014
1,083
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
Since I never sleep on the boat, I'm never bothered by loud music. I use a Bluetooth speaker, so the sound from my boat doesn't travel far.
Many years ago, I lived in an apartment. We had obnoxious neighbors below us. One very effective solution was to figure out what station they were listening to, and play the same station with one little catch, I played it through my 3 head cassette deck, so there was a slight delay. They'd change stations, so then I changed stations. Shortly after that, they gave up and turned it off. Apparently hearing every bass note twice was quite annoying. They did learn to listen to CD's after that. Eventually I upgraded my stereo, and they got very careful after that. I measured sustained SPL of 120 db @ 10 feet playing pipe organ music. We were always considerate. We knew what kind of cars they drove, so we would always make sure they were not home before airing out the system.
 
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Sep 30, 2008
1,429
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Obviously you had not named them. Once you name them it’s hard to eat them.
So true. One of our chicks turned out to be a rooster. The crowing didn't bother us so much as his chasing the dogs around and just taking over the whole yard. He had been named Doris or something, and the grandchildren liked him, so no chicken dinner. We brought him upcountry where a lot of feral chickens live, and let him go. I'm sure with a name like Doris he became one tough rooster.
 
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May 17, 2004
1,937
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
I've never really been bothered by music or other noise pollution, except one repeat offender I remember from when I was a kid. Across them river from our marina was a boat yard with all old wooden power boats. There was one old Egg Harbor whose owner decided every nice Saturday evening was the right time to exercise his engines. Many years went by when I didn't see that boat leave its slip once, but for about an hour a week, right around dinner time and sunset, he would start both of his badly muffled engines and rev them intermittently. It was always a tremendous feeling of relief when he shut them down, but we always wondered why he just wanted to run the engines without going anywhere, and why he had to do it right at that time of day.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
3,359
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
The best way to avoid noise is to try to be out there when others are not. But sometimes that does not even work. I've sat perfectly alone at a remote anchorage, in the middle of a weekday, in less than perfect weather, when some other boater will come in, drop barely 200 ft away from me and after a few minutes turn on the tunes in the cockpit, then go below. You got me. I don't know what these people think:doh:. If it goes on long enough I'll shout over and ask to turn it down or off. Sometimes they do.
 
Last edited:
Oct 22, 2014
10,137
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
One way to deal with anchorage noise pollution is to go sailing when others aren’t.

2019 Extreme Winter Adventure.
Got a wee bit more than anticipated but fun all the same.

We were pretty much alone with nature. The occasional seal broke the surface to check us out, or the local Eagle would sail over the bay as we entered.

Sucia Island -mooring ball
D0CCACE2-92FC-40C2-AA78-A6D387CD459C.jpeg

Saturna Island - dock. Nearest party was the local pub about 70 yards away.
0E124572-25C9-4314-9642-1F1BF17ACA30.jpeg

Annette Inlet-anchored “Sound of snow falling on Cedars”
E59E51B2-3FEE-4B66-8F74-71299FF716C6.jpeg
 
Jul 7, 2004
5,908
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
When we first got chickens, it turned out that 4of them turned into roosters. Like all my closest neighbors, I live on a 5+ acre lot. I can just see the white house next door through the trees in the Fall. When those roster started to crow, they cared not for daylight hours. Through the logs of my home they were pretty muted. No complaints from the white house either.
I walked over one day.
"Will, what can I do for you?"
"Nothing really, Rusty. I just came over to see how loud my roosters are from over here."
Rusty's wife walked out to say 'hi' just then. "Oh, they are driving us nuts." She told me.
"I'm sorry about that. Give me a couple of days to figure out what to do about it."
Two days later, there was fresh chicken in our freezer. They didn't bother us, no way am I going to live knowing how our neighbors felt.

-Will (Dragonfly)
A friend of mine used to name their chicks "The Colonel", "McNuggets" etc so the kids knew not to get too attached to them.
 
Oct 19, 2017
5,044
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
A friend of mine used to name their chicks "The Colonel", "McNuggets" etc so the kids knew not to get too attached to them.
My wife named the first three meat birds we got, Winner, Winner, Chicken dinner.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
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Oct 19, 2017
5,044
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
My father assumes that all women who aren't on Fox News are liberal. He was talking my wife one day saying, "I know what I'm going to get you for a present. A gun. You should have a pistol for home defense."
My wife, who adores the Old Man, but also knows how to give as well as he can, said, "I would love that. Yes, you should get me a gun."
So now, she owns a shiny silver 38 revolver.
She is the only daughter of her parent's five children. They are from old New England farmers and they all hunt. I won't let my wife do the killing when it comes time to process our birds because I don't want her to have that memory to live with. Besides, what if she took to it?
She has a gun and I do the dishes, vacuum, shovel snow, laundry, and kill the chickens.
It's all about survival. ;)

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Sep 30, 2008
1,429
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
She has a gun and I do the dishes, vacuum, shovel snow, laundry, and kill the chickens.
It's all about survival. ;)
When I took my wife to the range for the first time, she scored 5 bullseyes out of 5 shots. I have been a good boy. She now owns a .357 Magnum, so I am even gooder.
 
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