But there is more to the story than that. The two words – Hello! Boat? – encompass the complexity of the informal institution of boating: a work system used by boatmen operating along the ghats of Banaras and based on customary rules and regulations – something I describe as a moral economy. It is unlikely that the following account of the boatmen’s work system will offer any consolation to those tourists visiting Banaras. However, I do suggest that there is a certain logic underpinning this pestering practice, derived from the boatmen’s own unique social and spatial arrangements on the riverfront.