Boating is a popular activity that requires proper training and experience. A combination of physical and navigational skills, as well as some technical knowledge, can affect the pleasure of the experience. If you are unprepared, your boating trips may not turn out so well. Here are five boating tips for beginners.
- Do some training
Amateurs can’t just jump into a boat and expect to know what to do. It helps to begin with a friend who has a boat or an instructor. Local boating clubs or marine organizations may offer training.
Whether it is in a lake, a local reservoir or the ocean, you need to learn the basics of the type of boating you want to do. This may include terminology, steering, knot tightening, boat preparation, safety, use of equipment and more.
Most U.S. states require you to complete an approved boater safety course before operating a powerboat or personal watercraft (PWC). Ilearntoboat boater safety course is built around real-life scenarios. You choose an avatar and successfully complete various in-game challenges to move up levels. Complete the final exam, and you get a boater education card that proves you have completed an approved safety course.
- Get your license and registration
The paperwork you need and the cost of obtaining it will depend on various factors. You will need to decide what type of boating you want to do and where you will be doing it. If you want to sail on an inland waterway, for example, you will usually need a license and/or sailing registration issued by the appropriate local navigation authority.
Mooring a boat when it is not in use could also require a license. It is better to figure before you start exactly what licenses etc. you will need.
- Understand your equipment and tools
It is important to be confident about using safety equipment. Safety equipment may include items like lifejackets, distress flairs, paddles, oars, sound signals, a marine radio, auto and manual bilge pumps and fire extinguishers.
Advances in technology have led to the creation of some very sophisticated navigational tools, such as magnetic compasses, gyro stabilizers, autopilot systems, GPS receivers, navigational lights and more. Even if your equipment is fairly simple, you still need to know how to use it properly.
- Prepare well in advance of launch
Checking the weather before boating is critical, as it can be highly unpredictable. Dress appropriately for the weather. Layers are advisable so you can remove items of clothing if it gets to warm and add them again when it gets cooler.
Have a pre-departure checklist so you don’t overlook any safety precautions. For example, your checklist can remind you to check the first aid items on the boat. Having the right items in your first aid box means you will be able to treat yourself or someone else before getting back to shore.
Valuables like keys, cell phones or wallets should be placed in waterproof storage and safely stowed away. They can easily get wet or even fall overboard.
- Have a float plan and don’t forget the lifejackets
Keeping afloat plan onshore means people on shore know where you intend to go. If something should go wrong on the water and you don’t return to shore, they will know where to look for you.
Most boating-related deaths happen because boaters are not wearing lifejackets. It may make you feel less comfortable and stylish but it is worth wearing a lifejacket even if you swim well. When you’re in an ocean with huge swells or a fast-moving river, it could just save your life.