Whether you are thinking of purchasing a boat, just bought one, or renting a watercraft for your introductory boating adventure, it’s essential to prepare yourself for ensuring a safe and fun trip. Glide along the calm seas and feel the gentle wind swirling around you while taking these seven helpful tips for first-time boaters into consideration!
1- Take Classes and Obtain Your Boating License
The first thing that’s required is taking boating classes to obtain your license, so you can safely get into the water. This is an important step, as it prevents you from encountering any boating mishaps, especially when you’re around other boaters in the beginning.
2- Plan the First Trip According to Weather
Choosing the right day and time to launch your boat is a safety factor any first-time boater shouldn’t dismiss. Even when the weather has been perfect for boating the past few days, it’s crucial to make sure there are no sudden alterations or unexpected storms in the area the day you take out your vessel.
3- Pack Light But Smart
Packing at the last moment means you’re bound to forget a thing or two before leaving for your boating excursion. That’s why it is better to prepare a backpack, including essentials like a first-aid kit, sunscreen, basic toolbox, flashlight, extra batteries, radio, GPS device, water, and some snacks. Most importantly, don’t forget to keep your personal floatation device (PFD) on your body when leaving for the trip.
4- Over-Layer Yourself
It’s also a helpful tip to over-layer yourself when it comes to dressing for the boat. Even when the weather is somewhat warm, you might get cold when the wind picks up on the water level. Also, there’s usually a significant drop in temperature on the sea and rivers that must be taken into account.
5- Establish a Float Plan
Creating a float plan is a must, even when you’re an experienced boater because emergencies don’t alert you before heading your way. Your float plan must include a general description of your vessel, the number of passengers overboard, your destination, and the route you’re going to take for reaching your endpoint. This gives the authorities a much-needed head start in case a boater goes missing.
6- Learn How to Dock Adequately
It’s best to practice your docking techniques in calm waters before cruising the blues to ensure your boat’s safety. It’s essential to take it slow when docking and never hesitate to turn around and try again if something doesn’t feel right.
7- Know the Rules
Lastly, it’s crucial to follow the waterway rules for everyone’s safety. For instance, it’s vital to learn how to overtake a boat, make a turn, maintain a safe speed, and obey the no-wake areas so you can easily avoid unaccounted accidents or steering off to the no-go boundaries.
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