Boating accidents are more common than you may think. From 2019 to 2020, boating accidents increased 26.3% in the U.S., from 4,168 to 5,265.
Before you set sail in your new boat, you’ll want to make sure you’ve followed some basic safety guidelines.
Understanding boating basics and following these boating tips can ensure smooth sailing for you and your loved ones.
1. Practice Using Your Boating Technology
Many of the devices on your boat will be new to you. Do some online research or study the instruction manuals for your GPS receiver, voyage data recorders, or depth sounder so you understand the basics before casting off.
2. Maintain Your Boat
Boats that aren’t cleaned and maintained often look neglected and operate poorly. Cleaning your boat’s upholstery is one example of a simple task that can extend the life of your boat. Follow the manufacturer’s boating guide on maintenance.
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3. Understand How Your Car Drives With the Boat Attached
Boating for beginners often includes learning how your car performs when hauling a boat. Any vehicle will accelerate, brake, and handle differently with a boat in tow. Driving behavior needs to adjust accordingly.
4. Go Slow
You are more likely to make a costly mistake the first few times you back your boat into a lake or perform another boat-related maneuver. Go slow and be mindful of every step along the way. After several tries, you’ll be able to launch and retrieve your boat with confidence.
5. Be Open to Advice From Others
While learning the basics of boating, think of yourself as a student. Like any good student, you should be open to learning from experienced boaters, whether that is through unsolicited advice or requests for help.
6. Stock Your Boat
You won’t want to be caught in a storm without a rainjacket, and long outings should include ample drinking water. You’ll want to stock your boat with basic safety supplies like a first aid kit, floatation devices, a whistle, and a fire extinguisher. If you only have one cell phone, keep it stored in a waterproof bag or container.
7. Follow a Checklist
There are plenty of online boating checklists. Alternatively, you can draft your own. Either way, your new boat owner’s essentials should include a pre-launch checklist that can ensure that you aren’t skipping any steps when preparing your boat for a day at the lake.
8. Practice Safe and Responsible Boating
The safest drivers practice defensive driving, and those same principles apply to boating. Be mindful of your surroundings and respectful of other people who are out on the lake. Err on the side of caution when determining how fast to travel or how close to pass an object on the lake.
9. Learn the Basics of Boat Maintenance
Like owning a car, there are certain maintenance steps that you can perform on your own. Checking the fuel line for cracks or looking for water in the fuel can prevent engine problems while you’re out on the lake.
10. Enjoy Your Time on the Water
One of the most important pieces of boating advice is to have fun! Once you have incorporated the tips in this article, you should feel confident that you are boating responsibly and safely.
Put These Boating Tips Into Daily Use
Following these boating tips is a great way to avoid rookie mistakes. Are you looking for more great tips on boating, nutrition, or other important topics? Check out our other blogs for expert advice on a wide range of fun and informative subjects.