Once you’ve decided to take on boating as a hobby, you are sure to experience things you have never tried before.
But every rookie boater starts somewhere. Following the boating tips for beginners listed in this article may be your first step in achieving optimum satisfaction from your newfound hobby.
1. Have Proper Training
Boating isn’t anything like other activities that can be undertaken even by amateurs as it entails safety of all the people onboard. Also, it is important to note that beginners who set sail the first time don’t do so with zero knowledge of what they’re doing. They may have had someone who influenced their choice. Be it a friend or a family member with the same hobby or an instructor, you should find someone to teach you the basics.
2. Get Your License and Boat Registration
For most countries around the world, boating license and registration is required before you can even bring your boat down the coast. This means you should research laws covering the type of boat you are bringing to the waters as well as the place where you plan to do it.
Fortunately, the Internet has become an infinite spring of knowledge for anyone who wants to try something new. Make sure to maximize it by looking into the documents required to make your new hobby happen. This, as well as the cost of processing of your license and registration, will also depend on whether you plan to take your vessel on canals, rivers, or other waterways. Your boat’s length, the duration of your license, and your purpose of using the watercraft will also be taken into consideration.
Knowing all this will save you the headache of finding out later and being reprimanded for not following local regulations on boating.
3. Use Your Common Sense
Safety should be the utmost priority for all boat owners and captains. Because of this, it is imperative for you to remember to use your common sense before, during, and after you take your vessel out on the waters. Here are some Boat Safety Tips You Should Remember.
4. Have Emergency Tools Handy
Emergency tools should always be kept in your boat. This includes safety gears like lifejackets, a first aid kit, and tools for when you need to do some repairs while sailing. This way, you can attend to emergency situations immediately without needing to wait for hours for help to arrive.
5. Choose a Spot
Remember that boating beginners should tread the waters lightly— literally. This means you should choose a location that is out of the way and is lightly populated. Calm waters are the best for wakeboarding and waterskiing, but there may be days when you may not have a lot of options. Remember to minimize your impact on a single area so that residents in nearby cottages won’t be disturbed.
6. Set a Schedule
Boats are generally loud and may upset residents living in cottages close to shore. Because of this, it is important to pick a time of the day when you won’t disturb them. Of course, you may not be able to resist heading out to enjoy the sunrise or sunset, so be sure to head to a place where your boat’s noise can’t be heard.
7. Follow the Barbell Pattern
The barbell pattern is characterized by a long straight line that turns on either end. It is the most advisable pattern to follow for beginners and expert boaters alike as it minimizes the space required for your boat while maintaining calm waters. It also allows the wake your boat creates to be more predictable than when just sailing on some random pattern.
8. Pack More Than Enough Food and Drinking Water
Packing more than what you need is another general rule that should be followed by every boater. This is also true for food and drinking water. Believe it or not, boating is a lot of work that may make you thirstier and hungrier than usual.
9. Leave a Float Plan with Someone You Trust
A float plan is a document containing pertinent information about your boat, yourself, your passengers, your course, and your itinerary on the water. Leaving a float plan is required for boat captain and his passengers’ safety. This way, someone on land knows where you’re headed, the path you’ll take, and when you should be back on shore who can alert authorities if anything goes awry.
10. Respect Other Boaters
Boating is an enjoyable hobby, so long as boaters respect each other. This means you shouldn’t make waves just for fun, only to disturb others who also wish to enjoy the water. Make sure that you minimize your impact on others. This also covers the boat stereos as sound travels farther and clearer on the water. Remember that respect begets respect. If you want others to do the same for you, be courteous to them.
11. Know Your Capabilities
Overestimating your skills in boating is probably the biggest mistake any boater can make. While it may be good to explore your capabilities, make sure that you do it in a way that you and your passengers aren’t put at risk.
The same is true for wakeboarders. The sport is thrilling and dangerous if you have less experience, so make sure to practice well first before doing any stunts on the waters. Be realistic and don’t try anything risky.