Summer is just around the corner and there’s no time like the present to start preparing for a great time on the water and on beautiful beaches. If your summer plans include beginning your boating journey, there are a few things every boater needs under their belt before leaving shallow water.
There’s no room for intimidation in boating
The first thing to understand as a beginner boater is that you are operating a powerful piece of machinery. There’s no room for intimidation in boating. There will be other boaters on the water, there will be obstacles to navigate around, and there are other below surface factors that you’ll need to consider at all times. Like any new skill, you become more confident in your abilities the more you practice. With the right education, experience, and hands-on lessons, boating is a fun past time.
Get your boating license and registration
You will need proper training to learn the basics of boating. Boating clubs, marine organizations, or boating enthusiast groups often provide support and boater training courses. Formal training will teach you the basics of boating, including terminology, wind awareness, steering, knot tying, boat preparation, safety and equipment use, and how to recover someone overboard. In the U.S. boater education requirements vary by state, but chances are, formal in-depth course completion is mandatory.
Explore different boating styles by going out on different types of boats. Zeke’s Marina offers the largest fleet of inshore charter boats in Orange Beach, Alabama. The marina’s fleet comprises over 50 inshore fishing charters and offshore fishing boats perfect for all-day excursions.
Understand how all of your boating instruments work
Boats of all sizes and capabilities depend on things like navigation, safety, and fishing gadgets to operate smoothly. Depending on the boat, you may encounter sophisticated navigational tools like gyro stabilizers, magnetic compasses, autopilot systems, depth sounders, GPS receivers, navigational lights, and more. You’ll need to know how to utilize safety equipment like lifejackets, indicating compasses, sound signals, distress flares, bilge pumps, potable water, and more. You may not always operate the same boat, which means not all boating instruments will be the same.
Always make a boating checklist
Always be prepared for any on-water possibility by maintaining a pre-departure checklist. Leave a float plan with someone onshore so that in the event something happens on the water, rescuers know where to look. Keep a stocked first-aid kit on board in case you need to treat cuts, sunburn, or sun poisoning. Have a toolbox on hand with spare parts and basic tools, and be able to fix minor technical or mechanical problems while on the water.
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Responsibility comes with common sense
Follow the rules, stay alert, and trust your instinct. Delegate a boating passenger who is familiar with boat operations to assist you in the event of an emergency. This means someone who can execute safety procedures calmly, including steering the boat back to shore. Drinking and operating a boat is a no-no, especially since the wind and sun amplify the effects of alcohol. You need to be a strong swimmer before becoming a boater, and when first starting out, stick to calm waters with extended shorelines and no currents.
Once you understand the basics of boating, you can look forward to long days of fun and adventure.