As a new boater, there is a lot to learn in a short period of time. Remaining safe while on the water is unquestionably of the utmost importance. If you’re new to boating or plan to buy a buy in the near future, I recommend learning these 8 safety tips. These tips are easy to learn and remember.
Wear The Kill Switch Lanyard
Today, in most states, it is a law to connect the kill switch lanyard to your body. In the event that you go overboard, the boat engine will shut down, allowing you to swim back and climb aboard.
Boaters often find wearing a lanyard a nuisance because it restricts their ability to move about. However, in the unfortunate situation that you go over the side, it is a life saver.
Learn How To Read Channel Markers
Channel markers are an important resource for boaters as they help guide the operator through areas where dangers lurk.
However, in order to properly navigate the channel, it is important to know the different types of marking and how to proceed.
In order to avoid running aground, preventing collisions, or putting yourself in harm’s way, learn navigation rules.
Understand How To Use Marine Electronics
For the most part, boats today are equipped with marine electronics. Specifically, they are fitted with a chart plotter for navigation and depth sounding equipment.
The combination of the two allows boaters to proceed more safely. However, it is important to understand how to properly use the electronics package.
I recommend playing around with the chart plotter before you actually need to use it. Being comfortable will help you to better maintain your course line while underway.
Lastly, if you are planning a visit to a new destination by boat, create a route in advance.
Know The Different Points Of The Boat
The different sections of a boat have a multitude of names. While you don’t need to know them all, it is important to know those that are most commonly referred to.
Often, dockhands and guests on the boat will call out points of the boat, and you, as the operator, should know what they are.
Without a doubt, it is essential to know the following. The bow, stern, port, and starboard side. The bow is the most forward section, the stern is at the back of the boat, the port side is on the left side while looking forward, and the starboard side is on the right when looking forward.
Knowing these locations will better allow a new boat operator to react when a request is made to move in a certain direction.
One important tip that I always like is the importance of doing nothing. Doing nothing seems counterintuitive, but it can greatly lessen damage.
To further explain, if you find yourself in a precarious situation when operating a boat, especially while docking, putting the boat in neutral is often the best bet.
Unfortunately, inexperienced boat operators become panicked when maneuvering in tight quarters. As a result, they throttle up and down, often applying too much power, making the situation more dangerous.
Without question, the new boat owner is at higher risk of colliding with other boats and fixed objects when panic sets in. You’re better off putting the engine in neutral and nestling up against a boat or fixed object.
Inspect The Bilge Before Departing The Dock
The bilge of a boat is the lowest point, and therefore, it collects water. On a yearly basis, vessels sink as a result of bilge pump failure.
To avoid falling victim to sinking, I recommend peeking your head into the bilge. Inspect the bilge for excessive water. Additionally, turn the pump to the on position to ensure it functions properly.
The last thing you want is to be out on the water with a flooded bilge and no way to get the water out.
Memorize Boating Knots
The difference in a boat remaining secured to the dock or a fender holding in position is impacted by knot tying.
As a new boater, you will not be required to learn a significant amount of knots but instead just a few.
Some of the most important knots include a clove hitch for fenders and a cleat hitch for dock lines. The last thing you want is for your boat to come free from the dock or your fenders to drop and float away with the tide or current.
Practice Boat Handling
Practicing boat handling as a new boater is a must. As a former captain, I practiced driving vessels on a consistent basis to better hone my skills.
Some of the best techniques to practice include departing the dock, returning to the dock, and running the boat in reverse.
Without question, it takes time to become comfortable and confident as a boat operator. The more you practice, the less likely you are to become panicked in stressful situations.
Learn The 8 Safety Tips For New Boaters
As a former captain, I have seen a lot of rookie mistakes on the water by boat owners. In most cases, the driver failed to learn the basics of boating before operating highly populated waterways. I recommend keeping these 8 safety tips in mind as you become more and more confident with boat operations.