One of the most challenging aspects of being on a boat as a passenger or operator is remaining balanced. Balance is thrown off due to the pitching and rocking as a result of waves. Importantly, those who are new to boating are more likely to succumb to balance issues as compared to experienced boaters. As a former captain, I faced large seas consistently, so I can tell you how to best improve balance on a boat. Here are the top 10 ways.
Keep Your Eyes On The Horizon
Often, people believe that keeping your eyes on the horizon is a tall tale. Fortunately, this technique is not a tall tale and is actually beneficial.
The next time you’re on a boat and are suffering from balance issues, keep your eyes locked on the horizon. The horizon helps you to better determine your body position. Subconsciously understanding your body position improves balance on a boat.
Relax Your Knees
All too often, I see rookie boaters locking their knees when they move around the vessel. Rigid knees are not going to be beneficial when it comes to maximizing balance.
Comparatively, the knees should be relaxed and act as springs. As the boat moves with the waves, flex the knees to counteract the force on the body. Unquestionably, you’ll notice a big improvement.
Avoid Alcohol While Boating
Yes, a day in the sun out on the boat often calls for a cold beer or refreshing cocktail. However, like on land, alcohol impairs balance.
Unfortunately, the impacts of excessive alcohol intake will put you at risk of serious injury. The alcohol and motion of the boat exacerbate the lack of coordination and result in falls.
In order to reduce the impacts of balance issues, avoid alochol while you’re out on the water.
Make Sure To Get Enough Sleep
As a captain, I would often get little sleep, especially when delivering vessels from port to port. I can tell you that lack of sleep negatively impacts balance.
Without question, the failure to achieve the correct hours of sleep results in fine motor skill dysfunction. Fine motor skills are associated directly with balance, especially while boating.
Without a doubt, if you’re planning on heading out on the water, make sure to get enough sleep the night before.
Walk With A Wide Stance
Similar to keeping the knees flexible and spring-like is walking with a wide stance. A wide stance will better improve stability on a vessel.
Although it may look funny when you’re moving about, don’t worry. You’re putting yourself at a lower risk of falling.
Use Railing To Your Advantage
Railings and grab bars are commonly found on boats. The purpose of the railings and grab bars is to assist with balance.
The next time you’re moving from one point to another on the boat, take advantage of the railings and grab bars.
Importantly, when a railing ends, make sure to spot the next one along your path. This way, you can continue moving confidently.
Wear The Right Footwear Or No Footwear
Spending a day on the water doesn’t need to be a fashion show when it comes to footwear. Avoid wearing high heels, boots, and flip flops. Instead, a boat shoe is designed with balance in mind.
Boat shoes are made specifically with a rubber sole and a wider heel. However, a second option is to go barefoot. I highly recommend Sperry boat shoes. Sperry makes high quality marine footwear.
Walking barefoot is the most effective when it comes to maximizing balance. Direct contact with the deck improves body awareness.
Avoid Sudden Movements
Sudden movements must be avoided when you’re out boating. First, think about getting up from the couch rapidly after you’ve been seated for hours. Often, you’re left feeling woozy as a result of the rapid change in position.
Importantly, combining a rocking boat with sudden movements will amplify the feeling of being unbalanced. For this reason, you’ll want to stand up slowly, allowing your body to adjust.
Remain Seated When Possible
In most cases, a boat will have ample seating for everyone on board. Without question, you should use seats to your advantage.
Rather than putting strain on your body by constantly counteracting the motion take a seat. While seated, you won’t need to stress over falling down as a result of balance issues.
The body’s hydration level and balance go hand in hand. With that being said, it is imperative to remain hydrated while on a watercraft.
Unfortunately, dehydration leads to unsteadiness, lightheadedness, or an overall woozy feeling. I recommend packing plenty of water or sports drinks in a well iced cooler. Continue to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day to maintain proper hydration levels.
Remain Balanced On A Boat
The next time you’re heading out on the water, consider these 10 tips for improving balance on a boat. Remember, imbalance leads to falling down and potentially a serious injury. No sense in putting yourself at risk when there are ways to counteract the forces that cause balance issues aboard a vessel.