Hailing All New Boaters
22nd April 2022
Congratulations on the purchase of your first boat! You’re not just embarking on a new hobby, but also an entirely new lifestyle filled with adventure, fun, friends, and sunshine. But new boaters, before you embark on your next adventure, here are a few tips and pointers for using your boat.
First, let’s talk about safety. There are a couple of differences between your car and your boat. Namely, this thing doesn’t have brakes, so it’s important to be vigilant of your surroundings and keep an eye out for any oncoming obstacles.
Those orange floatation-thingies that came with your boat are wonderful items to have on board. You’ll soon discover that the local marine law enforcement folks have an obsessive fixation with counting them, so always have more of them than the number of people on board. Breakdown and purchase some of the more comfortable PFDs available, such as those comfortable inflatable vests.
Just because your boat can do 26.2 knots – according to the manufacturer – it doesn’t mean you have to go that speed all the time; even Jeff Gordon goes for a leisurely Sunday drive occasionally. That long lever off to your right isn’t an on/off switch: It’s adjustable, allowing you to go slower for events such as entering a marina or passing a slower boat. Slowing down is also a good thing when you’re passing anglers. And if you’re going to slow down, don’t just drop down to 2000 rpm — unless you’re trying to give them a wake on which they can surf.
Socializing on your boat is one of the most fun activities you can do, but common sense is required to avoid problems. First off, the captain must remain sharp, so you want to keep your blood-alcohol level at about the same level as an on-call surgeon.
Once you’ve bought a boat, something else you’ll discover is that you suddenly have more friends than you ever imagined. Even that neighbor across the street who barely acknowledges you when you get your morning newspaper will suddenly sidle up to you.
Make it easy to go boating. Spend the extra money to keep your boat at a marina in the water or in a yard that can launch your boat at a moment’s notice. You’ll be amazed at how easily you can put off almost any important task to scratch that boating itch when the sun is shining.
Here is some extra reading on proper boating etiquette.
To summarize: Be safe, have fun, wear sunscreen, and don’t worry about that chore list. It’s not going anywhere.
(Deane Hislop – In Partnership with Freedom Marine)