As more and more people are getting into boating, there is becoming a new wave of respect and admiration for boating not only as a hobby but also as a culture. While boating is growing in popularity, the need for a basic understanding of boat handling is equally as important.
Regardless if you boating during the heat of summer or in the cold of winter, boat handling is an extremely important skill set to have. We’ve gone ahead and broken down some important tips on how to improve your boat handling skills for new boaters and even experienced boaters!
Master the Navigation Skills
Before you head out into open waters, map out exactly how you’re going to get to your destination. Make sure you have a clear goal in mind so when you’re traveling you know exactly the type of obstacles that stand before you. Also, check your nautical charts, or a marine navigation app, for water depths, submerged obstacles, or other potential difficulties along the way, too. This way you’ll always be prepared and will lower the number of surprises you might face on open water.
Some good points to check when testing your navigation are as follows:
Decide on your method: electronic navigation or traditional (analog) navigation.
If using electronic navigation, start by operating your GPS or Chartplotter.
Make note of your real-time position, speed, and direction of travel.
To get from point “A” to point “B,” create a waypoint.
String waypoints together to create a route; utilize auto-pilot when applicable.
For traditional navigation, use: a compass, charters, parallel rulers, and dividers.
Stay within sight of land and use major landmarks as points of reference.
Never Forget Your Onboarding Equipment
Life jackets, registrations, legal papers, first aid kits, are all important when you’re getting ready to set off on your boating journey. Make sure you have all of these items on your boat before you set off, and if you have kids with you make sure that their life jackets still fit if it’s been a while since you’ve been on the water. Kids grow fast, and having life jackets that don’t fit won’t be much help when the time comes.
Tying oneself up in knots is a good thing in this case. Can you tell a cleat hitch from a clove hitch? Take some time to get familiar with all the basic boating knots. Some knots that are important to know for boating are as follows;
Half-Hitch (also call the Overhand Knot)
If you need help practicing your knots, have some rope by your chair when you’re watching TV and keep practicing that way. You’ll be a pro in no time!
Knowledge is Power
Don’t underestimate the knowledge that will come from asking for advice from the boating community. Whether that be from forum posts, social media, or watching YouTube videos. Also, look into taking some boating courses to help broaden your education on boating. The more you know about boating the less of a chance you have of making a rooking mistake that could cost a fortune. Always search for knowledge and continue to watch people’s successes and also failures so you will be better prepared.