Welcome to boating school! Just kidding, ha! On a more serious note, especially for new, or first-time boaters, it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into before renting your first boat.
1. How to Prioritize Safety
Safety is always number one, just like it is when you operate any type of motor vehicle. Make sure you understand the safety protocols of not only the actual boat you will be renting but the rental place, too. You will likely be signing a waiver (or a whole set of forms), so ensure you know what you are signing up for and agreeing to. If you need a boating license, make sure you have one.
2. Plan Ahead
Always plan ahead with water, food, and any other necessities you might need should you get stranded, or stuck, somewhere. Check the weather forecast and know what to look for regarding a change in weather patterns. Finally, plan ahead in the event of an emergency so that you can remain calm and know what your rental place will expect of you should an issue arise.
The best way to avoid issues is to start small. Take short trips and plan activities everyone is comfortable with.
You may also consider taking a boater safety course before your vacation.
3. Life Jackets and Swimming
Don’t skimp on life jackets. If an emergency does arise, a life jacket may be the only thing you have to save you. Every boat must have life jackets! If you are traveling with passengers who are at more risk in the water (like kids), make sure they’re wearing their life jackets at all times. While they may not be the latest fashion statement, they will save your life.
For those onboard without a life jacket on, ensure everyone knows where they are on the boat in case they need one.
4. Know the Boat!
Just as you should understand the car you’re driving; you should also know the boat you’re renting and captaining. Different boats come in different sizes, speeds, trims, and methods of operation. Take some time to learn the boat before you take it out on the water so you know how to handle it. Also, learn how to dock and clean the boat upon returning to the marina.
5. Know the Water and Your Safety Resources
Preparation is the theme here, and knowing the water is no different. Ensure you are familiar with the terrain and the lake’s safety levels: risk of alligators? Freshwater? Saltwater? Pollution risks? These are all things you should know before a day on the water.
Also, follow all safety rules while captaining a boat such as slowing down near big waves, other boats, and when people are around.
6. Involve Your Crew and Don’t Boat Alone
If you are a first-time boater, don’t boat alone. You and your crew should each have responsibilities to share the load and reduce risk. It also makes it more fun when everyone contributes and can learn something together.
7. Have Fun!
Of course, have fun! Boating is fun. When you’re prepared, you’ll have a great time on the water.
One final pro-tip: wave to other boaters as you see them on the water. In doing so, you’ll come across as a pro in boating etiquette.
Contact us to schedule your boating time and to enjoy time on the water!