Even though you’re ready to hit the water and get into boating life, you’ll actually have to learn a few things before the fun can begin. Not only do you need a boat and some cash to get you started, but you’ll also need to learn what you’re doing and prep for the experience. Whether you want to buy your first boat or just use a boat for a day, take a look at a few things that beginners would need to know before boating.
You have to get a license and registration
You may have to get a license and registration depending on your situation. Once you know what type of boating you’ll be doing, you can research to see what you’ll be required in order to do so. You may have to get certain paperwork and pay fees to get it, which could depend on factors like whether you’re boating on rivers or canals, if you’re boating for the long-term or just for a day, and the size of your boat.
A person that plans to go sailing may need to have a special license and registration in order to hit the inland waterways, while a license needed for someone that wants to moor their boat when it’s not being used at a marina. Think of it like when you first had to get a license to drive a car and registration on your first car and boating can have similar special requirements.
You’ll want to take a class
Another thing newbies may not realize is that it’s best to actually be trained on boating before doing it. You’ll really need to get proper training in order to boat properly and most people don’t jump into boat ownership without doing so.
Even if you don’t get formal training, you should hire someone to instruct you whether it’s a friend or another guide. It’s really easy to find someone by word of mouth or searching online, and this person can have you hit the water and teach you the basics of boating. You’ll need to learn the terminology, how to tie knots, how to use the equipment, and much more.
You’ll need to learn to use boating gadgets
You’ve probably been told which types of gadgets that boat owners don’t go without, but you have to take the time to actually learn to use them. Once you’ve bought a navigation tool, a chart plotter, and even life vests, you need to take the type to get familiar with them.
You don’t want to be out on the water and struggling to figure out a device or struggling to get a life jacket on since it’s brand new. Make sure to equip your boat with everything you need and know not only where everything is located, but how to use it when you need it.
Make a checklist
Beginners don’t realize how much there is to boating. You’ll want to live by a reminder checklist but a beginner might not know to make one. Make sure to do this and use it as a pre-departure checklist, as well as a docking checklist for the end of the day. You can also do a safety checklist in which you can make sure all safety gear is on board and the boat is in sound condition before taking off.
Check the weather and tell someone your plans
Lastly, always tell someone when you are going to go out on the water. In the event that there is an emergency or freak weather situation and something happens, someone will know to check in on you and look for you. You never know when something could go wrong, so have a person that is your contact on lad that you can advise when you plan to take off on the boat. Keep that person posted on your status during the journey too.
As a beginner, you’ll want to know these 5 things before boating for the first time.