So, you’ve got a brand-new boat, put in your training time and are ready to hit the water on your first boating trip — or are you? The truth is, even the most experienced boaters should be open to advice from other aquatic aficionados, but new boaters should be especially available to soak in the wise words of boating pros. We dive into key tips for your first boating trip that can help you not only have a great time, but also a safe one while on the water with the ones you love.
10 Tips for Your First Boating Trip
- Keep a boating journal/ship’s log. Though you may think packing a pen and pad is outdated, a ship’s log is incredibly valuable for keeping track of your boat maintenance, performance, and fuel economy, while also acting as an easy way to remember your favorite routes or agendas for the perfect boating trip.
- Bring more water and snacks than you think you’ll need for your trip. No one wants a bad case hanger (hunger anger) when you’re trying to have some fun on the water.
- Don’t invite too many guests on your first boating trip. Larger headcounts can lead to more distractions and stress when you’re still mastering your way on the water.
- Study and make a plan for your first boating trip before you even leave the house. Know the route and landmarks to look for in case your GPS fails you.
- Ensure that your boat has all required safety equipment onboard and correctly installed. Though these vary, many can be found online for reference, as Florida’s safety standards are.
- Utilize the internet for research. Never before has so much information been at our fingertips; take full advantage of it. Trusted online resources, such as Discover Boating, are fantastic ways to find answers to questions or sift through a few top-tier boating tips for your first boating trip.
- Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. Even on cloudier days, being out in the elements can be incredibly destructive to your skin if you don’t protect it.
- Have an emergency plan in mind. Know exactly how to call in an emergency, where your extinguishers and first aid kits are and how to activate a distress beacon. You can never be too prepared for an emergency on the water.
- Make friends before your first boating trip. The boating community is a big family, and one that is known for its helpfulness in sharing our passion with newcomers. Never be afraid to ask for advice from shop owners or others that may have more experience on the water than you do.
- Don’t forget to relax. Boating can be a truly life-enriching hobby if you follow safety standards and let yourself have a great time with loved ones.
Your first boating trip may be intimidating, but there is an entire community of boaters just waiting to offer advice that may just keep you afloat. Above all else, keep safety in mind, follow the posted speed limits and always stay aware of your surroundings. Understand that the unexpected can happen, whether it be a freak storm or a fire on deck. Prepare for the worst, but once adequately safety-conscious, enjoy your first steps of this lifestyle enjoyed by thousands around the world. Happy boating!