20 Practical Tips for New Buying Boaters
1. Always overdress, you can take clothing off, and weather conditions on the sea water are usually different than on inland.
2. Drive slowly, particularly when you are docking, and you'll look like a professional. Slow is pro! If you are using a boat launch ramp, be sure to drive the boat in and out of the water as quickly as possible. You don't want to be the one who occupy the launch ramp.
3. Be sure to bring enough and food. Everyone is happier (especially kids) when they are well fed and additional water aboard is a very good idea.
4. Don't overload your precious boat.
5. Before heading out of the sea, put the things like cell phones, keys, wallets, etc in a waterproof bag or zip lock bag.
6. Make sure there is a person on your boat knows how to drive or how to call for help in case of any emergency.
7. Checking your anchor rode and chain are not tangled before going offshore. This ensures fast deployment in the case of an emergency.
8. When it's time for repairs of your boat, surely use marine grade parts – they’ll last longer and in some places, like the engine, they're necessary to prevent a dangerous condition.
9. Keep a boating sea journal. It'll be useful and helpful later.
10. Boating is fun but can be disorienting. Have a plan before leave the port. Know the geographic landmarks of your destination, keep eyes on your headings and be knowledgeable of your GPS navigator.
11. Make a "Float Plan" with your friends on-shore, and introduce the details of your boat and what to expect on the trip with your friends. It will be a more enjoyable trip.
12. Check the weather status early, and don't be afraid to cancel/change your boating plans. Staying ashore sometimes is far better than going offshore, when you met the worse weather.
13. When backing up a trailer, put your hand at the bottom of the wheel 6 o'clock position. The direction that you turn the wheel is the direction that the trailer is going to go.
14. Before you go, make sure that your boat has all the Federal, State & Local required safety equipment aboard and that they are all up to date and in good conditions.
15. Take fully charged handheld VHF on your trip. You never know when you'll need it. Also, Get yourself a life jacket that is comfortable and you like. You’ll wear it frequently.
16. When driving out for a sunny day on the sea, be sure to bring the sunscreen and a "buff". Nothing can ruin a weekend of the beautiful weather like getting bad sunburn.
17. When starting to sail in a small sailboat, first practice capsizing and righting, then it won't be a concern again.
18. When going out for a day sail, try to sail into the wind when going out while you're still fresh, you'll be glad you did when you sail back with the wind behind you and you're so tired.
19. Know the time and heights of high/low tides before you get out. It is often the key point to know when "to go or not to go" in and out of an ocean inlet or a tributary. It may also assist you to avoid groundings during low tide in unmarked areas.
20. One Hand for you, One hand for the boat; You'll stay reasonably upright in the boat so you can better enjoy your day out on the water.
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