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Boating Safety

10 Reasons To Take A Basic Boating Course

Boating is a great adventure on any type of boat and is being enjoyed by many on a daily basis, but with that comes a great responsibility. Although it is not mandatory to take a boating course in some states, there are some very good reasons to get your self informed about the rules of the road.

PFD 1)  You will learn about safety equipment and what you are required to have on your boat before you undertake any boating excursion. This is very important because what you don’t have with you could make the difference between being able to handle a situation or not. Also, that outing for the day could cost you if the authorities stop you for a spot check of your boat and fines you for not having all the safety equipment required for your specific boat.

2)  You will learn that driving a boat is vastly different from driving a car. You are dealing with air and water currents. If you have never docked a boat you may think that it is easy, until that is, the current is pulling you in the opposite direction that you want to go. Understanding air and water currents and tides will help you learn how to dock your boat.

3)  Knowing how to work with lines and tying knots is part of boating. You have to be able to secure a boat properly. If your boat gets away, it is amazing how quickly the current or tide will take it out of your reach and you will probably require the assistance of another boater to help you get to it. So learn your knots.

 4)  You will learn what the channel markers mean. Knowing what the markers and lights mean can keep you from going aground in a shallow channel or running in to another boat because you were in the wrong lane.

5)  There are speed limits on certain water ways but unlike the roads, they may or may not be posted. Ignorance may not be enough to get you out of a ticket.

6)  Using charts for coastal navigation can be a life saver. It’s your road map that helps you stay away from the shallows and shows where all the markers and bridges are, and by using measurements you can calculate the distance and time it will take to get somewhere. It can be valuable tool for navigation.

7)  Just like on the roads, you sometimes have to give way to the other guy. In a boating course you will learn who does that and why.

8)  Every boat should have a horn. You may hear one long toot or 2 short toot and so on, and you’ll learn what they mean.

9)  There are boating regulations and laws that must be followed by all boaters, for example, in many jurisdictions you are not allowed to sit on the bow of the boat with your feet hanging over board. There are many more regulations to learn and not knowing them can cost you.

10)  Anchoring a boat is not just a matter of plopping a big chunk of iron down to the sand. There is a mathematical technique applied to anchoring that has to do with the size and length of your boat. Knowing how to do this correctly will give you that extra insurance of knowing your boat is going nowhere until you want to move it.

There are different ways to enjoy pleasure boating such as the fast pace of ski boating or the slow pace of a trawler, kayaking or canoeing. In whatever way you want to do it, it is a good idea to know the rules of the road. Then you can avoid potential situations and get on with the fun of being out there with all that sky, sun, water, family and friends.

From the Boat Safety Blog by Ospika Outfitters