Whether you are operating a sailboat, a motorboat, or even a canoe, it is important to be prepared. You are dealing with three unpredictable factors: the boat, the water, and people. Together they can be catastrophic.
Although some disasters cannot be avoided when it comes to boats, like engines breaking down or giant waves, it is important to learn to prevent boating mistakes as well as you can.
Get to Know Your Boat
Your boat is unique; get to know it. It’s important to take it out a few times. Take it slow. You wouldn’t jump right into saying, “I love you,” on the first date would you? You don’t know your new boat yet, its faults, its strengths, whether it will capsize if you don’t take the wave at a 45 degree angle.
Every motorboat is different. Where you sit while driving a boat with an outboard motor is different than while driving with an inbound motor. Learn the features of your boat to avoid mishaps.
Boats Don’t Always Float
The most important items to have on board your boat are life jackets. That’s not to say you can stick them onboard only to forget them faster than a kid forgets the Smarties in their Halloween bag. They need to be used; you never know what’s going to happen on a boat. Consider the following scenarios
- Your cooling system could fail. If a tube on your engine’s cooling system bursts, your boat could take on dozens of gallons of water per minute.
- Your bilge pump could break. Normally this wouldn’t be anything to be concerned about, but what if a big storm strikes while you are away from land, and you can’t get back quickly?
- Boats can be damaged when wind and waves slam them into the docks they are tied up to. Sometimes cracks and holes don’t fully manifest until the boat is out on the water and it’s too late.
Your boat can sink. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting life jackets. It’s something so simple, yet can change everything should something disastrous occur. You wouldn’t go camping without a tent, or fishing without any bait, so why would you go boating without life jackets?
Forgetting to install the boat drain plug prior to taking off can be a mistake that will quickly turn into a catastrophe with results ranging from water damage to your iPhone to injury or even loss of life.
Be careful while boating. Stay away from the most common mistakes made while boating, because usually, they are the most avoidable. You never know when disaster could strike, so make sure you are prepared for the worst. Even if you aren’t concerned about getting injured, consider how much money you had to drop to get your boat. Make sure to keep life-jackets and other emergency items on-board at all times, and inspect your boat regularly for damage and regular maintenance issues.