Are you about to drive a boat for the first time?
Driving a boat can be a lot of fun. However, it’s important to understand that boating also comes with some risks. According to the American Boating Association, there were over 4,000 boating accidents in 2019, with 613 deaths and 2,559 injuries.
To prevent accidents and injuries, you need to make sure you know what you’re doing before you hop behind the wheel.
Check out this guide to discover the top things to remember when driving a boat for the first time.
1. Check the Weather
Before you drive a boat for the first time, it’s very important that you check the weather beforehand.
Since it’s your first time driving a boat, we suggest waiting for sunny weather for your first trip. Not only can rain make it harder for you to see and get your bearings, but it’s also just not as fun to go boating in bad weather.
Remember to double-check the weather before you head out, as it can change very quickly, especially out on the water.
2. Bring the Right Gear
When driving a boat for the first time, you also need to bring the right gear with you.
First things first, you absolutely need to bring a lifejacket and wear it on the boat. Most boating-related deaths occur because the victim was not wearing a lifejacket. Even if you’re a great swimmer, a lifejacket is still a necessity.
In addition to wearing a lifejacket, you should also dress in warm layers. While it might be warm on land, it can get rather cold when the breeze kicks in. You should also pack some food, water, and a tool kit. While you can bring alcohol for your guests, make sure you stay away from it as the driver, as boating under the influence is dangerous and illegal.
3. Get Trained
While this should go without saying, many people think that if they have a driver’s license, they can just hop behind a boat wheel and they’ll be good to go.
However, operating a boat is not like driving a car. Before you take off, you’ll need to understand the basics of docking, driving, and handling currents, waves, and bad weather. This is why it’s important to take a boat training course beforehand and earn your boating license.
Additionally, it’s illegal to drive a boat without a license, and if you get caught driving without a license, you could end up having to pay a huge fine.
4. Don’t Overload the Boat
Last but not least, make sure you don’t overload the boat.
Before you set off, make sure you take the time to learn how much weight the boat you’re driving can handle. Additionally, make sure the weight on the boat is distributed evenly so that you can have a smooth, safe ride.
Driving a Boat: Are You Ready to Go Boating?
Now that you have these tips for driving a boat, you’re ready to hit the open waters. Before you know it, you’ll be a boating pro.