Over 11% of Americans own a recreational boat, which shows that we’re a nation passionate about boating.
Learning to drive a boat is a great way to develop new skills and spend time on the waves with loved ones. But, like with any new venture, it’s difficult knowing where to focus your attention. Maybe that’s why you’re here; you’ve always dreamed of learning how to drive a boat and you’re looking for advice.
Sounds like you? Luckily, we’re here to help. Here are four tips for driving a boat.
1. Learn the Basic Safety Rules
You’ve taken on board the boating benefits, so the next step is boat safety. Make sure you’ve got enough gear for your crew, such as life jackets, a medical kit, and signal flares in a worst-case scenario.
Get in the habit of creating a pre-launch checklist where you assess the vessel and ensure that it’s ready to go with zero hiccups. And don’t forget to check the weather before you leave; otherwise, you’re putting yourself and others at risk.
If you’re struggling with this, join a boat club where you can learn the basics and meet like-minded people. Interested? Click this here to get started.
2. Start the Engine
Regardless of the types of boats you drive, knowing how to start the engine is essential. Like an automobile, slip the key into the ignition and turn to get going. Note, that many newer motorboats have push-button ignition, so familiarize yourself with the model before taking it for a ride.
Also, if you’re not confident with leaving the berth, install bumpers on the side of the boat to prevent any damage. Don’t worry if you don’t like how they look, you can always remove them when you perfect leaving or squeezing into tight spaces.
3. Control Your Speed
Aside from staying atop boat maintenance, you must learn how to control your speed.
Make sure you’re comfortable using the wheel like you would with a car. Next, advance the throttle slowly until you reach a suitable speed. If you want to slow down, pull the throttle back in the neutral position and you’re good to go.
But, as a general rule, avoid fast, sudden changes as the boat may fly forward. To avoid this, the key is to be slow with your movement, so you stay safe.
4. Approach Waves Correctly
One of the top boating for beginners tips is knowing how to approach waves, especially in choppy water.
Although it’s tempting to face waves head-on, this could unsettle the boat. Instead, approach them at a 45-degree angle as it will minimize impact and reduce the risk of the vessel catching air.
Our Tips for Driving a Boat
Hopefully, you’re now ready to start driving a boat on your own.
There are many tips to consider, such as learning the basic safety rules and being comfortable with starting the engine. You should also be mindful of your speed and always approach waves at an angle. Happy driving!
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