10 boating skills you need to learn how to boating

When you have top boating skills, a day on the water is safer and more relaxing for everyone on board. If you are looking to buy a boat or gain more boating experience by renting a boat, these ten basic boating skills and seamanship best practices should be a priority.

1. Understand boat terminology

Understand boat terminology, including the parts and characteristics of a boat. For example, the term “bow” refers to the front of a boat and “aft” or “stern” refers to the rear of a boat. If you want to improve your boating and seamanship skills, a smart first step is to learn the terminology. You can find more terms in our boat glossary.

2. Know how to read the navigational aids

The best way to learn about navigational aids such as buoys and markers is to take a basic boater safety course. Some of the most important navigation rules to learn include the following boat scenarios: an intersection situation, a head-on situation, and an overtaking situation.

3. Learn how to fill out and file a float plan

A float plan should always be submitted to a trusted friend or family member before leaving the dock. The information contained in a float plan can then be made available to the US Coast Guard in an emergency.

4. Know the required safety equipment that you will need on board

Know the safety equipment you will need, given the type of ship and the number of people. One of the best boating tips to take advantage of is to have the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons perform a free security clearance on ships.

5. Learn how to safely hook up and launch a boat

Once you know how to hook up and launch your boat, there is no limit to the number of waterways you can explore. However, your skills are not limited to just those you use on the water. For example, towing a boat will affect your breaking, turning, and shifting skills on the road. When you sign up for a hands-on boating lesson, you will find out if it includes towing and launch instructions.

6. Know how to safely anchor your anchor

When it comes to boating techniques, knowing how to secure your anchor is another valuable skill. To start with, find an area that offers protection from wind, currents, and all boat traffic.

7. Learn how to navigate with a compass

Learn how to navigate with a good, old-fashioned compass in case your boat is losing power. Just remember, when Christopher Columbus found out how to drive across the ocean, a magnetic compass was one of the few navigational instruments he had!

8. Know how to use an FM radio

This will help you place an emergency or mayday call in the event of imminent danger. The ability to use channel 16 on an FM radio to broadcast to the U.S. Coast Guard is especially important when driving offshore or in areas where cellular service may be limited.

9. Learn how to safely dock a boat

Docking a boat isn’t difficult as long as you take the time to practice and adjust to the tide, current, and weather. The best way to acquire these boating skills is through a boat handling course and exercise.

10. Know how to tie off dock lines correctly

Do you know how to tie a cleat clutch? What about tying lines in a way that accommodates tidal changes? If not, you can ask a professional captain to show you or take a boating lesson to learn.

Now that you know the basic boating skills you will need, you can take the next step. Decide which type of boat would be a good fit for your family, then get boat registration information for your state.

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