Have you ever noticed how relaxed the laws are for boating licenses? You may wonder why licensing laws for boaters are so different compared to motor vehicle licensing laws.
Simply put, boats are easier to control and the waterways host less traffic compared to the roads. A single-engine outboard boat can be controlled, almost completely, by the throttle and the wheel.
Also, boats are used for recreation, while cars are used for transportation. Drivers don’t need to worry about nearly as many twists and turns in a boat, especially in traffic, as a motor vehicle operator has to worry about.
While boats may be easier to control than motor vehicles, not everybody is qualified to drive a boat. In fact, if you become a member of Jax Boat Club you will go through extensive training to operate the boats.
If you’re considering buying a boat or joining Jax Boat Club, you’ll want to make sure you know how to properly operate a boat. From entering a slip at a marina to pulling alongside a pier, proper boat handling mattes. Let’s look at three of pro tips to help you with proper boat handling.
1. Know Your Environment
Proper boat handling may be different from one day to another. If you’re out on the water and the wind picks up, it can become treacherous in a hurry. Knowing your environment and the current conditions will help you to better handle your boat.
When you’re new to boating, it’s best to practice only in the most ideal conditions. Clear, calm days are best on the open water, especially when there are fewer obstacles for you to worry about.
As you get better and more comfortable with boat handling, you can attempt to head out on the water in more challenging conditions. It’s best to be sensible and avoid boating in a storm or high winds. Even the most skilled seaman will struggle in the toughest of conditions.
The same can also be said for docking, but there are simple rules you can follow to help in that situation. When docking, always remember – only go as fast as you are willing to hit the dock!
2. Know Your Vessel
Each boat you take out from Jax Boat Club will be a bit different. It’s vital to know the vessel you’ll be controlling. The boat will react to your commands and not all boats are going to react the same.
While the principles of boat handling may be the same from one boat to another, the size, weight, maneuverability, and power will be different from one vessel to another.
Take a little time to get to know your vessel before heading out for the day. Start with a few practice exercises, such as controlling stoppage and orbiting objects, such as buoys, to get used to the vessel.
3. Understand Your Limits
If you’re a beginner to boating, you have to learn to crawl before you walk and learn to walk before you run. Understanding your boat handling limits will help to keep you safe out on the water.
Even the most advanced boater needs to understand what they are comfortable with and what they simply cannot handle. It’s important to avoid crossing the line into uncomfortable territory and practice new maneuvers before putting yourself in a situation where you may need the maneuver.
Proper boat handling may be a bit easier and safer than driving a car, but training is still vital to your overall success. Practice makes it easier to control your boat. Take time to proper boat handling on the most ideal days and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an advanced boater.