Boating is an adventure and is being enjoyed by many on a daily basis, but with that comes a great responsibility. It is not mandatory to do a boating course at this time, but there are some excellent reasons to get your self-informed about the rules of the road.
You will learn about safety equipment and what you are required to have on your boat before you undertake any boating excursion. This is very important because what you don’t have with you could make the difference between being able to handle a situation or not.
You will learn that driving a boat is vastly different from driving a car. You are dealing with air and water currents. If you have never docked a boat you may think that it is easy until the current is pulling you in the opposite direction that you want to go.
Knowing how to work with lines and tying knots is part of boating. You have to be able to secure a boat properly. If your boat gets away, it is amazing how quickly the current will take it out of your reach, and you will probably require the assistance of another boater to help you get to it.
You will learn what the channel markers mean. We learned the hard way the first time we went out on a boat and ran aground outside the markers. We also had no clue what the red and green markers meant on the poles. This you also learn on the course.
There are speed limits on certain waterways, but unlike the roads, they may or may not be posted. Ignorance may not be enough to get you out of a ticket.
Using charts for coastal navigation can be a lifesaver. It’s your roadmap that helps you stay away from the shallows and shows where all the markers and bridges are, and by using measurements, you can calculate the distance and time it will take to get somewhere.
Just like on the roads, there is the right of way. On a boating course, you will learn who has the right of way and why.
Every boat should have a horn. You may hear one long toot or 2 short toots and so on, and you’ll learn what they mean.
There are boating regulations and laws that must be followed by all boaters, for example, (and I have seen this rule broken so many times) you are not allowed to sit on the bow of the boat with your feet hanging overboard.
Anchoring a boat is not just a matter of plopping it down to the sand. There is a mathematical technique applied to anchoring that has to do with the size and length of your boat. Knowing how to do this correctly will give you that extra insurance of knowing your boat is going nowhere until you want to move it.