The dream of most boaters, if not all, is the feeling of freedom. Breaking away from the crowd and having the ability to get away from it all. Unfortunately, to little attention is given boating safety.
Somehow the thought of rules, skills, planning and consideration for others is an afterthought. Often leading to a memorable time on the water. Unfortunately, those memories are not always the ones you want.
All new boaters quickly learn that there can indeed be freedom on the water. But, as with citizenship, certain responsibilities come with it. In fact it is a far more complex and structured environment than on land. Unlike driving around your city or even the country there are many other complexities most people overlook to their detriment.
There are rules of the road, boat handling skills, safety and comfort considerations and planning. More importantly the environment is far more unpredictable and far less forgiving than travelling on land. A basic understanding of all of these factors is the only way you will end up with stories you can’t wait to tell your friends. And, you will likely come away with feeling good about your experience.
Whether you are out at sea . . .
Or navigating a congested area . . .
Boating Safety Resources
My first boating experiences were, to say the least, disasters waiting to happen. I would have had far better experiences if I’d taken a little time to learn the basics right up front.
There’s no better place to get up to speed and probably have a way better time on the water than stopping by the U.S. Coast Guard website. They offer an array of courses including the American Boat Operators’ Course .
Or, you can check with your state office of boating and waterways. Many states are instituting license requirements which emphasize safety, rules of the road and boat handling. The information is helpful and may contribute to a happy and successful boating experience. Check out the California boating guidelines here.