Being behind the wheel of a boat is very different than being behind the wheel of a car. For starters, there are new factors when it comes to steering a boat that you don’t see on the road—like currents and waves. As a result, when you steer a boat, it may not always go exactly as planned. This is why it’s important to improve your boat handling skills. At Motor-Boatin’, we have some easy steps to improve your skills on the water.
For starters, we always recommend that you enroll in a boating safety and training course. Here is a free one. After that, here are some other steps to keep in mind:
- Remember that boats don’t have brakes: The only way to slow down your boat is to let up on throttle. That means pulling it back towards the neutral position. You also must be conscious of how you adjust your speed and how long it takes your boat to slow down or stop. Individuals believing that boats have brakes is a more common misunderstanding than you might think.
- Practice your navigation skills: Rather than relying on a water GPS, it’s a better practice to read maps and look for all navigation markers on a lake. The more comfortable you are at navigating, the more you are able to explore areas without worrying about getting lost.
- Realize that every boat drives differently: How a sports car drives is completely different than how a full-sized pickup drives. Boats are the same. How a pontoon drives varies a lot from a fishing boat. If you’re driving a new boat for the first time, take a few moments to get comfortable with it before you push the throttle forward.
- Know your knot: Do you know the difference between a cleat hitch and a clove hitch? When docking a boat and tying it up, it’s important to understand which knot works best. The same is true for the anchor, ski line, etc.
- Be 360-degree aware: There are no stop lights, yield signs, or yellow lines on the water. Other watercraft can approach you from any angle at any speed and shallow areas can pop up out of seemingly nowhere. Proper handling means being aware of your entire surroundings—in and out of the boat. Practice situational awareness.
For more tips and ideas on having a fun yet safe time on the lake, contact us at Motor Boatin’ today. We’re never going to steer you wrong!