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5 rookie errors made by first-time boat owners

At Terrace Boating, we have a great love for exploring our local waterways and know there’s no better method to do this than on a boat.  With love for boats, and the water, comes great respect for their power. Boating is a safe and fun activity, when you’re experienced and know what you’re doing. Safety is always paramount, and you can never be too cautious. If you’re just starting out on your boat ownership adventure, here’s a few rookie errors you’ll want to avoid.

  1. Lack of preparedness

Remember the rules of adventure- always let someone at home know where you’re going and when you’ll be back (so should you not return on time, they’ll know you need help), ensure all passengers are aware of the safety rules and what to do in an emergency, check your boat and equipment before setting sail, and make sure you have enough life jackets on board (and that they are worn at all times- especially by the little people). Also, ensure your boat drain plug is in. Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, everybody has moments of forgetfulness – double and triple check this- because the consequence could be a boat full of water.

  1. Running the boat aground

Always be aware of shallow waters and other hazards in the area you intend to go boating. Keep up-to-date with the weather and conditions too. Hitting hidden rocks at high speed can be disastrous for your hull, so be extra cautious in waters you aren’t super familiar with.

  1. Fishing line around the propeller

Don’t be fooled in to thinking the propeller will be fine with some fishing line around it just because it’s still moving. Fishing line is actually strong enough to cut into the seal surrounding the propeller, which will then let water in and oil out, and this is a pretty serious problem. As soon as you notice a twist or tangle, turn the motor off and fix it immediately.

  1. Boating and Alcohol

Not only is driving a boat while under the influence irresponsible, it’s also illegal. Whilst being out having fun in a natural setting might sound like the perfect occasion for a few of your favourite beverages, it may not be sensible. Boating is an exercise requiring the full attention of all your faculties. This isn’t just for the skipper either, research has shown that other boat occupants are just as likely to cause an alcohol-related incident, such as capsizing the boat or falling overboard. For more information on the legal constraints surrounding boating and alcohol, see the RMS website.

  1. Ramming the dock

Approaching the dock after your water adventure is a skill learned over time. Ideally, you’ll go out many times with an experienced boat driver before attempting docking alone, however, mistakes happen, even to the best of us. Always approach at a speed you’re comfortable with, and that would be acceptable should you happen to hit the dock. Wind and other weather conditions can make docking more difficult, so keep to a sensible speed. Use short bursts of power to allow better maneuverability. If you have to do multiple approaches to get it right, that’s perfectly fine.

While there’s a few mistakes you need to watch out for as a first time boat owner- everyone has to start somewhere. Boating is a fantastic pastime easily enjoyed with family and friends. Spend as much time out boating with those who are experienced until you feel comfortable taking control. If you’re ready to make your first boat purchase, come see us at Terrace Boating really soon, and start making magical memories on the water this spring.