We have good news for anyone who is thinking of buying a boat, whether it’s for the first or second time. However, a novice boater might feel anxious about putting the lines in the water for the first time. Do not worry, newbie boater! We are here to help.

These tips will ensure that your first time out on a boat is safe, enjoyable, and rewarding:

1. Make sure it is safe.

That was obvious, right? Although boating is a low-risk activity with minimal risk, it can be dangerous. However, if someone is hurt, all fun and games will stop abruptly. Before you leave the dock, pay attention to what you are doing.

2. Choose the Activities You Would Like to Experience.

Now that you have all the safety details out of the way get ready to have serious fun. Prepare yourself! Check out these 10 Fun Things to do on a Boat and consider which activities will be most loved by the entire family. Perhaps you could call a family meeting to discuss the possibilities and meet around the kitchen table.

Once you have a plan in place, you can make a list of all boating accessories that you might need to be ready for the smile-inducing wave-hops and laughter-inducing tube-towing and/or fish-catching that is about to occur.

3. Check the Weather.

Be careful about the weather. We all would love to go boating every day, but Mother Nature can have a huge impact on this activity. It’s best to dry your powder and wait until a better opportunity presents itself.

To learn more about what makes for safe boating conditions, see Weather Safety Tips For Boaters.

4. Remember to “Walk Before Your Run”.

You can easily get into the boating lifestyle by taking short trips that aren’t too far. It doesn’t matter if you start with a long-distance trip or an overnight camping experience. People will do well if they start with shorter, more manageable trips that build their confidence.

It will be easy to determine what gear and provisions are most important, how to handle different situations, and how much time crew members can enjoy different activities before they need to change. This is especially important for parents with children.

5. Life jackets for everyone!

Life jackets should be comfortable and not the most expensive. This is especially important for parents with children. Poorly designed or ill-fitting life jackets can become less comfortable over time. There are so many options these days, and it’s easy to find a life jacket that is comfortable for everyone of any age and size. How do you choose the best one? You don’t have to worry about it. Check out Vests, Life Jackets, and PFDs.

6. Make sure you plan ahead: Create a pre-departure checklist.

You should allow extra time for both the preparation and departure of your trip. You don’t want your trip to be too hectic. You’ll need to give yourself extra time to secure the boat, clean it up, and wash it down when you return to the dock. This will help you avoid feeling pressured to rush when you plan your trip.

Take Me Fishing has another great resource, “Use This Checklist Before & after Every Outing.”

7. Slow down for waves.

Although this may seem a little simplistic, the reality is that most boaters will continue to open the throttle for bigger waves until they reach the worst. Wave impacts can often be worse for passengers than for the captain. The captain is more likely to anticipate the wave and prepare for it. If you feel a thump while running the boat, others aboard might feel a slam and bang.

It’s easy to fix this problem: let the boat hit big waves by pulling back on the throttle. For more information on how to drive a boat, see our How To Drive a Boat Guide.

8. How to adjust the trim.

Once you have your boat running, adjust the trim to find the “sweet spot.” Many novice boaters forget about trimming because their boat is running perfectly. It may be running perfectly. You’ll almost always find that the trim could make it run even better. The hull’s interaction with the waves can be altered, which can impact speed and maneuverability. Trimming can also make the ride more or less comfortable.

Each boat reacts differently to trimming. You can only find the sweet spot by trying small adjustments to your trim and watching how it reacts. How to Trimm a Boat for more information.

9. Get your whole crew involved.

Give children and crew members jobs. Boating is a great way to build teamwork, especially as a family. This is possible only when everyone on board has the chance to help. If you assign a task to the crew, even the youngest ones, they can help you look for flotsam while you cruise. There are many ways to get everyone involved. See A Crew Of Kids: Family Team Work to see more ideas about what responsibilities you can give out.

10. Have fun, and don’t forget to wave!

Have fun and wave to fellow boat lovers. You’ve just become part of a new family, the family of boaters. One thing that unites us all is our love for boating and boats. We wave to one another when we see another boat on the water, any boat. It’s part boating etiquette and part of our enjoyment of being out on the water. Enjoy it!

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