As we approach the holiday season it’s important to recap on some tips to make your boating the best it can be over the holiday period.
Here are just 10 to think about, I know you’ll think of some more once you start thinking about it!
Plan ahead: Check weather forecasts, waterway conditions, and have a well-defined itinerary before setting out. Don’t forget after storm activity the lay of the land under the water may have changed so the depths you were used to last season may not be the same this season. Also stock some extra food and water on board just in case the weather conditions mean you have to stay somewhere longer than you thought you would.
Safety first: Ensure all safety equipment is onboard and in good condition. Life jackets, fire extinguishers, and a first aid kit are crucial. Check the list online at your local water safety authority.
Be visible: Use navigation lights, especially during low-light hours. Make your presence known to other boaters. If you have infra red cameras use them when travelling in the dark just in case a kayaker didn’t get back in time…
Maintain situational awareness and safety procedures: Stay alert to the movements of nearby vessels, and be aware of navigational markers and traffic rules. Every guest onboard should be given a safety briefing, know how to stop the boat and where the safety gear is kept.
Slow down in crowded areas: Reduce speed in busy waterways to avoid collisions and give yourself more time to react. This is especially the case when coming into a busy bay full or boats on moorings. There may be swimmers around those boats AND you don’t want to be the one they are all talking about because YOU toppled their glass of champagne over with your wake.
Communication is key: Use VHF radios or other communication devices to stay in touch with other boaters and monitor channel 16 for emergency broadcasts. Register with Marine Rescue if you are going beyond the heads – they have a fantastic check out and check in system which just lets them know you have made it safely in the time estimated usually but in others could literally be a life saver.
Pull up a mooring with etiquette and plan ahead: Don’t assume you will be able to get a mooring at this time of year. Have the anchor ready to go just in case and start looking for one well before dark. Club moorings will be in demand and you should be prepared to have another member raft up to you, as with most this is part of the rules. So have fenders and lines on board to accommodate this. Be mindful that if you do decide to pick up a private mooring without personally asking the owner if you can, that they, or someone else they have “lent” it to for the night could pull up at any time and politely ask you to leave. It’s their mooring. That is their right. You must politely adhere to their request and in actual fact you shouldn’t have been there anyway. If you own a large boat don’t assume a private mooring can take your weight and length - they are all designed for the boat they belong to, so you could drag the mooring causing all sorts of problems for the boats on moorings around it.
Respect no-wake zones: Obey speed limits in designated areas to protect the safety of swimmers, kayakers, and other water enthusiasts. Be considerate to kayakers, and other smaller boats. Again, don’t be the boat that they report to your boat brand broker for inconsiderate behaviour (and that happens) …it’s not a good look.
Stay sober: Boating under the influence is as dangerous as driving under the influence. Don’t take alcohol and drugs while operating a boat. Also keep an eye on your guests – it can be far too easy to fall in the water under the influence.
Share your boating lifestyle: I always say there is no point in having anything unless you share it. It gives me great joy inviting friends and family on my boat, not only to give them an amazing day or week out on the water but because it gives me great joy to see that and to spend quality time with them away from screens and the stress of normal life. It only takes a text and you can literally make someone’s day.
Remember, boating safely is amazing fun and you’ll feel restored, rejuvenated and ready to face the world again afterwards.
You can enjoy listening to my podcast whilst you are relaxing as we have some amazing new interviews to enjoy and I’d appreciate your support to continue to bring you this passion project by “buying me a coffee” on this site HERE.
I wish you an amazing break on the water and look forward to staying in touch in 2024!