5 Tips To Driving A Boat Safely

Posted on May 6th, 2017

Becoming an experienced boater doesn’t happen overnight and even many of those who boat often could still benefit from a boating safety course like the one we teach here at RentalBoat.com.  Whether you are looking to take a cruise on the water to the local sandbars or just watch the sunset, these 5 tips are essential to safe boating.

  1. Slow Down and Relax – Most accidents such as running a ground in shallow water or docking accidents happen when you are going too fast.  By slowing down you have the chance to make educated decisions rather than split and frantic ones.  Simply moving the throttle gently into gear will also keep your passengers from lunging froward or back as well.  Some of the best captains in the world dock their boats extremely slowly.  So slow down, examine the wind and tides and you will be fine.
  2. Check Weather Using Radar Apps On Your Phone – As your Hollywood Boat Rental company we look at the radar daily for our customers, but here in South Florida the weather changes by the hour significantly and sometimes much sooner that that.  By having a radar application on your phone, you can look to see if storms are rolling in or if it is clear sailing.  If there is a storm forming to your South, you may choose to take our boats to the North and vice versa.  Use technology to your advantage and have a more enjoyable time on the water by avoiding less than ideal conditions easily.
  3. Stay Sober! As the captain of the boat, you should refrain from drinking just as you would driving a car.  Allow your family and friends to have their drinks and know as a sober driver you are providing them with a fun and safe venture.  You can still have a ton of fun being a sober captain!
  4. Know Your Tides – Reading the tides is generally done best by expereinced boaters, but it should be common sense for just about everyone.  A low tide simply means the tide has gone out to sea, while a high tide means it has come in.  On a high tide the water is going to be much deeper and allow you to boat in more areas without having to worry about depth issues.  While a low tide could mean trouble if you get too shallow.  By referring to your phone for a good tide app, you can plan your day accordingly.  For example, you don’t want to anchor directly on a sandbar if the tide is going out. You will be left high and dry and have to wait many hours for the tide to turn and come in so you have enough water to float again.  Instead anchor just off the sandbar and watch as the tide goes out as you may have to walk the boat to deeper water. Whenever in question, it is best to stay within or close to the nearby channel.
  5. Learn Your Safety Gear – When renting a boat you don’t know, you should always find out where the lifejackets, throw cushion and signaling devices such as flares and horn are.  We always explain this to our customers however it is important everyone understands.  One lifejacket per person is always required along with a throwable cushion.  This throwable should be easy to grab in the heat of the moment if someone was to accidentally fall off the boat or be swept away by the tide.

The best advice we can give to new boaters is to use common sense when on the water.  By following our 5 tips above you will have a great sense of boating safety than many boaters on the water today.  Keep an eye out for inexperienced or intoxicated boaters as well and avoid them.  Your safety on the water is extremely important to us and it is always recommended if you haven’t driven a boat before to use one of our captains or take our Safe Boating Course.