Want to go boating here’s what you need to know

words Al Woods

go boating

Boating is an amazing pastime that allows you to kick back and relax while you get some fresh air and sunshine. However, it does more than just take you to the summit of bliss, as it is an educating experience as well.

As you spend time outdoors, away from the stress of daily life, you will need to know the rules and guidelines of boating, which are meant to keep you and all other participants safe. To understand more, here is what you need to know.


First, in order to understand boating, it is important to understand the terminology. Here are some of the most popular ones.

  • Knots

In boating, the term ‘knots’ is used in reference to the speed. The speed of one knot translates to 6,076 feet, which is also known as 1 nautical mile per hour. 

  • Fathom

One fathom is equivalent to 6 feet.

  • Log

When records regarding the boat’s operations are kept and stored, you can say they are logged.

  • Bow

A boat typically has two sections: the front and the rear. The front is regarded as the bow.

  • Aft or Stern

Since the front is the bow, the rear is known either as the aft or as the stern.

  • Port Side & Starboard 

There are two sides to the boat, the port side (left side) and the starboard (right side).

  • Helm

The boat’s steering system is known as the Helm. This is the part that should concern the captain.

  • Hull

The body of the boat is called the hull.

  • Chart

Often, you will hear a navigator ask for the chart. This is the boating lingo for a map.

  • Latitude & Longitude

 are two of the most important terms which You need to be familiar with the meanings of ‘longitude and latitude’ when it comes to boating. They refer to navigation. Coordinates that are either to the south or north of what we know as the equator, are known as latitude. However, the longitude is defined as the coordinates that are running west or east of the global meridian.

  • Rudder & Screw

Terms that are related to propulsion include the screw, which is a boating term for the propeller, and the rudder, which pertains to steering.

  • Personal Flotation Device

This device, or PFD, is safety-related, and it is a device that helps keep people afloat while in the water. 

  • Founder

Another safety-related term is the founder, which means to sink. It is important not to panic should you hear this word being used.

  • Lifeline

A lifeline is found along the sides of a deck. Typically, people hold onto a lifeline in order to avoid going overboard, which is a boating term for fall out. Should you be faced with danger and uncertainty, you can send out a signal of distress, or SOS, which is a universally recognized signal. Furthermore, when boats are in distress, they can send out a VDS, which is a visual distress signal, also used to call for help.

Boating Tips

If you are going boating, it is important to keep a few tips in mind. Here they are.

1/ Train

Before you go out boating, it is best to simulate the conditions. This is at least so you could understand what you are up against. Additionally, it would be good for your experience if you were accompanied by an experienced boater, like a friend, instructor, or guide. If you are searching for a comrade to either train or accompany you, the internet will guide you.

2/ License & Registration 

Getting your license and registration is crucial for your boating escapade. However, obtaining your license and registration will depend on figuring out the body of water in which the boat is used, which can include waterways, rivers, and canals. Also, you will need to figure out if the license is for cruising or for living on a boat. The license can be valid for as long as 1 year, and as little as 1 day. You should expect to go to visit the appropriate navigation authority and pay a fee for the license, which will depend on your area of residence and the waters you wish to travel in.

3/ Boating Gadgets & Tools

Since a boat is essentially a mechanical device, all boats will depend on at least a few gadgets. You will need to get to know your boating gadgets and how to use them. They include safety, navigation, and fishing gadgets and should be encompassed with your training. As for the tools, they will include the winch. Since you will most likely be hauling your boat onto a trailer, you will need an electric boat winch, which will certainly make it much easier for you when you trailer and launch the boat. By utilizing it, you will definitely be saving a ton of time and it’s extremely convenient as well. 

4/ Check the Sky

Always check the sky before setting sail. The weather can be highly unpredictable, and you may find yourself stuck in a storm. To avoid any possible dangers, check the weather forecast and make sure that the conditions are agreeable.

Depending on the weather, look to dress appropriately. So, if it is raining, include a raincoat. Dressing poorly can have adverse consequences. Naturally, a sunny day will call for a swimsuit and a pair of flip flops.

boating tips

5/ Checklist

Before setting sail, it is wise to make a checklist containing all your needs. This will include food and water, as well as safety tools. That way you can be prepared for anything. However, you must make sure not to overlook precautions or safety rules, such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a toolbox. Also, make sure to never forget your lifejacket, as the conditions could get wild out there, and you will need to be prepared. 

Consider outfitting your boat with new LED strip lights, as well, for aesthetics and improved visibility. LED lights are excellent choices because they’re extremely bright, lightweight, versatile, and energy-saving. Plus, you can get LED strips in various colors to suit your taste.

By no means is boating dangerous. In fact, a boating trip can be extremely fun and relaxing, as well as educating. However, it is important to stick to the safety guidelines and make sure you are prepared for the worst, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worst. For that reason, you should make sure that the boat has undergone maintenance and that the VHF radios work well. Include food and water, and some clothes that are appropriate for the weather, and you are set to go. And remember to throw in a shark repellent, since it is better to be safe than sorry.


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