I’m Driving a Boat for the First Time. Do You Have Any Tips? – The Collegian – The Collegian

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I’m new
to boating. A friend of mine has a boat, and he’s letting me drive it. This
will be my first experience driving a boat and I’m nervous. Do you have any
tips for newbies?

Boating is a
fun, relaxing way to enjoy the warm weather and nature. But there’s one big
thing I’m concerned about with you driving a boat: can you legally drive
it?

Laws vary
from state to state, but generally, you need to have a safety certification (or
complete a boating education course) to legally operate the boat in state waters.

The laws are
a bit more relaxed in California, which only requires boating education for
people who are convicted of a moving violation while boating. But many other
states will require a person to have proof that you’ve completed a boater education
course, including :

  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Delaware
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • District
    of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New
    Hampshire (when operating boats over 25 horsepower)
  • New
    Mexico
  • New
    York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Rhode
    Island
  • Puerto
    Rico
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • West
    Virginia
  • Wisconsin

I’m going to
assume that you’re following the law and have completed a course if you’re
required to.

Driving a
boat is more complicated than driving a car, so it’s not surprising that you’re
nervous about your trip. But it sounds like your friend has quite the bit of
experience traveling a boat (he or she is a boat owner after all), so you should
have guidance to help you along the way.

One of the
most common causes of boat accidents is speeding. It’s easy to speed when
you’re out on the water because there are no stoplights, no lanes and little
traffic. But speeding on waterways can be just as dangerous as speeding upon
roadways. A collision with another boat, a bridge, rocks or structure can lead
to severe injuries or even death.

Safety
should always be your top priority when out on the water. Make sure that
everyone is wearing a life vest, and that will they understand how to proceed if
there’s an emergency.

Check the
climate before you head away. The last thing you want is to deal with stormy
weather as a new boater.

If the particular
weather looks good, there are some general rules that you should follow out associated with
courtesy to your fellow boaters.

  • Get
    on and off the boat ramp quickly. Other boaters need to use the ramp, too. Load
    your own boat ahead of time and not while you’re on the ramp.
  • Go
    slow when docking so that you don’t damage the boat or even the dock.
  • Wave
    to your fellow boaters, be courteous in order to your neighbors, and always clean up
    after yourself.

Driving the particular
vessel on the water isn’t all that complicated. Follow the signs, don’t speed and
make sure that you stay sober while operating the vessel. Docking could be
tricky. Make sure that the boat is tied up before jumping off, and do not
position yourself or others between the boat and the dock.

Use common
sense, and you should be fine. Try to relax plus enjoy yourself.

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