So: you haven’t owned a boat before, but after discovering that the boating lifestyle is totally awesome (we agree!) you’ve began exploring our Boat Finder Tool—and luckily, you’ve found the ideal boat for you and your family. You’re probably thinking that your next big challenge will be learning how to drive that boat—and you’re right—but don’t let the prospect feel daunting.
Each year, an average of 150 people complete the Great Loop, which is a network of waterways that recreational boaters take to effectively circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States. “Loopers,” as they are called, travel parts of the Atlantic Coast, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals and the river system of the American Midwest. The trip ranges 5,000-7,000 miles depending on the route and detours taken and usually takes about a year to complete.
Successfully launching a boat for the first time is an exciting experience for any new boat owner. After you learn how to properly launch a boat, you’ll be able to trailer that boat and explore any body of water serviced by a ramp.
Since there are no yellow or white lines or stop signs on bodies of water, it can be difficult to understand who has the right of way in boating. Right of way rules (often referenced as the “rules of the road” or navigation rules) are specifically defined maneuvering regulations designed primarily to avoid a collision between vessels. There are many rules and they differ by type of vessel, the operations that vessel is involved in at the time, and where the vessel is located (on inland or offshore waters).
According to the U.S. Travel Association, some of the main reasons people take vacations include relaxing and reducing stress, seeing more of the world, and strengthening bonds with family and friends. What better way to do all of those things, and more, than aboard a boat in a location whose primary characteristic is solitude? Science has even proved that being on, in or near water can improve creativity, boost emotional health, and promote relaxation, as well as calm your mind and appeal to your senses.
Every boat owner needs to know how to perform some important tasks, like docking a boat, tying up a boat, and anchoring a boat. All of these endeavors and many other common boating procedures share one thing in common: they involve handling lines. And just about any time line-handling is involved, knot tying may be, too. Here are the five most commonly used boating knots.
Step aboard any boat of any size, and you’ll find all sorts of electronic navigation and communication gear. Despite our ever-connected world, even in the middle of the ocean, mariners of every stripe still use nautical flags to communicate. The practice dates back to ancient times, being the most effective way to send messages in a snap. It remains equally effective today. In fact, naval personnel use nautical flags to communicate with allied forces as well as their own ships. So, too, do everyday boaters, using them to instantly notify surrounding and approaching craft of situations like a diver in the water or an emergency.
There are countless things to love about owning a boat, but the best might be your ability to get away from it all. Boats aren’t mere machine, they’re more like portals into another world—the watery world—where stress disappears and smiles can’t be stifled. And since we humans are social creatures, it’s only natural that we want to share this wonderful experience with our family and friends. That means you, Mr. or Ms. Boat Owner, are likely to do some serious entertaining aboard. In fact, for many people it’s one of the main reasons they get a boat in the first place. Which begs the question: while it can be fun to entertain on any boat, which are the very best boats for entertaining?
Every highly engaging sport or hobby has the built-in capacity for escalation—that’s what makes it so engaging. From the moment you buy a boat, you’re thinking of your next boat, a bigger one, right? As soon as you learn to water ski, you’re looking for a slalom course. After that, you’re looking at trick skiing or maybe ski jumping, or more likely, you’re looking to go barefoot water skiing. Barefoot skiing is probably the most extreme version of the sport.
GPS, or Global Positioning Systems, are satellite-based navigation systems developed by the U.S. Department of Defense for military purposes—but they’re familiar to most of us as the navigational system used by our phones and cars. Whether you’re talking about the GPS on your phone, in your car, or a marine GPS for boats, all these units receive radio signals from multiple orbiting satellites to determine your position.