Top 10 Tips for Introducing Your Friends and Family to Boating

Tuesday, September 12, 2023
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While you may be a seasoned boater/boat owner, not everyone has had the same experience and knows what to expect on a boating adventure. Inviting friends or family on your boat for the first time can be fun and exciting, but it’s important to help prepare your guests for a great experience.

While certainly not all-inclusive, here are a few important tips for boat owners to ensure the maiden voyage is memorable for friends and family members.

  1. Advise guests in advance what to wear and anything they should bring, i.e. swimsuits, cover-ups, towels, suntan lotion, hats, non-scuff shoes, etc.
  2. Before departure, gather the crew in the boat to host a safety briefing and explain any emergency safety procedures.
  3. Make sure to provide life jackets that properly fit for everyone aboard and explain life jacket use. Point out/show where safety equipment is located on the boat.
  4. Designate where people are to sit and advise no one should sit on the gunwale or stand up and walk around when the boat is underway.
  5. Familiarize everyone with the boat’s layout.
  6. If your party is participating in water sports, always have a designated spotter/observer and ensure those who need to know (driver, observer, skier, etc.) are fully in sync and up to speed on communication strategies and hand signals.
  7. If you’re taking newbies out on the water for the first time, avoid boating in adverse weather conditions, as it can be intimidating.
  8. As you head out, always begin with a slow, smooth ride to help ease them into the experience. Gradually increase speed as they become comfortable.
  9. One of your most important rules is to always designate a responsible, sober skipper. While everyone wants to have fun, the boat driver should never drink and drive to keep the crew safe. Driving impaired is a recipe for disaster. Don’t do it!
  10. Always bring plenty of bottled water for yourself and your guests, as hydration is important. If your fur babies are joining in the fun, be sure to bring water and a bowl aboard too!

By prioritizing safety, comfort, and education, you'll give your family and friends a fantastic introduction to the joys of boating and will launch memories that will last a lifetime! Be safe and have fun!

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