If you thought getting to the point where you could buy a boat was difficult, you should know the challenges have only just begun. Owning a boat is a wonderful thing that can bring a lot of joy to you and your loved ones, but it’s also a huge responsibility. Here are a few common mistakes new boat owners should watch out for if you want to ensure you’re safe and avoid excess costs.
Underestimating the Weather
No matter how good of a captain you may be, no one can outsmart Mother Nature. Rookie sailors and boat owners can sometimes underestimate just how much of an effect the weather can have on their boats. Always keep yourself well aware of changing weather patterns and the weekly forecast if you want to stay safe. Bad weather can sneak up on you faster than you think and do serious damage if you aren’t careful.
Collisions With Docks or Boats
Until you get the hang of how your ship maneuvers in the water, you may accidentally bump it into different things. When you’re just starting out, take everything slowly and don’t commit to an acceleration unless you know how to stop yourself. You should also make sure you have the proper fenders for protection against hitting docks and other boats.
Overloading With Weight
A much too common mistake new boat owners make is overloading their boat past its specified weight limit. Boats may be sturdy, but there’s only so much they can take before they suffer damage. This usually happens because a newer captain will invite too many people on the boat at one time. Make sure you know your boat’s carrying capacity and avoid going over it when you bring things on board.
Running Aground Accidentally
Every amateur sailor has done this once or twice. It’s a good idea to make yourself very familiar with the underwater hazards around where you want to cruise. Sandbars and rock outcroppings can be difficult to see, especially at certain times of the day. If you’re ever unsure of the possibility of running aground, keep your speed low so you can stop quickly if you need to.
Getting Lost in the Dark
You may think you know the area around where you normally cruise very well, but when the sun goes down, everything looks different. Lights on the shore can completely transform how you perceive the entire shoreline. Unless you’re absolutely confident that you can navigate in the dark, plan to head back to dock long before the sun sets.