When you start boating, you’ll realize how similar it is to owning and driving a car. Just as with an automobile, there are certain rules of safety and etiquette to follow on the water. At night, or in crowded waters with many boats, following the rules is not an option when the risks are increased. Whether you’re in the water or on land, there are many responsibilities that you must follow to become a master at boating.

Learn the Different Types of Boats

From rowboats to motorboats to yachts, rent or buy the right type of boat based on your research. You’ll want to consider what bodies of water are near you, where you can store your boat, and how much time you want to invest. Decide which type of boating you want to do, whether it’s rowing, sailing or operating a motor. Then, choose a boat that varies by size, design and type of construction material. Sailing can be really rewarding, but also requires more skill and can be very dangerous.

Learn the Basics of Navigation

The basics of boating are similar to those of driving on the road. It’s necessary to maintain a safe, reasonable distance when around other boats. Take action early to avoid colliding with objects. Know the right-of-way rules to follow for stand-on or give-way vessels. Obviously there are many differences. If you are out on the open water, especially in dangerous conditions, it can be difficult to know what rules to follow. Be sure to train yourself in case of emergency. You’ll need to be prepared if things go wrong.

Learn Safety Tips

A lot of accidents are caused by negligence and can be entirely prevented if you consciously choose to be safe. Have an emergency plan in place, which includes packing emergency supplies and loading them onto a life raft. Include life vests and other flotation devices if the raft fails to inflate. Most importantly, improve your navigation skills to travel at the right speed and turn in time to avoid hitting certain obstacles. Discuss safety tips with those who have been boating for many years. They should be able to give you good tips.

Practice Regular Repairs and Maintenance

Safe boating is possible only when you keep the boat in good condition. Motorized boat parts sustain a lot of damage over the years, especially if the parts are overused or used incorrectly. Maintain the motors and Vetus thrusters for optimal performance.

The best tip is to have the boat checked for damages once a year. If you use it almost every day, schedule maintenance for twice a year, which is necessary to avoid having to make expensive repairs later. Improving the boat’s condition is necessary to increase its speed, agility and energy efficiency.

The last great tip for a beginning boater is to rely more on common sense than technical knowledge. You can, and should, read dozens of technical manuals about boating, but one lapse in your good judgement could send the boat into a deadly accident. Paying close attention to details is how people prevent accidents and maintain boats that remain in good condition for many years.