This post is for those of you that own a boat or want to own a boat. Boating is not just something you can say “Hey! I live on a lake I’ll get a boat!” I mean you can of course, but if you are going to then there are some things that you need to know.
There are Written Rules- There is a boating manual with actual boating rules that need to be followed just as there are laws of the road when you are in a car.
2. Port and Starboard- The Red and Green buoys that you see, as well as the red and green headlights at the front of your boat, have a meaning. Green means Right or Starboard. You can remember that because all those words have more than four letters. Red means Left or Port. All of those have four letters or less.
3. Red Right Return- Pass red buoys on the right of them when you are going upstream.
4. Port-to-Port- Whether or not you are going upstream or downstream, you always pass other boats “Port-to-Port”. This means that you stay on the right. This is like driving a car.
5. Right of Way- Sorry to all you John Candy fans, but little boats do not have the right of way. Boats that are to the right of you have the right of way. In other words if a boat to your right is starting to get in front of you, you have to let them, they have the right of way. If the person to the left of you does it, then they don’t know the rules of boating.
6. No Wake- It is clear that when you see the white and red buoys that read “No Wake”, it means no wake. You see these in marinas and at bridges usually. However, this also applies to areas that are smaller with a lot of residents around. It is common courtesy to avoid making wake when you are near other peoples' docks because wake makes waves and the waves can rock other peoples' boats and cause damage. It’s just not polite.
7. Right Beside You- It is also not polite to keep the same speed when right next to another boat. This can be dangerous for one of you. If a quick reaction needs to be made a boater can’t be trapped, which is essentially what this does.
8. Too Close- Never get too close to another boat. You have no idea what nature is going to do and that is a really big factor with boats. One wrong wave or even a gust of wind and affect the way a boat floats.
9. No Breaks- Remember that boats are NOT cars. They don’t have breaks, which makes them even more dangerous and you have to be extremely aware of the waters around you.
I am a boater. My dad has had boats around me and my three brothers since we were kids. He has taught me everything I know and he knows the rules well. If you only knew how cautious my dad is you would understand why these are so important. I currently live on a lake and it is very common for us to take our boat out on the weekends. But it isn’t fun when there are people around you who don’t know what they are doing. Boats can be dangerous too and I don’t think people realize that. Always watch what’s in front of you and to the side of you. Don’t cut anyone off and remember to be considerate of other water goers.
These are just some basics I have picked up over the years. If you want to know how to be a true boater, the boaters’ manual is the best way to do that.