Common Boating Mistakes
While we’re anxious to get in the boat and on the water remember even simple mistakes can be serious when on the water.
Almost all boating errors are caused by inattention. Most are just embarrassing but some can be serious. A pre-launch checklist that reminds you to “secure anchor before tossing it overboard” can literally “save the day”.
The captain/owner of a vessel is responsible for anything that is done or happens to their boat. Most are trivial, but some can be serious. The captain is responsible for the boat and its cargo and passengers. Here are some of the most common boating errors:
Not enough line when anchoring. The most frustrating things in boating is a boat that won’t go and a boat that won’t stay put. The amount of line needed to anchor should be 5 to 7 times the depth of the water in calm weather, plus the distance from the surface to where the anchor is attached. High winds and/or rough seas require a line 10 times the depth.
Who wants to measure? Just have more than enough line aboard to avoid drifting ashore or out to sea.
Not having up-to-date charts. Wind, water and shorelines change over time. Without up-to-date charts you run the risk of running aground, hitting submerged objects or just getting lost.
Overloading the boat. It’s easy to overload small boats, Even empty, small pleasure boats have little “freeboard” – the distance between the top edge of the boat to the waterline. Overloaded boats are more likely to capsize, even in calm waters. Small, open boats can be swamped, and capsized when fully loaded with occupants, coolers and gear.
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