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.
- 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.
- Before departure, gather the crew in the boat to host a safety briefing and explain any emergency safety procedures.
- 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.
- 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.
- Familiarize everyone with the boat’s layout.
- 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.
- If you’re taking newbies out on the water for the first time, avoid boating in adverse weather conditions, as it can be intimidating.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!