Ted Sensenbrenner

On-Water Training Coordinator

Boating with Friends: Tips from a “Pro - PART TWO”

So You’ve Been Invited on an Outing - Tips for Guests:

I’ve been meaning to do this for so long, but I finally got around to asking a near and dear friend to join me for an afternoon outing aboard my bowrider power boat. We both needed this after the year we’ve had.

Although completely new to boating, she happily informed me she already knew the basics such as to pack suntan lotion and a wireless speaker. I may have looked at her somewhat surprised because she responded, “What? Is there something else I should know?”

Learning the ropes isn’t entirely expected of new boating guests, but here are a few things I wish every new boater and as a guest aboard my boat would know:

Pay attention to safety – When told where the safety equipment is and during any briefing on safety procedures, make sure to be attentive and remember as much as you can. This will ensure that in the event of an emergency, you are prepared and can help others. If in doubt, just remember to keep hands and feet inside the boat when underway, maintain three points of contact to ensure solid footing, and always listen to the captain or person in charge!

Offer to help if you can – If you have some experience, feel free to offer to help with lines, anchoring, or anything else you know how to do. Your captain may or may not take you up on it, but it’s always nice to offer! If nothing else, you can always maintain a lookout for your captain and inform her of any upcoming boat traffic, objects in the water, or anything else that might impede the operator.

Keep the boat tidy – As a passenger, you can always do your part in making sure the boat is clutter free. This means keeping trash in a container or a reusable mesh bag so it does not accidentally go overboard or keeping coolers, towels, and flip-flops tucked away so everyone can move about the boat safely. Your captain will appreciate a clean boat too!

Speak up if you’re uncomfortable – If you’re asked or tasked with a job you’re not comfortable with, such as tying off a dock line to a piling, speak up and ask for some help. Or, avoid putting yourself in a position where you can’t help much or do no good. This will benefit everyone in the long run and reduces the chances of something going wrong.

If something doesn’t feel right – Boats will toss and turn, sometimes unexpectedly or in a way you might not anticipate. If at anytime you are unsure of your footing or feeling queasy, let your captain know. Loss of balance or nausea could mean you’ve had too much sun and fun, or may even indicate you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide. Seek shade, stay in fresh air, drink water, and ask someone to keep an eye on you. If it’s serious, your captain will know to get you prompt medical attention.

Glass and valuables should be left at home – Beverages or food in glass containers should be left at the dock. There is a chance of glass shattering given the jostling, speed changes, and waves and wakes encountered while boating. This not only creates a mess but also can be hard to clean up and can result in injury if stepped on or picked up. Bringing valuables also is not the best idea since things can go overboard and find its way to the murky bottom. Cell phones, keys and sunglasses are the most common victims, so keep a tight grip on them, especially when boarding or getting off the boat.

Boating and spending time on the water is one of the best activities you can do with your friends and family. It’s fun and it feels great to be carefree, but the simple things mentioned above can also make it worry-free. If you follow the simple things above and keep them in mind and make sure communication and expectations are clear across the board, this will help make your day out on the water as relaxing and stress-free as possible!

Do you have any tips you can add? We would like to hear from you. Send your tips to safeboating@boatus.com!