Florida Life

Your Guide To Driving a Boat

So, you just bought your first boat. You’re correct if you think your next big step is learning to drive. Think about your first time driving a car. Chances are, you were probably pretty nervous. But now, driving is something you can do without thinking about it. You’re boat driving experience will probably be very similar to this. Here are some basics to help you get started.

How To Start a Boat

First, start your exhaust fan if you have a gas engine. Then, go through your packing checklist to ensure you have everything you’ll need for your journey. Put your key in the ignition and start up the engine. World champion boater Hugh Fuller also recommends that you remember safety and clip your kill switch lanyard to your lifejacket.

How To Troubleshoot a Boat

While boats start similarly to cars, a few safety features can prevent them from turning on when you turn the key. If your ship doesn’t start, you should ensure that the kill switch is in the open position and the throttle is in neutral. If you’ve checked these things and your boat still doesn’t start, you should call a mechanic.

How To Operate the Throttle

As you learned in your boating education course, your throttle is the gas pedal for your boat. However, it will stay there once you reach your desired speed. Therefore, to slow down, you’ll have to grab the throttle to ease it back. That’s especially important to get used to because you’ll need to slow down when you see large waves or other boaters.

Therefore, operating the throttle will require a new level of situational awareness. When you drive your car, you’re probably looking for other vehicles, pedestrians, and traffic signals, and you adjust accordingly. Driving a boat is similar. You’ll need to learn to adjust the throttle for different things you’ll encounter on the water.

How To Steer a Boat

When boating, you turn the steering wheel just like you would in a car. You move the wheel left when you want to go left and right when you want to go right. You’ll also have to consider that waves, currents, and winds can push your boat. Therefore, you may have to change how you steer in different conditions.

That can make docking very difficult. Before you try docking on your own, ensure you practice with an experienced boater. The same thing goes for long journeys where land is out of your sight. The same factors can push your boat, so you’ll need to learn to navigate on the water.

Driving a boat is very similar to driving a car. You may encounter some conditions where things change up. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be well on learning the finer points. Just remember to go through the proper steps. Start by getting yourself set up correctly. Then, work the throttle. Make sure you pay attention to your surroundings and adjust accordingly. Steer like a car and adjust for different conditions.

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