Boating Safety Tips for Newbies


If you’re new to boating and about to embark on your first trip, it’s normal to feel a little trepidation. The open ocean can be a dangerous place and many of us don’t understand how to minimise the risks it presents, from falling overboard to getting lost.

If you’ve never spent much time on the water, you may not be familiar with water rules and regulations and the last thing you want is to cop a fine while you’re out on the water.

To help you prepare for you day on the water, we have some helpful hints and tips to make your day safer and more enjoyable.

Check the weather

Before you sail off on the seven seas, be sure to look at the weather report. Going through with a boat hire when there are storms predicted is not a good idea. Don’t make your boat journey more challenging or difficult than it needs to be. Always check for rain and winds, as well as noting the tides.


Dress appropriately

Many people choose to dress as if they are going to the beach when they’re going out on the water. However, the weather when you are out at sea is a fair bit different to what you get on land. Make sure you dress accordingly. Have some waterproof clothing with you, bring some extra layers, and swap your thongs for closed shoes with a good grip; you might just need them if the weather turns.

Wear a life jacket

Always include a life jacket as part of your outfit, and make sure that you wear it at all times or have it close to hand. It’s better to be prepared and to make sure you are ready to deal with any of the challenges that can come up while you are out at sea. In some places, it is a legal requirement that children wear life jackets at all times while on board. While your boat hire will supply life jackets, it’s important you know where they are kept and how to put them on quickly in case of emergency. If you aren’t a confident swimmer, consider wearing a life jacket at all times.

Know how to use emergency equipment

Make sure that you learn how to use all emergency equipment, and even consider taking a first aid training class before your boat trip. It pays to know what to do in an emergency, especially if someone is injured while you are away from land.

Be ready for sea sickness

If you are worried that you might get seasick, then it pays to be prepared. There a number of tablets that can help with nausea and ginger is a natural remedy also.

Never head out alone

Things can turn drastically on the open sea, so it’s important to never go boating alone. It’s even recommended to not be on deck alone in case a rogue wave knocks you overboard. Having someone else around at all times means there’s always a helping hand. On your first few trips, it can be extremely beneficial to have someone who is more experienced as you learn the ropes.

Carry communications equipment

Always ensure you have access to and understand how to use two functioning communication devices in case something goes wrong and you need to call for assistance, for instance, from the coast guard. Communications equipment should be waterproof and checked for any issues prior to setting off.

Understand water rules

Before you even step on board, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the water rules in your area. Local boating enthusiasts can be a great source of information, as well as your local maritime safety authority. You should confidently know about speed limits and safe distances in a variety of situations, among other important rules everyone should be following. Knowing these rules means that not only will you and other recreational boaters stay safe, but you will all enjoy your time out on the water.

By following these tips, you can put your mind at ease as you embark on your boat trip. Bon voyage!