Spring is in the air which means now is the time to grab the dry boxes, the fishing gear, and get yourself on the water the next opportunity. But before you do, make sure you know the truths behind some of the boating world’s biggest myths so that you can better stay safe and have fun no matter which Florida waterway you play on:
The Truth Behind Common Boating Myths
- Sailboats always have the right of way. FALSE. Sailboats are only the stand-on vessel for which other boats must give way if they are under sail power. When they are using a motor, they act as any other boat. Additionally, commercial vessels restricted by draft or commercial fishing gear hold privilege over both sailboats under sail and all other recreational boats. Kayaks, canoes, and other boats under oars should be treated just as sailboats under sail and given right of way. In general, however, if you see any boat acting aggressively as though they own the waterway, it’s best to leave them plenty of room.
- Driving a boat is near identical to driving a car. FALSE. This is an especially problematic myth for new boaters who tend to be on the overconfident-in-nature side. While yes, a ship wheel acts similar to a steering wheel in that you turn it left, you’ll go left. that’s largely where the close similarities end and the steering itself will feel a lot different in a boat than in a car. First off, unlike the static pavement that cars traverse upon, water is, to point the obvious, fluid and constantly moving. Here in Florida on most of the waterways you will have to navigate changing tides and currents that will have an impact on how well the boat maneuvers through the water. High wind speeds and higher gusts can also have their own impact on steering capabilities. Additionally, unlike cars, there is no swift brakes on boats and even in situations in which you turn off the engine to avoid hitting something, that aforementioned wind and current may still cause you collide with another boat, dock, rock, or something else entirely. Speaking of which, with cars you can see the pavement and know what you’re driving over. Not true with boats unless you have a state-of-the-art sonar system. All of this is to say, new boaters prepare to come into this activity humbled and ready to learn a whole new style of driving.
- Boating is expensive. Generally FALSE. Boating, as with any activity, certainly can be expensive. Brand new yachts and the price tag associated with renovating a classic wooden schooner would certainly send any price-conscious person heading for the hills. But, that said, there are certainly a lot of inexpensive ways to enjoy boating and for many working and middle-class families, joining with a boat club membership or buying a quality used boat and paying for a season’s slip fee may even be turn out to be less than other big family vacation ideas. Plus, there’s the consideration that a big Colorado ski vacation or trip to Nantucket may offer some incredible memories for the week spent there, but with a boat membership or boat investment, you have at minimum a full season to share time with friends and family and create memories. For those uncertain about making the leap to boat ownership, we encourage them to research some of the many outstanding boat clubs in their area and try it out for a season to see if its the right family investment for you.
If You Do Go With Boat Ownership, Be Sure to Check Out SeaLift Products
If you find that boat ownership is the right choice for you, then be sure to check out our long line of SeaLift products designed to make boating safer, easier, and more enjoyable.