The next couple weeks, I squeezed in time studying, in between studying, to learn to drive a boat. And man, was it a mouthful. I very much underestimated the course but I figured it was just a learner’s permit on water. I studied, reviewed, filled in the study worksheets, and on September 15th, 2019, I was officially prepared to drive this boat. I can’t tell you how nerving but exciting it truly is to be on water. To cut through the waves, to feel that cool breeze in your face. Not too much that it feel likes your swimming in onions or anything, but just a perfect cool breeze gently moving past your face, allowing your hair to dance along the wind. It was magical.
Remember what I said about life being kind of funny? Well when I was about 12, I actually wrote down on my bucket list, I would own a huge house with too many rooms, buy an iPhone, and buy myself a boat. I honestly had forgotten all about that until Sunday when I was cruising with my friend along the bay. Since then, I have managed to be on team apple for nine years and have a boating license. I’d say little Alex would be pretty impressed so far.
So if anyone else has ever wanted to learn to drive a boat or start getting on the water I would suggest searching your license requirements in your state as they differ between areas. In Florida, you either have to have been born before 1988 or complete a boating safety course.
Some tips on first time boat drivers.
- There are many things the course reviews that don’t necessarily apply to all boats. Focus on the important information, safety, equipment, what to do in an emergency, navigational rules, and boat traffic protocols.
- Make sure you know how to start/drive the boat. All boats will have mostly the same functions and gears but not all boats are identical. Research or check with the owner for help.
- Go easy on the throttle while you get the hang of driving
- Make sure you know when and how to move it from forward, backward, and idle.
- Make sure you aware of the signs and what they mean. They will help you know what type of body of water your in and how it will affect you driving the boat.
- Just be aware of your surroundings and underestimate how far another boat is so you have time to move around them if needed
- Try to bring along an experienced driver, owner, or someone with experience being on a boat to be your 1st skipper.
- Make sure there is enough life jackets for all the people on the boat and you know where they are along with the manual, other PFDs, and emergency equipment.
- Remember the green sign is on your starboard side as your going away from inland and the red on your port. When coming back towards land, its the opposite (Red on starboard side).
- Make sure to keep all trash on the boat until you come back to shore.
- If you’re confused on direction, following other boats are helpful.
- Keep a good distance from jet skis and boats dragging behind water-skiers and water-boarders
- Have faith in yourself and your driving. It’s not rocket science.
- Finally, have fun! It’s truly a blast!
Until next time!