Boating is an amazing outdoor activity that everybody should get to experience at least once. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a boat just to experience this; you can simply rent one from the many boat rental companies in your area.
However, if it’s your first time renting a boat, here are some tips to help you make the most out of the experience:
1. Make early reservations
If you are planning to go boating during the peak seasons, such as during summer weekends and holidays, make reservations early. Everyone else may have the same idea as you and want to go boating, too, so make sure you secure your rental in advance. Some boat rentals may even offer discounts if you make a reservation early.
2. Find out the requirements
Contact the marina you plan to go to and find out what you need to accomplish. Sometimes, boaters are required to attend a boating education class or buy an insurance policy. There’s also likely going to be paperwork you have to fill out in order to take out the boat. It’s better to take care of these early so you can check-in quickly when you get to the marina.
3. Learn how to sail
While most marinas don’t require renters to have a boating license, it is still a good idea to brush up on your boating skills. You don’t have to be an expert for leisurely boating, but you also don’t want to end up not knowing what to do in the middle of the lake.
4. Look for the right type of boat
Choose the type of boat that’s appropriate for your skills, the size of your group, and the activities you plan to do on the water. If you’re not sure which types of boat to choose, ask the boat rental service for suggestions.
5. Inspect the boat
Check to see if the boat is in proper working condition and inspect the appearance of the vessel before taking out of the dock. In this way, you can report potential issues to the rental company before heading out. Otherwise, you may be charged for damage you did not cause after you take it back.
6. Let people know where you are
Don’t leave shore without letting at least one person know of your whereabouts. Let them know where you are going and what time you intend to return. If something happens and you don’t return on time, they will be the ones to look for you.
7. Pack right
Before going on your first boat ride, pack the essentials (food, extra clothes, water, cooler, sunscreen, first aid kit) as well as whatever equipment you need for your activities (fishing gear, water skis, snorkeling gear, etc.). However, don’t bring too much stuff on board as this can overcrowd the boat and even cause a tripping hazard.
To make your first time boating adventure safe, comfortable, and fun, take note of these tips when planning your excursion. While you can’t control the weather, the crowds, and the waves, these tips will help you manage what you can prepare for.