This will not be the standard lecture about life jackets and alcohol. If you haven’t gotten those two items figured out yet it’s probably already too late for you!
As this section of the website grows, I will cover the more common boating safety situations that arise, but first I offer (3) basic safety tips that should be part of your personal seabag and that should accompany you every time you step on board your boat.
As many of my friends and regular visitors to this website know in addition to being a professional captain, I am also a pilot. What many don’t realize, is that while there is a lot that is different between the two; there is also much in common. I have been lucky enough to be able to take the best aspects of both and incorporate them into one.
In flying, from your first introductory flight in a Cessna 150 to your checkride in a Boeing 747, your instructors drill (2) important pieces of information into your head. "Situational Awareness" and "Aviate, Navigate, and Communicate". My father, who himself spent his life at sea, also taught me that one of the most important things to bring onboard any vessel is "Common Sense". So there you have it; my (3) answers to boating safety! We will go into them in more detail later.
Does boater education play a part? Of course, and always remember just like in sex -- "Lots is Good - More is Better". The more you have (we are talking about the education part now) the better boater you will be. Just remember that boater training and education is not a onetime thing, but an ongoing process. You should avail yourself of it any time you can and then put into practice what you have learned.
Most people would agree that there are (2) primary methods of learning; "Trial & Error" and "Study & Practice". While trial and error is a great method in learning how to ride a bike as a kid, not so much when flying or boating.
Working in the industry as I do, trial and error is not an option. I do not want to have to call "Mr. Smith" and inform him that while southbound with his 74’, $3.3M sport fisherman doing 35 knots in dense fog, I failed to allow for set and drift and just tore out the bottom of his boat on the jetty at Cold Spring Inlet.
Do you think that "Mr. Smith" will understand that it was a true learning experience for me? That I have gathered very important lessons about speed in fog and that I will apply those lessons learned to the operation of his next new boat! I just know in my heart that he will understand! The downside is, that it just doesn’t look good on your resume.
So, that leaves us with study and practice. Quite dull really, especially when compared with the trial & error type of learning, although somewhat safer and much less costly.