Ten Things Every Boat Owner Needs to Know
Late summer and early fall are some of the best times of the year to enjoy your boat. The North Carolina coast is a beautiful place during this time of year. The temperatures are beginning to drop a bit, the crowds are gone, and the water temperatures are perfect. And we haven’t even mentioned the world-class fishing. In short Ocean Isle Beach is a boaters dream destination. Have you recently purchased a boat and looking to take it on your first beach vacation? If so, Ocean Isle Beach is the place to be and this week we have ten things that every boater should know.
Know the Coast Guard Rules
Owning a boat is easy, and many are very simple to operate. However, there are certain rules that every boater must follow. Think of them as rules of the road. Many boaters seem to think there are no rules on the water, only to find themselves at odds with local law enforcement. We strongly encourage new boaters to take a boaters safety course. They are fun and you’ll learn a lot.
Have a radio
When on the water don’t assume your phone will work. Cell phone coverage can be spotty. Buy a good quality marine radio and familiarize yourself with it. They are affordable, easy to use, and will always keep you in touch with the Coast Guard and other boaters.
Never boat while under the influence
It goes without saying that drinking and driving is not only irresponsible, but also illegal, and strictly enforced in North Carolina. This is also true on our waterways. Always have a designated driver if you are going to be consuming any alcohol. The penalties are severe, and you owe it to yourself, other boaters, and your passengers to be responsible.
Don’t overload the boat
Boats can only hold so many people. How many times have you seen that boat on the water loaded down with people. Hey, we get it, having a boat makes everyone want to hang out with you. However, the boat can only hold so many people. Check the specs on your boat so you know how much weight and how many people you can safely carry. Never exceed the boat manufacturers recommended load capacity. The boat can become unstable, and this can be a huge problem that can really ruin your day.
Know the geography
Being on the water can be one of those magical experiences, however. it is very easy to become disorientated and lost if you don’t know the local geography. Make sure to have a GPS, Loran, or at the very least a set of good local charts of the waters around Ocean Isle Beach. Many of these can be downloaded on tablets and smartphones making them easy to have right at your fingertips.
Have a plan at the boat ramp
One of the most stressful parts about boating is showing up to the boat ramp the first time. People are anxious and everyone wants to get on the water quickly. Having a plan at the boat ramp is the key to your success. Familiarize yourself with the ramp. Know who is going to drive, who is going to hold the boat, and who is going to keep up with the kids. We recommend taking your boat on a calm weekday to a local boat ramp and try loading and unloading a few times so you can get the process down and thus reduce your stress.
Check the weather
The local weather can change rapidly. This is especially true on the water where the wind and currents can create confusing currents, tides, and water conditions. Make sure to check the local weather and/or the weather band on your marine radio.
Think about safety
Being on the water takes a certain amount of responsibility. Unlike being on land, help can be far away and limited. Make sure to have the proper safety equipment, including, but not limited to, flares, first aid kit, personal flotation devices, spare water, and radio. For a complete list of recommended items check the Coast Guard's website.
Be familiar with the local tides
Knowing the local tides are an important thing for any boater to know. Tides can cause boaters to be unable to get to certain areas or cause them to run aground, neither of which are good days on the water. For sailboats that have a deeper draft knowing the local tides can be a critical piece of information. There are several apps that allow you to easily keep up with the local tides.
Let someone know where you are
If you are going to be out on the water it is always a good idea to let someone on shore know your plans. In case there is an emergency, this critical piece of information may literally be a lifesaver.
Are you ready to hit the water? If you are, now is the time to give one of our friendly reservationists a call at 800-727-9222 and book your Ocean Isle Beach vacation. Don’t forget to ask about any specials we are running. Of course, you can always search our inventory, book reservations, and chat with a reservationist on our secure website. Just click the button below.
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