In my years as a Florida resident, I have spent a comparatively low percent of my time on the water, save for some brief outings to fish with my uncle and on ferry boats in Seattle. Boating is typically relegated to those with disposable cash and the time to maintain a water vehicleâ€¦or those who make a living on the water.
Lately though, Iâ€™ve found great renewed pleasure in boating and kayaking with friends, for pleasure and fitness. Due to the high cost of entry on the water â€“ boat, licenses, trailers, gas, etc. â€“ Iâ€™m lucky to know people who own crafts and are willing to invite friends for rides! A couple of suggestions for those considering spending time on a boat this Spring or Summer, so you can enjoy yourself and get invited to the next sea outing::
- Pack provisions. Depending on your destination, it’s critical to bring snacks, water, and if you’re of age…a cooler full of beer and/or vodka & mixers.
- Make copious use of a variety of sunscreens – lower SPF for areas you’d like a nice cinnamon sheen and higher SPF that is critical for the face, nose, ears, and neck – areas at a greater risk for skin cancer.
- Keep your iPhone close…you never know when a pack of Dolphins will surface and hang out near the boat.
- Keep an eye out for obstacles in the water. If you’re traveling at 35 mph (and boats don’t come with seatbelts!), be aware of the risks if the boat suddenly stops and you keep moving…
- Enjoy water sports like skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding, and tubing…but again, keep in mind the risks of moving at such a fast pace near a body of matter that is comparatively hard against your soft skin and bones.
- Turn up the volume! Most modern boats come with stereos to which you can attach your iPhone. My song of the day this past Sunday was Heavy Metal Lover by Lady Gaga.
- Always be available to help the captain – with docking and anchoring and the like. An extra hand is always appreciated.
- Once the day is done, be sure to stick around to help clean up – the boat will need to be rinsed, scrubbed, and cleaned of the day’s flotsam and jetsam.
These road rules of the high sea will ensure your safety and keep you happy and healthy. Making the day as easy for the boat operator as for the other passengers will mean you are the prime candidate next time a first mate is needed.