You may think it goes without saying, but don’t run out of fuel. People do and they do it more often than you think. So be sure to check your fuel gauge and overestimate the amount of gas you need to return to shore since boat gauges aren’t always as reliable as the gas gauge in your car. Another boating mistake that happens more commonly than one may think is failing to check the weather. Not only can that misstep be problematic and result in an unpleasant day out at sea, but it can be extremely dangerous.
Okay, now let’s address docking. When we say it’s time to hit the dock, we don’t mean literally. You definitely want to avoid actually hitting the dock. Yep, it happens. So watch your tides and don’t come in too hot; or hot is NOT how you will look when you reach your destination. Tying off incorrectly can also create some huge headaches. If you think an insecure significant other is a pain, try an insecure boat! While we are on the subject of hitting things, you’ll also want to avoid running aground. Educate yourself about the area you are boating, remember your keel and load and remain aware of failing tides.
Improper anchoring – caused by using the wrong anchor for the bottom, insufficient line or, worse yet, an anchor tethering that is too tight – can load your boat with water and…uh, well, you know. Following that same line of thinking, forgetting to replace the drain plug can yield similar results. Other things you don’t want to forget are lifting your engine and dropping your Bimini top before trailering, as well as timely maintenance. Lazy maintenance habits can definitely leave you high and dry.