When you first buy a boat, you might have no idea about what to do with it. They aren't like driving a car around and if you don't have any experience, it's a good idea to learn as much as you can about boating before you jump in head first. Many areas offer classes in various areas of boating such as navigation, how to use the equipment, laws, and safety.
Navigation classes are a must if you plan to buy a boat and live near the ocean. If you have never used navigation equipment before, you might be totally lost when you first start flipping switches and seeing all kinds of numbers. These classes last anywhere from one to six weeks and vary on the costs and time needed for completion. A navigation class will teach you how to properly use all of your navigation equipment, know where you are, where you are going, and some even offer old-school techniques that are very interesting and handy to know.
The equipment on your boat may be confusing at first as well. There are many books as well as classes available that can teach you everything you will need to know about how to operate your equipment. This could be anything from radios to GPS systems to fish finders and often someone from your local marine shop will show you how to work your equipment for a small price or even for free. Don't overlook learning about everything you can in this area.
Boating safety courses are also very important. Here you can learn about what to expect while on the water, what to do during a storm, and how to keep yourself and your passengers safe. You will learn about laws in your area, boat lanes, what dinghy's actually do, and much more. Some dealerships will offer you a discount on safety courses when you first purchase a boat.
After a few courses, you should have either your boating license, boater safety certificate or both! Remember drivers education? These classes are similar to that and may or may not be required in your area before operating your boat.
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