We can’t control restrictions on recreational boating or the vast, boring weekends spent under a stay-at-home order. But we can use the time wisely to be ready for a safe boating season.
Online sailing and free navigation courses, a knot-tying refresher, and getting your checklists ready for boating season are all smart uses of all the involuntary free time we suddenly find ourselves with.
The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) has put together these ideas for ways to invest your time if you can’t get to your boat right now:
- Become a smarter sailor while saving big bucks by taking Offshore Sailing School’s Learn to Sail or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Modern Marine Navigation courses free any time through May 15. Use the coupon code “learnfree” at BoatUS.org/Courses at registration.
- Checklists are great when you really need them — just ask the person at the boat ramp who forgot to install the hull drain plug. What kind of printed, laminated checklist would be helpful to have aboard? Ideas include: pre-launch checklist, trailering checklist (did you remember to cross the safety chains?), and safety checklist.
- Whether you’re an inshore day cruiser, offshore angler, or cruising sailor, you always need to be prepared to abandon ship. Here’s what to pack in a ditch kit.
- Docking can be a spectator sport. The BoatUS How to Dock a Boat YouTube playlist includes a range of docking scenarios that show you how, from outboard to inboard powered boats. It also includes ‘How to Back a Single Engine Inboard Boat Into a Slip’ – the single most impressive recreational boat docking maneuver of them all.
- If the boat and trailer are safely in the garage or driveway, now may be the time to look at all the things you never have enough time to, such as replacing outdrive anodes, changing trailer bearings or restoring the shine to gelcoat. It’s all in one place at BoatUS Trailer Boat YouTube playlist, including small boat handling tips such as ‘How to Use Trim Tabs,’ the most-watched BoatUS video ever.
- Learn how to tie up your family, pets or anything else around the house with help from the BoatUS Essential Boating Knots YouTube playlist. Practicing at home now will make these knots easier to remember aboard the boat when the pandemic is over.
- Consider supporting the waterfront businesses you enjoy and do business with – restaurants, chandleries, prop shops, sail lofts or other service providers – by purchasing a gift certificate. You can start by going to the local businesses’ website to see if they are available.
- Help protect the water you love and take the free, online BoatUS Foundation Clean Boating course, which offers simple steps you can take to reduce the impact boating activities on our waterways.