More women than ever are learning to embrace the boating lifestyle. This brings me great joy. Whether at the helm, or as a first mate or deckhand, women are learning how to enjoy the unique benefits of boating.
Here are some tips I have compiled, specifically for women, to get the most out of the boating experience.
1. Get out on the water sooner rather than later
You want to be a knowledgeable boater? Don’t put it off. There is no better time to start learning than now. Take a boating safety course and familiarize yourself with the local boating laws and basic boat-handling procedures.
One of the benefits of being a Freedom Boat Club member is that you have unlimited free training conducted by the club’s U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains. This is a great benefit of the club. Take advantage of it!
2. Practice. Practice. And more practice
Don’t be intimidated. Boating is gender-neutral. Once you have learned the basics, it’s all about practice. Find what makes you the most uncomfortable and practice mastering that skill over and over. Let’s say, for example, you really want to get better at docking. Go out on the water early in the morning and find a quiet dock where you can practice. You can practice without the pressure of someone watching your every move. Our female captains recommend getting out on the water at least once a week to practice your skills
I’ll never forget going downtown to Metropolitan dock with my girlfriend to practice backing into the slip with my previous boat, a 30-foot Sea Ray. We kept practicing dock approaches, over and over. Finally one of the fire station guys who works there walked out and said, “hey do you guys need help?” We smiled, “No, just practicing.”
3. Take turns at the helm
If your significant other usually operates the boat, let him know you want some time at the helm. The more time you get at the helm, the more comfortable you will become. However, we suggest you take some 1:1 training so you are taught by a knowledgeable instructor before taking the wheel.
4. Call your girlfriends and practice together
Make it fun! Call your friends and schedule a day to go out on the water together. This reduces the pressure and creates a spirit of teamwork. You might even learn a new way to do something by seeing how someone else does it. Do this often and try new locations. Dock and dine somewhere for lunch and make a whole day of it. Who says you can’t have fun while improving your skills?
5. Stay Current
Always look for new ways to improve your skills. Read a boating book, subscribe to a popular boating magazine, learn how to tie knots, take advanced training courses. There are many online resources and apps you can download to help expand your knowledge. Challenge yourself to continually learn more!
There is nothing stopping you from improving your skills
The more you practice and get comfortable on the water, the more fun, confident and relaxed you will be. And the more you will enjoy your time on the water. What are you waiting for? Get started!