Like an old friend, springtime beckons to us boaters. The sunshine, warm weather and sparkling blue waters call us to come out and do what we do best… cruise!
Of course, the switch of seasons also means that other water lovers are heeding the same call. And that’s okay! If your local marina’s been looking a little more crowded, read on as we share a few of our best tips for passing and sharing the waterways with ease.
Give yourself some room
When you’re sharing the water with fellow boaters, you never want to get too close—especially when passing, or overtaking them. So how do you do it?
Our best tip is to give yourself, and the boat you’re passing, plenty of room. By crossing over further away the boat in question, you’ll get to navigate a much smaller wake—a huge benefit, for your ease as well as the safety and comfort of your passengers. This also gives the boater ahead of you some assurance, since you won’t be pushing them to speed up to get out of your way.
Sound your horn
So when you’re ready to pass ahead, how do you let the boat in front of you know? On the road, we have turn signals—on the water, we have horns for that same purpose.
The recommended method is to pass on the starboard, or right side of the boat in front of you. When you do that in inland/domestic waters, all you need is one short blast, which the other boat should return in acknowledgement.
Once they do, take it slow and easy. The boat ahead of you knows your plan, so there’s no need to be hasty. Just cross over smoothly, diagonally and with attention to wear the boat (now behind you) is—ideally, he or she has slowed down to a steady speed to allow you the room to make your move.
Enlist the help of a spotter
We traditionally associate spotters with water sports—someone to watch for a wakeboarder or skier who’s slipped into the water, for example. But this role can be especially helpful when you’re passing, too! Have your passenger keep an eye out for the boat you plan to overtake so that you never get too close to make your maneuver.
Ready to hit the water? We hope that these tips help you cruise with comfort and confidence in the season ahead.