Many recreational boaters haven’t been able to launch their boats this spring due to the coronavirus, leaving them with extra free time during what should be the start to a busy season on the water. If you are in need of a way to pass the time that would usually be spent aboard your boat, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has compiled some ideas to help you become a safer boat operator from the shore.
1. Take Offshore Sailing School’s Learn to Sail course or the US Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Modern Marine Navigation course for free through May 15 with the coupon code “learnfree” at BoatUS.org/Courses. It’s an opportunity to learn to sail smarter without paying a dime.
2. Write, print and laminate checklists to help you stay safe and remember everything you need when you are back on the water. These could include a pre-launch checklist, trailering checklist and safety checklist.
3. Support your local waterfront businesses by purchasing gift cards.
4. Brush up on your docking technique with the BoatUS How to Dock a Boat playlist on YouTube, which takes you through a range of docking scenarios.
5. Prepare for the unexpected: Pack a ditch kit in case you need to abandon ship.
6. If you have your boat and trailer at home, now is the time to do the maintenance and upgrades you’ve never gotten around to, and you can learn some tips with the BoatUS Trailer Boat playlist on YouTube.
7. Practice tying knots, or learn some new ones, with the help of the BoatUS Essential Boating Knots playlist on YouTube.
8. Learn to reduce your environmental impact and protect the waterways in the free online BoatUS Foundation Clean Boating course.