Five things I’ve learned about boating

1. Understanding the weather forecast is important

Because we spend the majority of our spare time out on the water, I am constantly watching the weather forecasts. At the moment we only have a motor boat, so we focus on making sure the winds are not too heavy.

Knowing the direction of the wind, whether heavy or light, helps in finding the best protected anchorages. If a storm is coming, you want to end up somewhere very protected from most directions… Or to find a marina berth for the night.

Going out in bad weather is very dangerous, and hugely increases the risk of disaster.

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2. Anchoring in sand is better than mud

The only time I’ve ever seen our anchor drag has been in mud. The waterways around Moreton Bay in Brisbane have a lot of mangroves and muddy waters. I find that although the anchor might hold in the beginning, sometimes the mud can lift/shift because of the anchor, causing you to drag later on. Keeping an eye on the anchor is always a good idea, especially in the mud.

They say the general ratio of anchor chain is 3 meters of chain to every meter of depth. We always put out more than that, especially if staying somewhere overnight. We usually put out at least 5 times the length of chain. More is better when it comes to anchoring.

Keeping an eye on other boats is always useful as well, because sometimes it’s them that drag into you.

3. Boating has its own language

It’s not left and right, it’s port and starboard.

It’s not front and back, it’s bow and stern.

It’s not a kitchen, it’s a galley.

There are all sorts of funny words used when on a boat. Sometimes, you may just need some clarification.

4. Using your boat is the best maintenance

The number of boats we’ve seen sitting in marinas with reefs growing off them is really sad. I’ve found that the more you use a boat, the less it breaks. Perhaps it’s because as you use it, you keep maintaining it. But generally I find things start to break when boats stop being used.

This is especially true for motor boats.

5. Boaties are awesome people

The boating community is generally lovely. When you are berthed in a marina, the other boaties around are always up for a chat or keen to help out when needed.

Cruising boats contain people that have a huge range of knowledge to share with other cruisers. Boating means being part of a community, even if the faces are constantly changing.

This post is done in collaboration with D’Albora Marinas. The opinions are my own, of course.

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2 responses to “Five things I’ve learned about boating

  1. I’d like to add one item to your list. A boater must live by the “plan – no plan” philosophy. Living on a boat means you have to be ready to change your plans regardless of how much you wanted to follow them. It’s the excitement that keeps us out here.

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