Boating is a common, popular, and thoroughly entertaining pass time. There’s nothing better than hitting the water early on a Saturday morning, after a long week of work. But in your eagerness to beat the rush to the ramp, it’s easy to forget things, and make mistakes.
And when it comes to boating, there’s not much room for mistakes. Luckily, most boating mistakes are easy to avoid. So we’ve put together a quick list of some of the more common boating mistakes we see. We’ve also added some tips on how to avoid them!
Heading out at night? Don’t make the common boating mistake of forgetting your lights!
If you’re heading out at night, proper lighting is essential. Without the right lights, your boat effectively becomes a hidden hazard on the water. Sure, it might be audible when the engine is running. But on a dark night, there’s absolutely no way for any other mariners to see you. That’s why you need to take a three-point approach to your night-time lighting. The first and most important tip is to check your navigation lights.
They must be turned on while your boat is in motion, and it’s not a bad idea to leave them on when you’re stopped, too. Then there’s the anchor light. If you stop and anchor at night, you must have an anchor light by law. It’s basically just a bright light that sits well above the gunwales of your boat. Finally, we recommend a safety torch. It’s not uncommon for marine electrics to corrode over time, and leave you without lights. A safety torch will help other boats see you when you’re heading back in.
Poor navigation is a common boating mistake – here’s why you need to avoid it
There’s a bit of a trick to navigation. But luckily, in this day and age, we have so many advanced tools of navigation at our disposal. The most useful is GPS. It’s not only good for marking fishing spots! It’s also vital if you’re boating in open water. What a lot of people don’t know, though, is that GPS can also be very useful in tidal systems.
If you’re in a bay, a harbour, or an inlet, there are still plenty of hazards that you can miss. A common boating mistake in Queensland is running aground in a river mouth or bay. Such accidents can have serious consequences, too. That’s why we always recommend GPS – even for tidal boating navigation.
There are some places you just can’t fish – here’s how to avoid an expensive boating mistake
Fishing is regulated all across Australia. In Queensland, we have an extensive zoning system that governs where you can fish, and how you can fish there. Of course, there’s only one way to come to terms with where each zone is: zoning maps. You can get zoning maps for free throughout Queensland. You can also get them downloaded to your GPS. Often, a combination of the two is best. Maintaining a good understanding of your fishing zones is the only way to avoid a potentially costly – and illegal – boating mistake.
Do you have a two-stroke engine? Running it with a poor mix is a common and costly boating mistake
Two-stroke engines need the right mix of oil and fuel to function properly. A common boating mistake we see is forgetting to finetune that mix. It’s easy to think that your engine is in good condition if it’s running. But two-stroke engines can run without a proper mix of fuel and oil. When they do, irreparable damage can occur. That’s why we suggest speaking to an outboard mechanic if you’re unsure of the ratio you should run.
Going on a long trip without checking your trailer is a common boating mistake – here’s how to avoid it
Finally, let’s talk about trailers. After all, you can’t go boating without them! A common boating mistake we come across is trailer neglect. It can have serious consequences, too. That’s why we advise budding boaties to get a good quality trailer and maintain it regularly. Professional servicing is the best way to do so!