Recreational boating is an extremely fun sport. It is not, however, a sport that people should immediately jump into without help. Mistakes can result in injury or property damage. With proper boat training, though, these risks can be minimized and the sport can be enjoyed safely.
The first question beginning boaters must decide is whether they will learn about boating from a classroom or while on the water. While books can be helpful, on-the-water boat instruction is preferable.
On-The-Water Instruction Is Preferable
From elementary school on, students learn to appreciate having classes outdoors. Anyone who is interested in boating would rather be outside on the water than in a classroom. Although a simple argument, this is the most basic reason to choose on-the-water boat instruction. It lets boaters enjoy the sport, and people just learning about boating can see whether they really want to pursue it.
Whether in a life-threatening situation or just trying to dock, a classroom cannot simulate boating scenarios as well as on-the-water boat instruction does. No matter how many books one reads and videos one watches, there is no substitute for being in a boat. Real-life experience is the best boat instruction, and the safest way to gain experience is under the watchful eye of an instructor on the water.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In a classroom setting, education is designed to pass a test even if actually boating is the ultimate goal. Students in this setting study for an exam. On-the-water boat instruction, on the other hand, teaches by providing lots of practice. Although it is not the highlight of boating, this is best illustrated by launching a boat. The theory of launching a boat can be discussed for ages, but a boater someone has tried (and failed) to launch their boat several times, the process will be a comical affair. Seasoned boaters have been known to watch boat launches just for the entertainment. They know, from personal experience, that there is no substitute for practice.
While classroom instruction may seem convenient, it is a poor substitute for on-the-water boat instruction. There is nothing like being in a boat and getting real-life experience through lots of practice. This is the safest way to learn about boating.
Most Boat Clubs offer complimentary on-the-water training along with their membership. Make sure to ask about boat training, whether you are looking to join a club, rent, or buy.
Have you had a good or bad experience with boat instruction? Let us know how it went in the comments!
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