Going on a vacation with your family? It is a prudent idea to take a few days off to rejuvenate yourself with your family. Whenever we think of a boating vacation, various scenes tend to manifest in our minds; it is like watching a film. But before you leave the dock, or leave for the dock, there are some decisions that you will need to make to ensure you’re making the smart choice, and that your boating vacation is a memorable one.
A lot of couples who go on a boating vacation usually end up buying a boat for their future trips. It is that much fun, an activity that has so many possibilities. If you have already made up your mind to buy a boat then here is a tip. This is the first question that will generally hit your mind when faced with this situation.
What kind of a boat can you afford? It is crucial to understand the boat loan rates, debt/income ratio, down payment that you will need to pay and the tenure of the loan period. These are important questions that need answering.
Now that we have solved the first hurdle, let us plan our first ever boating trip.
Destination and guide
You will have to decide on a destination that you want to visit and explore. Make sure to calculate the time it will take to complete the trip in the most satisfactory manner. You do not want to end up hurrying and short cutting your trip. It should be well within your reach.
You may either choose one of the numerous mobile apps that are available for the smartphones or you can purchase a cruising guide for the area that you are planning on exploring. This will also help you calculate fuel usage, travel speeds for the water ways as well as costs involved.
Dockage and food
Make some calls and ensure that there is docking space available in the area and that the quality and type of food is to your satisfaction – well you probably be bringing your own so you should be good on that. Some docks require you to reserve your spot in advance. Though if you rent a boat and are able to pull it with your truck you do not have to worry about docking space.
You may also need to check your medical kits in case of an emergency. Inspect your vessel thoroughly to ensure that everything is in working condition and that there are no mechanical or technical flaws in the system. You do not want to end up in a situation where you are stranded in the middle of nowhere with no help. Check and double check your communication system.
You will also need to make sure that the boat is well supplied and stocked with food and beverages. Plan your rations for an additional few days just in case of an emergency. There are several mobile apps available in the market that can help you plan your packing.
Maps and spare parts
You will also need to carry some basic tools, oil, extra fuel, and other necessary items in case your boat has some issues. Carry at least two ignition keys.
Maps and charts
Make sure you carry some navigational maps and other maps as well. Take some time to understand the routes always know where you are. You do not want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere and not knowing which direction you are supposed to be going. You may need to make a float plan but if you are just headed to a lake, you should be fine.
Work on this float plan very carefully and if required, seek the help of an expert. Float plans are very similar to what a flight plan is. You can also visit the US Coast Guard auxiliary service website to get yourself a printed plan. It has been designed to be user-friendly and offers a one-click solution. The next step will be to send your float plan to the dock or anyone else who is expecting your vessel at any and all stops but this is only if you are going out to sea, again, if you are headed to a nearby lake or river, this is not necessary.
Weather and marine forecast
Bad weather can not only ruin your vacation but also endanger it. This is last but definitely not the least bit of advice. Check local as well as destination weather for a few days in advance and if in doubt, consult an expert. You should be mentally ready to postpone or even cancel the trip if need be. This is in your best interest.
Create a check list of items that you need to check before leaving the pier, like a VHF radio, basic tools, necessary boating equipment, anchor, tools, parts, kits, maps, and charts. Make sure your smart phone is charged up, too. They say that experience is the greatest teacher. After one or two trips on your new boat, you will make some mistakes but quickly learn from it too. What is important is that you enjoy the journey.