How To Navigate A Boat For First Time

Navigate A Boat

Are you going to rent a boat and pull anchor for the first time in your life? Congratulations, you are on your way to creating unforgettable memories, as well as enjoying unique experiences. But there are many things in water sport to take care of while you rub your hands impatiently. Boat navigation is different from the usual car driving and requires special knowledge. You must admit, getting lost without navigation when driving is just a road adventure that motivates you to talk with a stranger at a gas station. The situation is different while sailing: a good boat GPS is what can save your life.

So, to organize an unforgettable sea vacation, you should start by following the basic rules:

1. Get thorough training

Practice shows that not everyone considers it necessary. But, it is critically important to learn how to sail on currents, waves, and different weather conditions. No less important to learn how to moor a boat to a pier. In a word, safe ship navigation skill is the first thing you should know before setting off.

2. Track the weather conditions

Even if it’s sunny outside, be sure to check the weather forecast before getting underway. The worst that can lie in wait for a beginner is an unexpected storm. If the weather is not entirely stable, then stick to the coastline at least. Let your first sailing be a short day trip that will help to figure out many intricacies during practice.

3. Decide on the type of navigation system

This point is crucial. Before embarking on a voyage, you need to understand how to navigate the sea. Remember: visibility can disappear at any time due to fog, rain, or darkness. So you will stay one on one with the equipment and knowledge you have. Here are the main navigation methods you can use:


There’s always compass, parallel rules, and NOAA charts. The advantages of good old methods are apparent. These items are your insurance: they are always at your fingertips if the electronic navigation system is suddenly out of gear.

Navigate A Boat For First Time


The majority of modern sea-lovers operate their boats via electronic means. It is simpler than traditional methods, but of course, much more expensive. There are many types of automatic identification systems, radars, fishfinders, and chartplotters. It is best to seek professional advice and find out what is better for your particular case.


This type of equipment also belongs to electronic, but it is worth drilling down on this a little bit. This device is indispensable for providing information about your location at a glance. You can set new routes with a couple of touchscreen taps. Usually, the screen displays a compass, coordinates, speed, and other important information. It makes the chartplotter to be a right hand for beginners.

In addition, it can be helpful to download some sail navigation app on your phone, like iNavX, KnowWake, Navionics, SeaPilot. It will be a valuable backup of your electronics, just in case.

Types of boats

4. Don’t overload the boat

The list of necessary things on board is quite long: a first aid kit, a box with tools, massive supplies of drinking water and food, sunscreens, and much more. It is worth asking in advance what is the maximum weight your boat can withstand. Do not overload the boat with too many guests or technical tools.

Finally, remember that there are different types of boats, so you will always have to learn something. Each one requires skill and practice, even for an experienced sailor. This is all part of your big voyage, after all.

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