Apr 2, 2021
It’s been said that good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. Or as Oscar Wilde said
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”.
If you go boating frequently you will realise that things don’t always go to plan – we will all make a mistake or two (or more) on our path to boating proficiency.
The good news is that you don’t have to experience every boating calamity to learn from the collective experience of others. There is a wealth of knowledge available through ‘informal’ channels; yacht and boating clubs, friends and youtube. More formal educational pathways are also available for both the recreational and professional mariner. Longstanding and highly regarded courses such as Day Skipper and Boatmaster provide excellent opportunities to
While new boaties seem quite open to learning new skills it is often the ‘old salts’ who could benefit most from a refresh – sometimes we don’t realise what we don’t know.
One of the interesting things revealed by research into recreational boating is the age profile of boaties. In the Recreational Boating
If you then look at the preventable drowning stats you’ll see that it’s males over the age of 65 who are overly represented. Water Safety New Zealand research indicates that preventable drowning deaths for the over 65s doubled between 2016 and 2017.
The irony is that as we get older we may be more likely to have the income and time to go boating – and there’s no reason you shouldn’t - but make sure you’re well prepared. Boats have got bigger, often faster, and more complicated. Multi-function displays and lots of bells and whistles are great, but it’s important to understand the underlying principles (e.g., chart symbols, tidal influences) and the shortcomings of the equipment that we are using (e.g., terrain shielding, HDOP). There is also a wide range of more recent technology that will aid safety and add to your enjoyment
As the skipper of any vessel (commercial or recreational) you have a legal responsibility to ensure that the vessel and crew are kept safe – a fundamental requirement is to know what you are doing. If you’re not sure, need a refresher, or would like to take up a new challenge think about formalising your existing boating knowledge by taking a course. Learning from others poor decisions might just save you a whole lot of anguish – there’s no point making your own costly mistakes when you can learn from others.
For more information on courses visit boatingeducation.org.nz