Getting a first sailboat is an exciting time for anyone. Often times people get so excited to get the boat out on the water that they go unprepared. Taking the time to prepare can make the difference between a great time on the water, or a disaster.
Before even taking the boat to the waters edge, be sure that you know how to rig the boat properly. Have a few friends help you out the first time you put the boat together. Having an extra set of hands will prove invaluable. Take a moment to look overhead prior to stepping the mast. Power lines are potentially deadly, and making a mistake here can keep you from ever reaching the water. Be sure that you the boat has all of the parts needed to properly assemble and operate; don�t use a nut and bolt when it calls for a stainless steel pin, the results are bad�ask a sailor who has tried it the other way�great stories - bad experiences.
A properly prepared boat will have all required safety equipment and registration to operate safely and legally on whatever waterway you plan on sailing. Keep in mind, sailing is a sport, and appropriate safety measures should be taken. Always wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device...life jacket) when you are on the water. They have come a long way from the "old safety orange" lifejackets that were bulky and uncomfortable.
Do not venture onto the water before you know how to sail! Getting an experienced sailor to "teach you the ropes" is easy. Sailors are some of the friendliest people on the planet. They are generally willing to share their experience with others. In fact many sailing clubs offer sailing instruction for youth and adults. Lessons are not only informative; they are a terrific source of fun and fellowship.
Finally, Get some local information on the waters you will be sailing�current, tide, depth, restricted sailing areas - you get the point. Check the weather forecast; don�t leave the dock if there is a threat of storm. Be sure to let someone know where and when you are planning on sailing. It is equally important to let them know what time they can expect you to return. If you do not return within reasonable time there after, (heaven forbid) the person you told can alert the proper authorities to search for you. Getting into trouble on the water is far less frightening if you know someone is looking out for you.
Be prepared. Take the time to make sure all things are in order prior to getting on the water. Take a lesson from an experienced sailor. Take safety seriously. Have fun!
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