Sense you have found the perfect boat. Now you’re ready to outfit it with boating electronics. Choosing from amoung the vast array of units is great but may at times seem overwhelming. Much will depend on the kind of boater you are and the type of electronic equipment you use in general. Can you read charts and the stars, or will you only want the best in electronic navigation? When you’re on your boat, do you plan to leave civilization behind, or will you want phone or email contact? Do you have a favored boat electronics brand, or would you rather cherry pick the best from several different brands? Know yourself, your boating plans, and your general attitude toward electronic gadgetry, and you’ll have an easier time choosing how to outfit your boat.
Choosing the most suitable boating electronics can not only make your boating experiences more fun and your fishing more productive, but it can be important to your well being as well in case of an emergency. Learning to use your electronic equipment is equally as important as choosing it. And that indicates you will have to take the time to learn how to operate the equipment whether it’s from manuals, instructional videos, or having someone show you how to use it.
Besides, you should know how to navigate by other means in the event of your electronics failing. Knowing how to read navigational charts and plot your route is still an important skill. With that in mind, here are 6 tips for choosing your boat electronics.
1. The boat electronics you should choose should be an automatic identification system, or AIS. It is used by boats and by the Vessel Traffic Services to find and identify boats. Your AIS gear is the most important electronic device you’ll buy. It allows boats to exchange electronic data including position, identification, and course. The AIS transponder will cause your vessel to show up on computer screens at Vessel Traffic Services stations. This is critical to have should there be an emergency, or should you become lost.
2. Your boat electronics package should also include a GPS plotter as one the important components. One of the more popular choices is for a multifunction display that puts several different instruments onto one screen. Such multifunction machines can even allow you to run radar and fishfinder data through one display. They are also relatively easy to expand for other functions and displays.
3. If you have a choice of displays, remember that the larger it is, the easier it will be to see. Remember, that on a boat, screen viewing can be far from optimal during sun glare and rough weather conditions. You should choose at least a 7″ display, but if there is room and it will fit your budget a 10″ or 12″ will be much better.
4. If you are interested in on-board entertainment, you can coordinate your display for several peripheral boat electronics. They can be connected to satellite television receivers, DVD players, music systems, and some computer devices. These are great extras to have, but don’t get them at the expense of choosing inferior safety equipment. Be sure to mount your navigation equipment in an easily accessed area on the helm.
5. A depth sounder is another good investment in the safety of your boat. If the weather turns bad, a depth sounder combined with your GPS plotter can help get you safely back to shore.
6. There is an ever changing selection of marine electronics products made available for the boating industry. There are now laptop computers designed specifically for use in boats. These computers do what normal laptops do, but they can also be loaded with special software like RayTech RNS 6.1, which allows multi-format charting, hsb2 electronics integration, and worldwide tides and currents among its many functions.
In summary, your AIS device, GPS plotter, and depth sounder are the most critical pieces of boat electronics for your vessel because they pertain to your safety and the safety of your passengers. After having these devises in place first, and if you can afford it, there are plenty of extras you can add in the way of entertainment equipment and fish finding devices that you can have fun with.
Learn how to interpret Simrad StructureScan, build a combo-screen on a Garmin display, switch to 3D Chart View on a Furuno TZTouch2, change radar scales on a Raymarine Quantum Radar, properly adjust gain on a Si-Tex fishfinder and learn the difference between AIS and DSC on an iCOM VHF radio
Safe boating is something that we all believe that we do and think we know how to do, but the reality is probably somewhat less than is desired. Being a lifelong fisherman and boater, I recognize the fact that many of us take boating safety for granted way too often. Neglecting the simplest of marine safety basics cause way to many accidents and tragedies each year on our waterways. All to often we read about or hear about boating mishaps, boats capsizing or a myriad of boat stories that do not end well, all because of lack of pre-planning or the lack of general knowledge of boat safety.
One important tip would be to take a boating safety course. There are many courses available across the country for all types of recreational boaters, and for boaters of all ages. Taking one of these courses could mean the difference between a great day on the water with your friends and family, or a bad experience that you would not wish upon your worst enemy.
You can seek out qualified volunteer organizations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron, and other sponsors that provide many safety courses that are open to the general public. Many state boating agencies also provide boat safety classes.
These courses will cover many aspects of boating safety, proper boat anchoring, safety equipment, boat handling skills, navigation, boating problems and emergencies, trailering, storing and protecting your boat, to reading the weather, and classes geared to courses for kids and younger boaters who want to learn boating and navigation skills. The most popular basic courses generally have from 6 to 13 lessons to provide a foundation of boat operational and safety instruction. Many boating classes will give you the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states. Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete boating safely course.
A safe boater will always have the appropriate nautical charts on board their vessel and will be familiar with their surroundings. The exact meaning of an aid to navigation may not be clear to the boater unless the appropriate marine chart is consulted. Also each boater should file a float plan with a friend or family member that outlines the days activities that are planned. This is helpful to provide the Coast Guard with a general area to search in case you are not back home in a reasonable timeframe.
It is also critical that your vessel have the necessary safety equipment onboard. The necessities include, but are not limited to, personal flotation devices (PFD’s) that properly fit each person onboard, visual distress signals, flares for both day-time and night-time use, bell, whistle, fire extinguisher, throw ring, cell phone, VHF radio.
It is also important to have an understanding of navigation, aids to navigation and the rules of the road. These simple, yet often overlooked basics lead to many unfortunate mishaps on the water. Aids to navigation are the road signs on the water and it is what controls how boats navigate and pass one another. Learning to understand them requires experience and practice.
Protect yourself and your family, be better prepared the next time you go boating.
One of the most valuable lessons learned is you can never be to prepared whether you are going on a fishing trip, boat tour, or a pleasure trip.
Something that should be on every boaters mind is safety and precautionary measures while out on the water. If your on a rowboat, speed boat, show boat, or a pontoon these tips should be useful.
1. Always check your local weather service before you go out on the water. If for some odd reason your weather provider’s prediction is wrong, look for darkening clouds, a temperature drop, or changing winds. Be safe and get off the water if a sudden weather change occurs.
2. Make a check list before going out. We all forget stuff when we are rushing ourselves. Make a check list before you head out, it will ensure you don’t forget anything important.
Some marine safety supplies that might be helpful are a flashlight (click here to see video of Safety Strobe Megaphone with flashlight), first aid kit, additional life jackets, visual distress signal, and an audio distress signal. All these supplies can be helpful in an emergency situation and can save your life.
To extend your voice even more look into a Portable PA System or a megaphone. These items would help you communicate to other boaters and safety professionals during emergencies or disaster situations.
3. Familiarize yourself with the boating regulations, the layout of the lake, and the layout of your vessel. Knowledge of all theses things is beneficial. It will provide extra safety on the water for you, and your passengers.
4. Put passengers to work. If you need help navigating or watching for other boats you could as your passengers to help you out.
5. Get onto land or back into the boat as soon as possible if you fall in freezing water. Being in cold water steals your body heat 32 times faster then cold air. Find the nearest spot to get out of the water and swim there immediately. Treading water trying to make a decision can shorten survival time by 50%.
6. Know how to swim. As crazy as it sounds, there have been incidences of people falling off their boat and not being able to swim. It would make sense to take a swimming class if your going to be around the water all day.
7. Get a free vessel safety check. These are offered by the United States Coast Guard for free. You can find a local vessel safety check using this website http://www.safetyseal.net/GetVSC/. They check safety equipment and the overall condition of your boat.
8. Watch out for the prop. A prop can spin 160 times per second so it’s best to not board your boat via the drive unit. Get a ladder and board the safe way.
9. Install a carbon monoxide device in your boats cabin. Carbon monoxide is odorless and deadly. So it’s not a bad idea to install one if your boat has an indoor cabin to prevent you from inhaling the fumes. Carbon monoxide exposure while rare can be fatal, do the smart thing and buy a carbon monoxide detector.
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Boating safety is an issue of great importance for people who spend a lot of time on the water. Once you’ve passed the required boat test and received your necessary boating license, you can focus on the different elements of in-boat safety. A boating safety course is wise to take so you can get the training necessary to stay safe on the water and make the most of your boat licence. Any boating license Ontario centre can steer you in the right direction to take a safety test along with your regular boating course exam. Some of the topics you’ll learn about in boating safety course include the minimum amount of safety equipment allowed on your boat, how you should respond to emergencies on the water and other applicable regulations.
One important aspect of boating safety is to always be prepared before you take your boating license and head out onto the water. Inspect your boat well so you know all the equipment is in working order, and check the weather report for your area, too. Let someone know where you’ll be going and be sure to bring enough fuel to get you there and back. Once the boat is ready to go, double-check that you have your boat licence and go practice all the things you’ve learned from your boat test.
One thing your boating license Ontario safety test will stress is to wear a life jacket at all times when you’re out on the water. About 90 % of people who drown while recreational boating did not have a life jacket on at the time. Every person on the boat should have a life jacket, so if the whole boat were to sink for some reason everyone would be safe. Your boating license Ontario tests will show you the proper types of floating devices to carry on your boat for optimum safety. It’s also wise to avoid bringing alcohol on your boat as a means of boating safety. Drinking and boating is illegal just as drinking and driving a car is illegal. Your blood alcohol must be under the legal limit or every boating course you’ve taken may be wasted. You’ll learn about alcohol and boating in your boat test, and your boating license will show authorities that you’ve learned the laws.
Driving slowly in your boat is a must for boating safety, so you can avoid dangerous collisions and potential injury. The boating license Ontario testing you do will highlight safe boating speeds as part of the overall boating course. If you decide to boat in a commercial waterway, keep a safe distance away from large vessels to avoid any problems. Large boats are unable to change direction as quickly, and may have trouble seeing you at all. Ask questions at your boating license Ontario office if you’re unsure of how much distance is a safe distance. When your boating course has been completed and your boating license is securely in hand, try your best to obey all of the safety tips so you can have a safe and fun boating experience.