Boating is always going to be an exciting pastime as well as a fantastic adventure, but it does go hand in hand with great responsibility.
Although documenting your hours on the water is required under the guidance of a qualified skipper to be able to apply for – and undertake a skipper’s ticket in South Africa – no formal lessons or boating courses are required before you take the skipper’s course and test.
That being said, it is always advisable to have a seasoned boater or a qualified instructor give you proper instruction as to the best boating practices and the rules of the waterways.
Here are some of the more important points you will learn about boating in your endeavour to become a competent skipper.
- You will be taught about the necessary safety equipment required for a boat and how to use it. This instruction is particularly important as it will teach you how to handle a difficult situation when on the water, without panicking. All vessels are by law required to have the necessary safety equipment on board.
- You will learn how the principles involved in piloting a boat are quite different from driving a car. In a boat you are dealing with many more variables such as water currents and wind that can dramatically affect the path of the boat and how it performs. You will also receive instruction on how to read the prevailing currents.
- Your instructor will explain and show you the principles of docking the boat. Docking is not as easy as you might think as tides, wind and currents all need to be factored into this operation for it to be done safely and successfully.
- The instructor will also give advice on tying knots and how to work the boat’s lines, which are both important aspects of boating. If you’re not able to secure the boat properly, it won’t be long before the tide takes your boat on its own journey.