To quote Forest Gump, ‘stupid is as stupid does’. While none of us are ever proud of an error in judgment, you may find that you’ve committed more than a few of our Top 10 dumbest mistakes in boating at some time or another.
10 Stranding your boat. Experienced boaters will tell you – if they’re honest – that they’ve run their boat aground once or twice in their lifetime. It’s one of those mistakes that isn’t foreseeable and is simply unfortunate. But be vigilant and keep your eyes peeled when you’re skippering, and steer clear of those sandbars!
9 Letting your boat drift away from the dock by not tying it off securely. It might sound simple and not like a blunder you’ll ever commit, but you’d be astounded at how often it actually happens. You might think it’ll only take a second to get the trailer and therefore only a few turns of the rope around the cleat should be sufficient. You’d be sadly mistaken however, as it only takes a moment or two for your boat to drift out of reach and for you to become the laughing stock of the boat slip.
8 Dragging your outboard across the concrete slab of the boat ramp. Again you’re laughing it off, thinking, ‘I’m certainly not that dim’. But again you’d be surprised at how frequently skippers are left redfaced after forgetting to lift their drive unit when they load the boat onto the trailer, consequently leaving a neat little furrow in the ramp and denting your pocket as much as your ego.
7 Lost at sea. If you should get lost, don’t tell anyone about it afterwards because you’ll be the butt of a fair amount of jokes. The fact of the matter is there are simply no excuses in this day and age. With the petrol prices being what they are in South Africa at the moment, if you can afford to fill up your boat’s tank, you can purchase a GPS unit or a decent map. If you’re silly enough not to, you probably deserve to wander around the ocean for a bit, burning up the bucks that should’ve gone into buying that GPS!
6 Docking for dummies. Perhaps you just purchased your dream boat and plan on taking your new lady friend out for an impressive, romantic day on the dam; before you do, learn how to dock your boat properly! You are almost guaranteed to cartoonish, but believe it or not, this still happens. Make sure that anchor line is securely fastened or at some point or another you will have to look on as your fancy new anchor takes a plunge over the bow, never to be seen again.