10 New Year Resolutions For Boaters

New Year Resolutions

Are you tired of making the usual boring New Year resolutions that you never keep, such as not drinking so much, giving up smoking, going on yet another diet, being a nicer person? Instead why don’t you focus your attention on your boat? Here are some suggestions which might get you thinking along the right lines.

1. Buy a new boat

What better time to think of buying a new boat than in the dark, dull days of winter when you can’t or don’t fancy battling with wind, rain and cold out on the water. TheYachtMarket has a wealth of boats for sale to help you choose your dream vessel. Even if your bank account doesn’t run to this extravagance you can still browse through the multitude of possibilities just in case you win the lottery.

2. Do a refurb

If you can’t afford a new boat this year, why not refurbish your old one? A new lick of paint or varnish, some new soft furnishings in the cabin and your tired old boat will take on a new lease of life.

3. Keep on top of maintenance

Don’t wait for the glorious spring weather we are due this year to do your maintenance jobs, which have been building up for the last few months. By then you will want to be out on the water, not up to your eyes in bilge water and oil. You may not feel like it, but take advantage of the winter days of January and February to show your lonely, laid-up-for-winter boat that you have not forgotten about her. Give her a little TLC so that once the longer days and warmer temperatures arrive you can sail away into the sunset secure in the knowledge that she won’t let you down.

4. Be more adventurous

Plan to be more adventurous with your cruising this year. It’s so easy to just visit your favourite, well loved venues, but there are always pastures new which may be just as interesting. This is an ideal time, while you are whiling away the long, dark evenings, to get out those charts and pilot books and plan some new routes.

5. Introduce someone to boating

I’ll always remember taking a farmer friend on a very windy weekend’s sailing in the Solent. We had to stay in the confines of Southampton Water on the first day because the wind was so strong, but he never stopped smiling. You can get such a lot of pleasure sharing your passion with someone else and you never know, you may just introduce them to a sport they will continue with for the rest of their lives.

6. Treat yourself

There is bound to be something for your boat that you’ve put off buying because it’s too expensive, or you don’t really need it if you’re brutally honest. Maybe this is the year to indulge yourself and your boat.

7. Use your boat

I used to sail regularly from the Hamble River and the start of each voyage took me past the hundreds of boats sitting forlornly on their moorings, the same ones month after month. I wondered whether they were ever taken out for a spin, or whether they just served as floating hotels, something to impress friends and a good venue for a cocktail party. What a waste! A boat is for using, taking out on the water, where she becomes alive, not imprisoned on a pontoon.

8. Become a less impatient skipper

We’ve all heard the skipper who continually bellows at his crew with his, “slow down”, “go to starboard”, “more to port”, “look behind you, you fool”. My sailing started on Flotilla holidays where the crew were masters of hand signals, never shouting or getting intolerant, but quietly teaching and building the confidence of novice sailors. I’m sure they were often irritated by our incompetence but they rarely showed it. Just make sure that every one on your boat understands what your signals mean and practice them before landing up in an emergency situation.

9. Share out the jobs on your boat

It’s easy to stick to the jobs you’re good at, or have been carrying out for years, but sharing and swapping tasks is not only good for keeping the interest of your crew and helping them to develop, but also may save your skin if you have an emergency and cannot use your usual crew member or even if you yourself are incapacitated. On many boats it is only the owner/skipper who steers the boat into a mooring, or there may be those on board who do not know how to use the radio, let alone make a Mayday call. It takes time to let crew members practice new skills and they may take a bit of persuading to have a go, but it will be worth it in the long run. Remember that if someone is going to fall overboard, it is far more likely to be the crew member who is up at the bow doing all the jobs, rather than the one who stays below reading the paper or sits securely in the cockpit, but that person may be the one who has to take over in an emergency.

10. Find a new mooring for your boat

We all know how expensive boat moorings are, but have you considered moving to a less costly one. Obviously factors such as location, facilities on offer, ease of access etc. need to be taken into account, but the start of a new year may be the ideal time to research new venues. As well as saving you money, which can then be spent on improving your boat, it may also open up a completely new cruising area for you to enjoy.

May the winds and tides be with you and have a very happy boating year!

Author – Dee White

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