When most people buy a yacht, they envision days spent out on the water with their family, floating along with Jimmy Buffet music in the background. However, if you go out on the water unprepared, the difference between your expectations versus your reality may be stark.

It does not matter if you are the captain of a 30’ cruiser or a 100’ mega yacht; boating of any kind requires finely honed navigational skills, extensive training, and plenty of experience. Failing to spend time mastering just one of these areas could turn your yachting daydream into a nightmare.

Boating should be an enjoyable departure from your everyday life. With the help of these five tips for new boat owners, it will be.

Practice with a Friend

Before you dive headfirst into boating and take off into the ocean alone, make sure you put the hours into knowing exactly what you are doing. Start with an instructor or a more experienced boater friend first.

If you do not know where to start, check the internet to see if there are any boating clubs nearby. They would likely provide support and training for yacht-enthusiasts much like yourself. Finding one should not be too hard in South Florida.

Head Out on the Water

When searching for someone to help navigate you through boating, look for an opportunity to actually get out on the water for some hands-on experience. It does not matter what type of body of water it is: a lake, local reservoir, or sheltered bay will do the trick.

Once you are on the water, you will be able to get a proper introduction to the boating basics. This includes everything from yacht safety, wind awareness, steering, boating terminology, and more.

Get the Proper Documents

Consider this one of the most important tips. Failing to apply for the necessary license and registration could leave you severely regretting it later.

Figure out what paperwork you will need for the type of boating you will be doing and where you plan on doing it, along with how much it will cost to get it. The local boating authority will be able to steer you in the right direction of applying for the correct license.

Get to Know Boating Tech

Since your yacht is technically a mechanical device, it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with all of its fishing, navigation, and safety gadgets. Some navigational tools you should know how to operate aboard a boat include autopilot systems, GPS receivers, depth sounders, voyage data recorders, and pilot cards, among others.

Nowadays, safety equipment is tech-enabled as well, such as floating waterproof torches, marine radios, and sound signals. Regardless of what your setup is like on your boat, make sure you get to know how everything works on board.

Make a Checklist

Prepare way before you head out on the water. This means having a pre-departure checklist so you are equipped to handle anything that comes your way out on the ocean. This way, you will guarantee that no safety rules have been overlooked.

Examples of items to add to your checklist include first aid items, flashlights, and supplies of food and water. We are willing to bet that you do not need one more thing to carry, so create a checklist to keep on your phone.

Now that you understand these five tips for new boat owners, it is time to find the perfect yacht to take out on the water. See what yachts and boats we have for sale here at The Advantaged.