Do you have even a basic knowledge of The Rules? Do you know what is meant by "The Rules"? Do you know which side of a bouy or marker to pass? Do you know basic engine maintenance
and operation? Do you know anything about safety
and the proper use of safety equipment
? if you dont or don't know for sure that you do, then you have some homework to do, particularly a study of The Rules. Otherwise you are a collision
waiting to happen, endangering nearby vessels and those unfortunate and unsuspecting souls in them. It is called pleasure boating
, not the game
for Power Squadron, for excellent beginning boating classes
that won't break your bank or overly tax your brain cells. This will arm you with the basics. You can't learn to sail in a day, anyway. You can learn the actual mechanics of sailing in a day, yeah. You can learn to make the boat
go somewhere, yeah. Maybe not efficiently and certainly not safely or reliably, but yeah. You can't learn how not to be a menace to those around you in a day or a week or a month. Well, okay, a month maybe, if you are motivated and hard working, sure. But not without some study.
Can you learn this on your own? Yeah, maybe. A structured course with classroom and practical exercise is far, far better. A knowledgeable and experienced mentor who will take you under his wing, possibly better.
If you are already quite knowledgeable on all the above mentioned topics, please ignore the above rant and have fun. Meanwhile get a cruising guide for your area. It will tell you everything you could ever want to know about how to get a small boat
up and down the coast in your area and how/where to provision, service
, stay for the night, transit locks or bridges, all that stuff. Like World Port Index and Coast Pilot combined but geared toward the small boat
sailor. Once underway, your VHF
can be a very good friend indeed. Hailing local boats vocally can be rewarding, too. You might be going where the other guy just left from, and he might know the area and know how to direct you to the goods and services you need as well as directions to good anchorages
and of local hazards to avoid.
If in doubt, wait a few days and see if someone local with time on his hands would be interested in helping you to learn your stuff. There might be some retired guy with time on his hands that would love to pass on some of what he spent a lifetime learning
, and wouldn't mind some time on the water
and maybe a few cold beers. Never know. Stranger things have happened.