A Newcomers Guide to Boating
Gearing Up For Your Next Adventure
Getting a new boat is an experience filled with excitement and fun. Oh, the places you'll go! The daydreaming about itineraries and activities with friends and family tends to begin even before the boat's engines are turned on.
But before you drop those throttles down and head out toward the horizon, it's wise to take an inventory of what boat essentials you'll need on board.
Overview of Marine Electronics for New Boaters
This article provides an overview of the most popular marine electronics offered by West Marine. When evaluating a prospective electronics purchase, features to consider include ease of operation, product reliability and the skill level required for installation.Learn More
Boating Basics: Trailering
If you are new to trailer boating, backing a boat down a launch ramp under the critical, impatient gaze of more experienced boaters can be unnerving. In this article, Miguel provides some useful advice and tips to help you build confidence and enjoy a safe trailering experience.Learn More
Recommended Must Haves For The New Boater
Floating Locator Electronic SOS Beacon KitShop product
Avoid the hassle of replacing pyrotechnic flares by carrying a USCG approved electronic distress signal instead. This model by Orion is visible for up to three nautical miles and comes with an orange distress flag to satisfy daytime distress signal requirements as well.
70 Qt. Premium Marine CoolerShop product
Whether you need it to keep your catch or your drinks cold, our Premium Marine Cooler can handle it. With up to 10 days of ice retention, 70 qt capacity, 316-grade stainless-steel hardware, and a refrigerator-grade gasket, it's an excellent addition to your boat.
Staying Safe On The Water
Shop our complete selection of boat safety gear. At a minimum, you need to meet US Coast Guard requirements for marine safety. Required safety equipment includes personal flotation devices like life jackets or other PFDs. Some boats must carry throwable flotation such as buoyant cushions, life preserver rings and horseshoe buoys. Boats must carry a sound producing device. Examples include horns and whistles.
Regulations require most boats carry visual distress signals. These include aerial flares and handheld flares. For going offshore, we suggest SOLAS flares. Strangely enough, you are not required to carry an EPIRB or a PLB. We recommend that you do.
Ten Safety Tips for New Boaters
For those who are new to boating and even for experienced "salts", we've compiled ten tips related to enjoying yourself safely on your boat. All of these tips involve taking responsibility for the safety of yourself, your boat and your crew.Learn More
U.S. Coast Guard Required Equipment for Recreational Vessels
New boats normally include the gear you need to meet minimum U.S. Coast Guard requirements. While you're newly commissioned boat might be legally ready for service, we suggest that there may be some additional items to consider before you cast off.View Website
Know Before You Go
All kinds of boats elicit romantic notions of afternoons spent on a breezy bay, hardcore racing , historical re-enactment on tall ships, distance cruising to exotic shores or fishing for the big catch – and all these visions are correct. Because sail and power boats today can do vastly different things. See below resources to plan and make sure your are ready for the next adventure.
The West Advisor® has been a trusted source for technical boating information since we published our first Master Catalog in 1987.
Based on experience gained from thousands of miles of boating on a wide variety of craft, building and maintaining power and sail vessels and fixing stuff on our own boats.Go to West Advisor
Life is Better with a Boat! We believe that boating is for everyone. Our goal is to help people like you get started in boating (we want to help you let your inner boater out).
We do that by sharing information on the benefits of boating, tips and advice on how to choose and buy a boat, boating activities and where to go boating.Go to Discover Boating Site
The water is open. And it's time to leave stress in our wake.
With Take Me Fishing, you'll find all the information you need to learn, plan, and equip for a day on the water.Go to Take Me Fishing
America's Boating Club® is for all types of boaters – novice or experienced, in coastal or inland waterways. We bring boaters together to improve their skills, make connections, or just enjoy time together.
Our boating courses and seminars are just the beginning – beyond the classroom a world of boating fun awaits!Go to America's Boating Club
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is an innovative leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating.
The Foundation provides educational outreach directly to boaters and supports partner organizations nationwide.Go to BoatUS Foundation
Founded in 1958, the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) serves as a national catalyst for developing a safe boating culture by providing educational resources, outreach programming, and training opportunities for industry partners and the boating community to influence safe, secure, and responsible boating.Go to National Safe Boating Council