Top 3 Gifts or Purchases for a NEW Boater
Nov 03, 2019
Here are the Top 3 Gifts for a NEW Boater
If I think back to the days when we were new to boating, what would have been the most useful products that someone could have recommended for us to purchase or receive as a gift?
Here are my choices and why.
- Communication System - an electronic hands-free full-duplex communication system to help us communicate in stressful situations
Boating can be very stressful in certain situations like anchoring, docking, and even leaving the dock. Many factors come into play, such as wind speed and direction, current, tide, and other boats. Communication is critical at these times to ensure that the helms-person is communicating with the other crew members on deck. Yes, you can try to use hand signals, but many times you might not be able to see the other person, the hand signals get crossed, or there isn't time to do the hand signal. Being able to communicate by voice makes life so much easier. You can speak in a normal voice without yelling and quickly ask the other person to do what you need them to do.
It is vital to have a communication system that is full-duplex, which means there are no buttons to push, and that there is no delay due to a voice-activated system. A full-duplex system allows both of your hands to be free doing other things and ensures that whatever is said is heard by all the others with a headset. It is also essential to have a volume control on each headset so each person can adjust it as needed to be able to hear. If it is a very windy day, you may have to turn up the volume so you can listen to the voice on the headset. It is also a good idea to have a system that has noise cancellation built into the system. The boating communications systems are fondly known as "Marriage Savers." These communication systems are also fantastic as we age since our hearing might not be as good as it used to be.
In the past, we have used an Eartec Simultalk 24G system, but unfortunately, we dropped one of the radios into the water. We currently use the Sena Expand headset system on our boat. We would also recommend My Team Talks or the Eartec UltraLITE systems. You can check out our Boating Communication Systems Comparison document for more information.
- Docking Pole - to help with docking situations
Docking a boat is one of the most stressful maneuvers when boating. If you don't get it right, you can do a lot of damage to your boat or someone else's, the dock, and even have a crew member get hurt. It can be challenging to get close enough to the dock when the wind is blowing in the opposite direction. Many times there is no one there to help with your docking lines. You can only rely on you and your crew to tie the boat up safely. Practicing this maneuver does help, but there are so many variables that it is hard to practice in all conditions. We all know how other boater's love to watch others bring their boat into the dock since it can be very entertaining.
We would have loved to have had a Landing Loop Docking Pole on our boat when we first started. You can easily take your existing docking line, create a loop in the docking line, put it on the Landing Loop, extend the pole over a cleat or pilon and pull the docking pole back towards you. Your line is now attached to the dock or pilon without having had to jump off of the boat. The docking pole extends your reach by about ten (10) feet. You can now easily pull your boat closer to the dock with the docking line in a controlled manner. There are docking occasions when you bring your boat in by yourself, or you are single-handing, and the Landing Loop Docking Pole would be handy.
You can find more information about the Landing Loop Docking Pole here.
- Good lighting - needed whether we are on deck or in the cabin.
When you are on your boat at night, it is crucial to have the right type of lighting. If you are staying out on the water past dark or are planning on sleeping overnight on the boat, your lighting options are essential. When coming back to your mooring or dock at night, you need to have a good spotlight to see the other boats and your mooring or slip. If you are walking around on deck, you need to have lighting to be able to see all of the obstacles that may trip you up. It is also essential to have the right lighting in the cabin. You want the lights to be bright enough to see what you are doing or find what you are looking for without feeling around in the dark.
LED lighting is the most efficient. Having the lights be rechargeable by Solar is also a nice feature. Having the lights installed where you need them is vital. If this is not possible, then having a portable light is essential. Another nice feature is to have a cockpit light that comes on at dusk, so when you come back to your boat in the dark, it will be easier to tell which vessel is yours.
Check out some good lighting options here.