Some of my favorite memories are on the water. At a young age fishing with my grandfather or towing my kids around Lake Conroe safety has been a priority. At the age of 12 I was taught boating safety at a local boating class. It was located at a local marina and the safety class was a hands on class in the water. After the class I was allowed to take the boat out by myself, the freedom was amazing and I felt confident in my boating abilities. Recently I took another boating class online, nice to see not much has changed since my first class was ingrained. Lake Conroe is a fun and beautiful lake but not everyone has taken the Boating safety class. The best thing I learned was how to avoid the untrained boaters who haven't put in the time and effort to keep all their passengers safe. Boating safety courses are not required on Lake Conroe if born prior to 9-1-1993, but any Lake Conroe official would agree that it's the right thing. If you own a boat or just renting for the day if you're going boating on Lake Conroe you should take a boating safety class or a refresher. I've made a list of the most important things you'll learn in a safety class.
1) Required safety equipment and what you need to have on your boat before you start the motor. This is number one if you need a throw cushion or a fire extinguisher you better have one. I've been stopped numerous times on Lake Conroe, if you're missing required safety equipment they will ticket you.
2) Driving a boat versus a car is entirely different. You have currents, wind and no lanes to stay in. Fighting wind and currents can be a challenge if you don't understand how to manage them. Understanding the water flow and wind speed will improve docking and trailering your boat. 3) Learn how to tie a knot and more importantly what knots will hold. A good knot doesn't mean much, but a bad knot will could cost you your boat, or a swim to chase it. When docking there is a lot of confidence that could be had when you can tie a proper knot.
4) If you don't know what a bouy or channel markers purpose is, you need to. Running aground can be a very embarrassing and costly occurrence. I had a coworker of mine go outside of the markers and stuck a boat so bad it took 7 hours and a couple thousand to get it pulled off the sandbar, not to mention the years of getting teased for not being a safe driver. Know what the markers and why. 5) Using a competent GPS is the best for keeping track of where youre at and where you've been, but it's not always available. Understanding how to read maps and charts is still a very valuable skill to understand and master.
6) Who has the right away. This knowledge will give you the confidence and understanding of where you should be in relation to other boaters. Lake Conroe gets pretty busy on the weekend and to an untrained boater it can get overwhelming and lead to poor decisions on the water.
7) When is the right time to use your horn or flares on Lake Conroe. This question is very important. Horns signals are very different in your boat than they are in your car or truck. 8) There are many little laws on Lake Conroe that need to be known. Everyone knows that drinking and driving on Lake Conroe is illegal, but did you know it's also illegal to hang feet over the bow while the boats in motion?
9) When it comes time to anchor your boat it's not as easy as plunking your anchor in the water. There's some head math and trajectories to consider. If not done properly you might need to swim after a drifting poorly anchored vessel. Anchoring the right way provides a great deal more enjoyment to the day and makes sure you stay off the rocks, shore or other hazards.
10) Knowing when to use your navigation and anchor lights is very valuable for safety, but it will also keep you from getting a ticket on Lake Conroe. If you think the red and green lights are nice boat decorations, you need to study up. Those lights are a beacon of safety at night, indicating direction so nighttime navigation is possible. Without them we are all docking up at dusk.
11) Last but certainly not least is parts of the boat. Bow and stern are the easy ones. Port and starboard are the 2 that tend to confuse people. There's a couple tricks I've learned through the years to help remember some nautical identifiers. My favorite identifier is Port and Left both are four letter words. The other has to do with memorizing what side the lights are on, Port is a red wine so the red light is on the port side. It's important to know these terms to be on the same page when discussing or describing vessel
Lake Conroe has provided me and my family with countless hours of enjoyment. I've fished, skied, tubed, wakeboard, surfed and just jumped in and floated on a lifejacket. I take a great deal of satisfaction in knowing I have done everything in my power to make my family and everyone around me as safe as possible. I hope to see you on Lake Conroe with your family enjoying everything it has to offer. Below I provided some helpful links to boating safety resources. Take the time to learn and together we can provide a safe and fun Lake Conroe. Thank you for reading and please share.
(This is the class I took. It's free to take the course. But if you were born since 9-1-1993 you would need to pay the $20 for your license.)
If You're looking to buy a new or used boat give me a call Nathan 936.3206.7478 or check out our site http://www.ronhooverconroe.com