Getting into boating: A how-to guide for first timers
So, you’ve been thinking about getting out onto the water? We’ve all been there at some point, the call of the ocean is hard to resist…Humanity has been sailing for thousands of years, so whether brought about by natural instinct, a great story from a friend or one of your favourite films, you’ll probably get the boating bug at some point. Whatever has started you on your journey, getting out to sea can feel like a bit of a slog.
If you’ve never sailed before and don’t have any friends who are boaters, you’ll likely be wondering how to get into sailing – or generally how to get into boating – without much direction at all. That’s why we’ve put this guide together; we love boating and we want to encourage more and more people to join in with our favourite hobby. It’s a lot easier than you might think.
No need to join a club
Ten years ago, knowing how to get into boating was tough. It was expensive and time consuming, with wannabe boaters joining clubs they didn’t really want to, sometimes taking costly courses that they may not have even needed. Nowadays, boating really is an accessible hobby, and we’re here to help you get involved – no experience necessary. As time goes by Yachting and boating clubs of the world have found it harder to attract new members. When you’re looking at how to get into sailing, one of the last things you’ll want to do is enroll in an expensive yacht club with little to no direction.
While it’s true that some places offer taster days and that you’ll find a lot of like-minded people at just about any boat club, if you just want to start sailing, there really is no need to join one. Even if a club has a couple of boats that you can take out, you’ll have to contend with other members looking to use them too. Plus, you’ll have little to no power over the the type of boat you sail, and the location you sail it in.
Hire a skipper and Borrow a Boat
Now, we’re trying to be entirely unbiased, but we really do think that the best way for anyone to experience boating is to Borrow a Boat with us. If you’re wondering how to get into sailing but don’t want to dedicate a lot of time to learning the ropes, all you have to do is find your perfect boat in your perfect destination – all for the perfect price. Add a skipper to your charter and you’re good to go.
That’s correct – our boats are ideal for those of you who’ve never even set foot on a watercraft. With a skipper on board, you can get involved as much or as little as you like. To really make the most out of a skippered charter as someone with only an entry level interest in boating, ask your skipper if you can get involved. Skippers are almost always more than happy to show you the ropes and let you have a go at driving a boat on your own. Or you can just relax on top deck, whichever you prefer.
Don’t waste your time spending money and time at a club where you’re not in control. You’re much better off getting out there and borrowing a boat in a beautiful location and learning first hand whether it’s a hobby for you – without burning a hole in your pocket.
Take a RYA course
If getting behind the wheel on your first Borrow a Boat adventure awakens a boating spirit within you, then you’ll probably be keen to start sailing on your own. If this is the case, it’s time to take a RYA (Royal Yachting Association) course. With an RYA certification under your belt, you’ll be equipped with a huge range of skills that can allow you to charter a boat almost anywhere.
Contrary to the name, RYA courses won’t just teach you how to captain a sailing yacht; if hauling ropes and a seemingly infinite amount of knots isn’t for you, fear not. These courses can teach you to sail everything from a tiny sloop, to a high-end powerboat that’s guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. Really, no matter what you’re into, there will be an RYA course suited to exactly what you want to sail.
RYA courses start at around £200 and, if getting soaked by the grey spray of the Solent isn’t for you, they’re offered around the world. If you ask us, learning to sail the seas of somewhere like Croatia is far more pleasant. We recommend taking the Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses. Take the right RYA courses and you can be a fully-qualified bareboat skipper in no time at all. Get skipper-certified and no matter where you are in the world, you’ll be able to charter almost all of our boats entirely independently. And that’s what sailing’s all about.
If you enjoy sailing, you might be jumping at the chance to buy a boat as soon as possible, but you really don’t need to. What many new boaters don’t realise is that boats are expensive, and it’s not necessarily the initial cost that will break the bank. The costs of running a boat add up quickly and many owners, especially in the UK where we don’t exactly have ideal sailing conditions year-round, spend more time maintaining their boat rather than actually sailing it. As the old saying goes; the two happiest days in a boater’s life are the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it.
Quite simply, most of us just don’t have the time, money or resources to funnel into a brand new hobby. Back in the day, buying a boat would have been step one, but now there really is no need to throw yourself into the buying process early on – if you ever choose to buy a boat at all.
Whether you’re already a sailing addict or are just getting started – getting out on the water is easier than ever when you Borrow a Boat. Visit our locations page and start planning your sailing adventure.