BlogApril 2016

3 Tips to Pick the Best Online Boating Course

3 Tips to Pick the Best Online Boating Course

By Tom Keer

Apr 21, 2016

It's boating season, so if you didn't have time to study this winter take an online boating course.

So your winter got busy and you didn't get a chance to study up on your boating skills for spring. Thanks to the digital world, that's no longer a problem. And now that it's 'go time,' an online boating course or boater safety course is the perfect solution to get you ready for the season. Or shall I say, get you 'ship shape...?' Here's how.

  1. Begin with an honest assessment of your abilities. Take a few minutes and reflect about the times when you ran your boat and didn't feel confident. Did another boater cut you off in the channel, or did you have the right of way? Did you anchor your boat to hit the beach and return to find the bow close to the water due to the rising tide? Think about times you weren't comfortable and look for a course that suits your needs. Here are a few examples of courses that might help: State Safe Boating Course, Using a Marine Radio, Modern Marine Navigation, and Weather for Boaters. There's no harm in looking at a sky and not knowing a cloud formation; there is harm if it is a squall that threatens to swamp your boat.
  2. Rank the tutorials in order of your own comfort level. Time is short, so pick the tutorials or boater safety course that will have the most positive impact on your boating. Then, take it. As your time frees up, take more.
  3. Fail to plan, plan to fail. What does your 2016 boating season look like? Got an overnight trip planned? Maybe you want to travel through a series of locks and cruise from harbor to harbor? Specific skills like these can be easily mastered in an afternoon, and they'll raise your boating abilities to a new level.

Online boating courses offer so many options that range from general boating practices to specific plans. Pick one that will elevate your experience to a new level, and gain confidence for yourself and for your crew.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at