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High Tech Boating: Do You Need It?

In this day and age, it seems like everything involves advanced technology and a slew of electronic devices. Modern boating is no exception. Every boat owner seems to want the “latest and greatest” boating devices. Some even buy their boat with all the “bells and whistles” included. But do you really need high tech boating? Not really.

Low Tech Boating Lasted for Centuries

Keep in mind that low tech boating lasted for centuries before electronic devices were ever invented. In those days, boat owners managed to travel on rivers, lakes, and even the open ocean just using visual landmarks. Later on,

a boat compass or boat navigation chart could be found on a lot of vessels, but that was about it.

Low Tech Boating Basics

If you have a small boat and aren’t planning to go far from shore, high-tech boating is definitely not necessary. Even if you have a larger boat, it is possible to take a page from the past and have a low tech boat trip. But you should keep the following boating safety precautions in mind:

  • It’s best to know the area you plan to go to well. Your trip will be easier if you can identify landmarks like islands.
  • Notify others that you are going there and when you can expect to be back.
  • Check the weather report before putting your boat in the water.
  • Take a boat compass and navigation charts with you.
  • Always have a backup plan. For example, you can take a two-way radio or a cellular phone with you, but just don’t use them unless you have an emergency.

Boat Navigation and
Travel Tips for the Low Tech Boat Owner

You can often use your surroundings to navigate, even out in the middle of open water. The position of the sun or the stars is your best guide, aside from your navigation charts. You can also look to the creatures around you for tips, especially the birds. A lot of birds can indicate land nearby, while birds seeming to leave the area in a hurry can sometimes indicate bad weather ahead.

In populated areas, you can also use things like boat channel markers to your navigational and boat safety advantage. Passing ships or the lack thereof can give you a clue about your current circumstances as well. For instance, another boat’s smokestack can give you an indication of wind direction and air pressure. Not only that, but if you’re seeing no boats in an area that should be populated then you may be off course, or other boats may have gone to port because of an upcoming storm.

Be Sure to Keep an Eye on Your Boat Fuel Levels

Last, but not least, boat fuel is important for all boaters, but it’s especially important for low tech boaters. You have to watch your fuel levels. Most experienced modern boating enthusiasts bring enough boat fuel that a third of it covers going out and a third covers coming back. The last third is for any sort of emergency you may encounter. If you aren’t going out and coming back, but rather going from point A to point B, you should also bring extra boat fuel, just in case things don’t go as planned. That way your low tech boating trip won’t leave you stranded at sea.


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