Boating in the dark presents some inherent challenges that you’ll need to navigate if you’re going to make it a safe trip. While we recommend not boating after dark if you are uncomfortable or inexperienced, there are some tips you can follow to stay safe on the waters at night if you do decide to go out.
Here are some tips to help you overcome the challenges of boating at night from a company specializing in boat rentals in Venice, FL:
- Always have your gear ready: Even if you don’t plan on being out after dark, you should have after-dark equipment with you, just in case something unexpected happens. Always have an emergency flashlight or two, a bag of glowsticks, some night vision gear and anything else that could help improve your visibility at night.
- Dim your ambient light: All of the light on your boat actually reduces your ability to see past the bow, because your eyes will be automatically focused on the light that’s made available to them. Therefore, reduce the brightness of your lights, your chart plotter and any other devices you have on board so you can improve your night vision. It can help to keep a towel or something similar on hand that you can drape over objects and devices that just do not get dim enough for you at night.
- Go slow: It should be obvious, but you should always reduce your speed when visibility is limited, and that includes when you’re boating after dark. Even if you have full moonlight available, you should still go slower than you otherwise would during the daytime, just to be on the safe side.
- Try to avoid using the chart plotter: Even when the chart plotter is fully dimmed, looking at it can still temporarily obstruct your night vision. You can instead use your compass to get a good bearing on where you’re going.
- Stay in familiar areas: If you stay in familiar waters, you’ll have a better idea of the lay of the water and the kinds of obstructions or obstacles you might run into.
- Keep the headlights and spotlight off: Yes, even the headlights and spotlight are included in the lights you need to dim. While they’ll help you see clearly for a few dozen feet, they won’t really do much else for you. The glare they provide and the reduction of night vision they cause will make it so you won’t be able to see much past that. Those headlights are really only for docking, and the spotlights can be panned for a moment or two to find some reflective markers or other objects that can guide your way, but they shouldn’t be kept on.
- Don’t get distracted by the stars: The night sky is certainly beautiful, but you need to keep your attention on where you’re going and what you’re doing.
For more tips about night boating, or to arrange boat rentals in Venice, FL, contact Cool Breeze Boats and Jet Ski Rentals today.
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