If you’re interested in taking up sailing, just learning the basics can give you an advantage in piloting a small boat of your own. By understanding some of these basic concepts, you’ll know what areas to concentrate on to sharpen your sailing skills.

Learn the Language

As with any skill, sailing comes with its own terminology. Even things that sound familiar take on a whole new meaning in relation to boats and sailing. For instance, learning the names assigned to the different parts of the boat will help you understand your instructors and your fellow sailing friends.

Learn to Navigate

This is one of the first things you’ll learn in any sailing course. Not only is it one of the most basic areas of study in sailing, but it’s also the most important. Without learning navigation, you won’t be able to change course or interpret the meanings of the buoys and markers in the water. You’ll also learn how to identify which vessel has the right of way and how to set a course.

Learn About Safety

There is more to know than when to wear your life preserver and where the fire extinguisher is located. A good safety course can help you remain calm in any emergency by training you on the proper ways to handle life-threatening events. Learn what to do if someone falls overboard, has a heart attack, or injures  themselves.

Learn How to Handle Your Vessel

While getting the feel for your boat on the open sea may be comparatively easy, maneuvering in close quarters is another story altogether. It’s important to know how to depart and approach a dock, so you can do so without damaging your boat, the dock, or another vessel. Otherwise, you could be held liable for the costs associated with repairing those damages.

Learn to Tie Knots

There are a number of reasons it’s important to learn basic knot tying skills. While it’s not necessary to know every knot by heart, you’ll want to know which knots can be adjusted and which ones are more permanent. This will be useful in docking your boat, raising a flag, and securing your sails.

By taking a comprehensive training course, you’ll be better prepared to take your new boat out on the water. Even though you may be in a hurry to hit the waves, going out unprepared can lead to disaster. Instead, take the time to understand the rules and skills associated with sailing your first boat.