A boat is a small vessel used for fishing, transport or travel. It is propelled by human power through the use of an oar or paddle, by the wind through the use of a sail or by a petroleum motor engine.

Short voyages on boats are very popular, especially for fishing and water sports like water-skiing and diving. Boating can include motor boating, jet boating, motorized rafting, canoe trips, sailing, kayaking, paddle sports, scenic floats, tubing, whitewater rafting, drift boats and dory trips.

Each year, an estimated 74 million Americans enjoy the pleasures of recreational boating. Public parks, lakes, and rivers provide many boating opportunities and may offer coastal and river-front scenery.

Boating can be as easy as relaxing in a boat or as rigorous as paddling the Arkansas River in a kayak. If you do not own a boat, there are many opportunities to rent one. Licensing, fees and seasonal restrictions may vary from site to site and details on these can be found from individual sites.

Rules and Guidelines

When boating, littering should always be avoided. Consider taking along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting trash so that it can be deposited in the proper trash receptacle. Always use proper dumping stations.

Respect the legal requirements, rules and guidelines set out by local authorities. Make sure that you operate the correct type of watercraft permitted in that area. Check with your destination ahead of time to make sure that the boat, canoe, or other watercraft you plan to use is allowed. Pay attention to local procedures and cautions for cleaning your watercraft after you leave the water so that you don't facilitate the spread of nuisance species such as the Zebra Mussel to the next body of water you may visit with your boat. Don't operate a boat or watercraft in areas where they are not permitted as these areas have been declared "off limits" to watercraft to protect wildlife, vegetation, or for your safety.

Boating can be dangerous. A number of precautions should be taken before boating. Wearing a personal floatation device (pfd) and making sure that passengers wear theirs is an important safety precaution whenever going out on a boat. If operating a houseboat, be careful of carbon monoxide build-up around the boat. Obey the posted speed limits and wake warnings. Do not operate watercraft on unauthorized waterways. Never consume alcohol while operating a watercraft. Consider brining along extra safety items such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cellphone or radio.

Learning to Sail

Learning to sail is not difficult. At first it will seem difficult and complex, but you will soon find out, it's not that difficult. But like driving a car, there are rules to learn, techniques to train. And this is best done through a good sailing school.