Tom’s Tips for Traveling My Way

By Tom Neale, 1/9/2009

  1. Many people today are accustomed to the car GPS telling them exactly where to go. It’s like you don’t need a clue about what you’re doing. They then make the same assumptions as to GPS usage when they’re on their boat. This is a serious mistake. Being on the water is totally different than following highways. On the boat you still need to check in with your paper charts, note your lat/long on paper, and exercise prudent seamanship, which includes ancient as well as modern techniques of navigation. But hey, on a boat this is fun.

  2. Conversely to what many people suppose, while traveling in the ICW or in the ocean is much nicer than highway travel, it does require careful attention to the operation of the boat and its systems and to navigation.

  3. Unlike what many feel that they can do with a car, you can’t just get in, turn the key, and drive off in a boat. If you operate your boat without good training and skill development, you’re likely to have serious troubles.

  4. Unlike car travel, with a boat you have to assume and factor in delays. While you may have to wait for an hour so two on the highway because of a traffic backup, you may have to wait for days or much longer when traveling on the water. These delays can be caused by weather, boat breakdowns, or bridge breakdowns and other factors. Most of them will be beyond your control.

  5. Adjust your schedule and your psyche to match this reality. If Uncle Harry is scheduled to meet your boat in Charleston in two weeks, tell him, “it’s a boat, and we may not be there in time.” Then relax