Four Reasons to Sign Up for Boating Lessons (And Where to Find Them)

Boat lessons are a terrific way to become a smarter, safer, and savvier boater. And when you sign up for boating lessons before getting out on the water, there are massive benefits. Keep reading to learn about those benefits and some organizations that offer boat captain lessons.

Four Benefits of Enrolling in Boating Lessons:

Boating season is almost here, so it’s the perfect time to sign up for boating lessons. Here are some reasons why you should enroll in boating or sailing lessons before hitting the water: 

1. Increase Water Safety

The biggest reason why captains take boat lessons is to boost their confidence and safety on the water. If you’re already on the water, figuring out how to properly operate your boat can be challenging, overwhelming, and downright dangerous. That’s why we recommend mastering basic boating skills — like docking, anchoring, boating safety, line handling, disaster skills, etc. — before ever taking the helm.  

Read Next: Boating Education and Training

2. Receive Discounted Boat Insurance

Some boat insurance companies offer boaters better deals when they take boating lessons beforehand.

Due to this, you should consider enrolling in boat lessons before applying for your boat insurance. You may qualify for a premium discount on your policy. 

 3. Familiarize Yourself with the Waterway

Just like roads and highways, there are specific rules of the water that every boater must follow. When you take boating lessons, you can rest assured that you’ll be operating as you should.  


Here are some rules you can expect to learn during boating lessons: 

  • How to avoid boating too close to other boats. 
  • How to find the channel and when to use it.  
  • How to cross or overtake other vessels in the water. 
  • How to operate a vessel at a safe and controlled speed.

4. Discover Boats You Like

If you haven’t purchased your own vessel, taking boating lessons is a fantastic way to test-drive potential options. Not only do some classes familiarize you with various boat types, they can provide a first-hand opportunity to determine which ones suit your needs and lifestyle. 

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Top Boating Lessons

Ready to enroll in boating courses for this upcoming season? Here are our top picks: 

1. Boatsetter Academy

This free, introductory two-hour boating course equips new boaters with the boating skills needed to feel comfortable and confident at the helm. 

Under the guidance of an experienced captain, participants take the helm for the first time. Then, they put their knowledge immediately into practice, using proper boating techniques and operations. 

Boatsetter Academy courses are offered in the following cities: 

  • Los Angeles, California
  • San Diego, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • New York City, New York
  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington

Learn more about Boatsetter Academy.

2. BoatUS Foundation

BoatUS has a wide array of boater education courses that range from free boat safety courses to on-water training and everything in between.

These lessons are fun, affordable, and easy ways to develop boating skills. Additionally, BoatUS partners with many marinas, boat shows, and other organizations nationwide. Therefore, the classes are incredibly accessible no matter where you’re located. 

Learn more about BoatUS Foundation.

3. US Sailing

US Sailing offers certification courses in everything from catamarans to cruising and chartering resources. Additionally, they provide both on-water and online class options. And if you’re still debating whether learning to sail is the right activity for you? Their First Sail Experience program will help you clear the air.  

Learn more about US Sailing.

4. The National Safe Boating Council 

The National Safe Boating Council has everything you need to feel confident, competent, and safe on the water. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice boater, intermediate paddler, or seasoned powerboater. This program boasts ample educational opportunities to increase your skill level and knowledge.

Learn more about The National Safe Boating Council.

5. America’s Boating Club

Our final pick for the best boat lessons is America’s Boating Club. This nationally recognized educator for recreational boaters has various resources designed to make you feel more confident on the water.

It offers a full range of boating education for both novice and experienced boaters. And the course load includes both comprehensive courses and short seminars about topics such as:

  • Seamanship
  • Boat handling
  • Navigation
  • Boat systems
  • Maintenance
  • Weather
  • Sailing
  • Cruise planning

Learn more about America’s Boating Club.

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