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Follow this guide to stay safe while exploring new water.

A great part about owning boats is that you can explore new places. Whether you’re exploring new lakes from channels or trailering your boat several hours from where you typically boat, it’s important to be prepared. Before setting sail wherever your next adventure takes you, you’ll want to take the proper safety precautions to be ready for the day.  

Which is why you’ve ended up on this article. We’re here to help you prepare for any upcoming adventures. Keep reading to learn how to navigate new water safely. 


The best way to prepare for boating in a new place is to do plenty of research. Before you jump on your boat or in the truck, we recommend doing your research. Here are a few questions you should have answered by the end of your research: 

  1. Where are the shallow spots? 
  2. Are there any hazards such as sandbars, underwater trees, etc.? 
  3. Where are the no wake zones? 
  4. If applicable, where is the boat launch? 
  5. What specific laws or regulations are on this body of water?

Depth Map 

To answer some of these questions, we recommend checking out a depth map, or marine chart. Most public waterways will have this information for you. A depth map will allow you to see the depth changes, so you know where it’s safe to boat and where it’s not safe. 

DNR or Coast Guard Information 

Along with a depth map, the DNR or Coast Guard sometimes has even more detailed maps. These maps show hazards, no wake zones, and marinas. If you can find this information, it will help you better prepare for your upcoming adventure.  

Along with a depth map, you should review the laws and regulations. Laws and regulations vary based on the waterway, state laws, and federal laws. It’s always a good idea to research all the rules and regulations for your destination prior to heading there.  

Talk to Local Boaters 

The final part of the research process is to talk to those who know the waterway the best. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and steer you away from any unmarked hazards. Even if this is a quick conversation with a boater at the boat launch, it’s worth the extra step. It could save damage to your boat while also keeping everyone onboard safe.  


Following some thorough research, you’ll need to strategize a plan. This is especially necessary if you’re boating on a busy day such as the weekend or holiday. Plan and prepare a strategy for boating on the new body of water. 

Use Your Research 

Refer to all your research. Review the depth map and if possible, take a copy with you on your adventures. Know all the rules and regulations of the body of water. And ask a local boater about any local knowledge they may have. Pool this information together to create an educated plan.  

Safety Gear Checklist 

Before heading out for your adventure, make sure you have all the proper safety gear. This includes all the life jackets, throwable, fire extinguisher, and any other safety gear that is required. Plan on packing all of this by double checking that it’s all onboard before setting sail.  

Is Your Boat Up to Date for Maintenance? 

Whether you’re heading out for a normal cruise around the lake or out on a big adventure to a new place, your boats maintenance should be kept up. Making sure your boat is up to date for all maintenance will help to ensure smooth sailing and safety while on the water.  

You’re Ready for the Big Adventure 

With this guide, you’ll be more than prepared for boating on a new body of water. While following this guide, it’s also important to keep an eye on the weather while on the water. By checking the weather and strategizing before heading out on the water, you’ll be prepared to have the best day on the water. Enjoy your adventure on the water and always remember that safety is the number one priority on the water. 

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