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Spend summer on the water: 5 tips for boating responsibly

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(BPT) - Nothing beats summer days spent on the water. Looking to get your feet wet? There are plenty of ways to get on the water whether you own a boat or are just getting started. Boating has seen a surge in popularity as millions of Americans prioritize experiences, outdoor recreation and work-life balance.

Being on the water provides freedom to explore and is one of the most fun, relaxing ways to escape stress on land. Plus, there is a scientific connection between water and happiness — it has a positive impact on psychological, emotional and behavioral health.

Whether you’re a newcomer or an experienced captain navigating best practices, remember boating should be fun, not intimidating. Understanding basic skills and passenger etiquette will boost your confidence and help create a safer environment to allow for an enjoyable, stress-free day on the water.

“Spending time on the water with loved ones away from all the distraction on land is one of the best ways to decompress and create lasting memories,” said Ellen Bradley, senior vice president of Discover Boating. “Before stepping on board or taking the helm, it’s a good idea to brush up on the safety essentials. There are a variety of educational resources available to not only ensure the safety of those on board but also protect other boaters so everyone can enjoy a fun day on the water.”

Discover Boating is a one-stop resource for all things boating, from safety and education articles, maintenance checklists and boating destinations to finding your dream boat, locating verified dealerships in your area, and more.

Below are five tips from Discover Boating to improve your nautical know-how to ensure the best possible experience on (and off) the water.

1. Watch a video. View Discover Boating’s new Boating Safety Basics Video Series, Presented with Progressive Insurance for expert tips to prepare for your captain duties and be the best boat guest including fueling best practices, proper use of navigation lights, trailering techniques and safe seating tips.

2. Take a class. Sign up for a boating lesson to hone your powerboating, sailing or watersports skills by mastering the basics while having fun along the way. On-water training courses, watersports camps, youth boating programs and more are offered across the U.S.

3. Visit a boat show. Boat shows are an ideal place to immerse yourself in the boating lifestyle and provide a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with — and shop — a variety of boat dealers and marine product companies all under one roof. Most boat shows also offer educational opportunities whether you’re a seasoned skipper looking to improve your skills or a new boater looking for tips on everything from boating safety to navigation and boat operation. Find a boat show in your area.

4. Look for the seal of approval. When shopping for a boat, whether at a boat show, online or at a dealership, check to make sure it is NMMA Certified. NMMA Certified boat and trailer manufacturers have been independently inspected to ensure they meet strict industry standards for safety and construction, as well as all federal regulations. Look for the NMMA Certified sticker near the helm of a boat.

5. Preserve your boat with proper maintenance. Similar to cars, there are a few areas that require regular maintenance by the owner, and a few areas that require maintenance at routine intervals, which most leave to the professionals. Prepare a boat maintenance checklist that covers everything from engine needs to cleaning to electrical systems to ensure your boat has a long lifespan.

Enjoy your next boating adventure and be sure to use the social media hashtag #SeeYouOutHere to share your favorite moments on the water.

Visit DiscoverBoating.com for safety tips, storage options, boat shopping tools, how-to’s for getting on the water and more.