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Assume I am completely naïve of boating concerns, that I know the following:

  • There are things that float and carry stuff across the water called boats.
  • A boat needs something to make it move. Some have motors, some catch wind in sails, some you move yourself with paddles.

What are the things I should know (or do, or get, etc.) before clumsily rushing into boating?

I don't know what I don't know, so please point me in the right direction.

A commenter has suggested that the answers would be different for the different types of boats. As such, I am making questions for the types outlined above, and answers here should be about generic information which applies to all boating in general (I assume there is a lot of overlap), and can link to those other questions as well. So see also:

Please treat this as a gateway for beginners who don't know what questions to ask to start with and as a lynch-pin to link together any other relevant Q&As on the site. In fact, linking in any other Q&As on the site which really should be read by the beginning boater would be great.

closed as too broad by paparazzo, Charlie Brumbaugh, Amine, Sue, Rory Alsop Aug 24 '18 at 22:11

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Hi Aaron! This is a good idea, but unfortunately, I don't think it fits the SE model of detailed individual questions seeking specific answers. The help center discourages questions which are generic, open-ended, vague, or too many questions at a time. Experience shows that people answer pieces (which has already happened here); answers get repetitive or lost; we don't know how to vote; long comment discussions happen; new users get confused. Splitting it up and linking to others would work. I could be wrong, and I mean no offense! – Sue Aug 24 '18 at 21:39
  • The answers are going to be different for the major categories of boats - person-powered, wind-powered and motor-powered. – DJClayworth Aug 24 '18 at 21:56
  • Hi Aaron - this is, unfortunately, waaaay too broad. In fact to fully answer it requires a course or a series of books. Please follow @Sue's advice. – Rory Alsop Aug 24 '18 at 22:12
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    @Aaron - the problem here isn't with what you want to know. It's because the SE framework makes it only work with single questions that can be answered, not with a group of questions. So I think your edit really helps... It is still broad though, so I think we need to look at a bit of further editing. – Rory Alsop Aug 27 '18 at 15:33
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    As an example, I used to teach the first stages of the RYA sailing school, and after a couple of weeks on the water, I would still count the sailors as beginners - even though we had taught them a pretty broad syllabus... – Rory Alsop Aug 27 '18 at 15:36

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