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.

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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! Aug 24, 2018 at 21:39
  • The answers are going to be different for the major categories of boats - person-powered, wind-powered and motor-powered. Aug 24, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 at 15:36


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