As we saw in our Darwin Awards for Boaters and in Seamanship Disasters: 3 Stupid Ways to Sink Your Boat, a lack of brain-power—or a lack of attention—can lead to some pretty unfortunate situations on the water. Join senior editor Lenny Rudow in this short video, and see three more stupid mistakes boaters make all the time—so that you know better.


As we said in the video, this is merely a partial list of the waterborne errors people make on a daily basis. Actually, it’s a stretch to even call it partial. There’s no limit to the bone-headedness of boaters, and try as we might, most of us are bound to do one or more of the following things sooner or later—if we’re not aware of how bad these moves are. Hopefully, by learning about them now boaters won’t:

  • Cruise too fast for the conditions – That can damage the boat and injure passengers.

  • Anchor from the stern – If a big wave comes along, it can roll over the transom far easier than the bow.

  • Turn without first looking astern – You never know when someone’s overtaking your boat from behind.

  • Cut close behind a fishing boat – You might snag their lines in your propeller or on your keel, not to mention scaring the fish they’re trying to catch.

  • Cut too close in front of a sailboat – A series of powerboat wakes actually slows them down, and especially when racing, the sailboaters don’t appreciate that.

  • Cruise through rough seas with an open cabin hatch – Unless you want to douse the interior of your boat, this isn’t a great idea. And in very rough seas, it can be a danger since significant amounts of water can flow into the cabin.

  • Run out of fuel – Need we say more?

  • Launch without putting in the drain plug – A classic move.

  • Captain a boat while under the influence – Another classic, but one that can land you in jail—or worse.

  • Run jumper cables between two boats – Sparks in a bilge are a very, very bad thing.

  • Drive a small outboard-powered boat without attaching the kill switch cord to yourself – If you end up in the drink and didn’t attach that cord, your boat will just keep going and going.

Yes, the list could go on and on. There’s no limit to the mistakes people make, and while no one’s perfect, some of us are worse than others about doing these sorts of things. So be careful, stay sober, and make sure your day of boating isn’t ruined by some silly snafu.