Freshwater Boating Basics

Mercury Presents

Freshwater Boating Basics

Look around you. From rivers and streams to lakes and reservoirs, odds are you don’t have to go far to find a body of water worth exploring. And nothing adds to the adventure quite like exploring in your own boat. Our Freshwater Boating Basics series covers all the essentials you need to know to confidently begin your boating journey. Now, let’s get boating!



Safety & Weather


The first step in any great boating adventure is outfitting yourself with the supplies and knowledge you need to get out and back safely.

First Aid

Plan for the best. Prepare for the worst. A simple first-aid kit and some basic know-how will give you the peace of mind to explore.


Weather can be unpredictable, but you can trust our experts to help you navigate whatever conditions Mother Nature gives you.


We believe in better boating through smarter technology. These helpful devices actually make it easier to disconnect and enjoy the outdoors.

Trailering & Launching

At the Ramp

Great days on the water can begin at the ramp. Learn the easy steps to ready, launch and load your boat like a seasoned pro.

Towing a Boat

A trailerable boat is your ticket to explore waters near and far. Let us show you how to get to and from the water safely and with ease.

Stowing Gear

Short of buying a bigger boat, we’ll help you fit everything you must have plus everything you want to have along for fishing, tow sports and more.

Anchoring & Docking


Choosing the right anchor and following some basic guidelines will help you keep your boat in place for better fishing or more fun at the sandbar.


When it comes to docking, practice (and coaching) makes perfect. Our tips simplify the process, making docking easier in just about any conditions.

Tying Up a Boat

From quick, secure cleat hitches to perfectly placed spring lines, these tips will have you tying up your boat like a pro.

Operation & Navigation 

Basic Operation

Let’s get started! This video lays the boating groundwork with basic terminology and an overview of controls.

Trim, Tilt & Trim Tabs

Little adjustments to the trim and trim tabs can make a big difference in efficiency and the smoothness of your ride.

Basic Navigation

Understanding buoys, channel markers and other navigational aids is part of mastering the rules of the road on waterways, which is vital for safe navigation.



Be First-Aid Ready

Be First-Aid Ready

A well-stocked first-aid kit can be your ounce of prevention and your pound of cure. Stored in a waterproof container, it could prevent minor incidents from derailing your entire boating adventure.

Keep it Dry

Keep it Dry

Dry bags are invaluable for protecting important items on board your boat. Use them to store extra clothes, electronics, important paperwork and more.

Grab Your Gear

Grab Your Gear

Don’t forget your essentials: spare clothes, communication devices, headlamps with extra batteries, water, sun protection, personal flotation devices (PFDs) and any safety equipment required for where you boat.



Subscribe and Receive Our Digital Guidebook

We’re all about making boating even easier. When you subscribe to receive Mercury emails, we’ll send the latest news, tips and more straight to your inbox, starting with our new Digital Guidebook. It includes helpful boating checklists to get your on-water adventures started off right.

Explore the Mercury Dockline

The Mercury Dockline blog is the place to learn, explore and enjoy all things boating. Get expert advice to help you enjoy your favorite on-water activities and hear incredible stories about conservation, adventure and more. You can even sign up to have the latest Dockline stories and videos sent directly to your inbox.

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