With a new boating season upon us, the time comes to make plans for the year. But why not make it your aim to sail somewhere new this season?

One of the main attractions of boating is that it offers almost unlimited freedom. At any time, you have the ability to sail somewhere new, exploring undiscovered places both close to home and further afield. You can suit the adventure to the type of boating you do. Whether that’s a trip across Lyme Bay, the Channel or the Atlantic, there’s an attainable adventure waiting for you out there.

But to enjoy that adventure, you’ll need to do some careful planning. Here’s what we recommend:

1. Consult the map

Reading the pilot books and poring over charts is a good place to start when aiming to sail somewhere new. Small-scale planning charts and large-scale pilotage charts are both worth looking at to get a real sense of what incredible sights and features are on offer from the surrounding coast, as well as to identify potential hazards and bolt holes, of course.

2. Read the classics

A pilot book, such as Tom Cunliffe’s Shell Channel Pilot or the evergreen Reeds Almanac, is essential reading – not only to identify some stunning places to visit but to show you how to get there safely and what to do once you’re there. If secluded anchorages in Europe are more your thing, then books like Ken Endean’s Channel Havens or Peter Cumberlidge’s Secret Anchorages of Brittany are excellent accompaniments to your planning and dreaming sessions.

3. Kitting out your boat

Depending on how far your horizons stretch, you’ll need to get your boat ready for the trip in advance.

If it’s a trip to the other end of the Solent, then you’ll likely not need much new kit. If it’s a trip across the Channel, however, that can require more of a stretch – with life rafts and extra navigational aids such as AIS highly recommended.

If you’re heading along the British coast, then you might like to upgrade your flares, check your VHF is working and make sure the boat is well up together.

You’ll also need to make sure that any onboard Chartplotters have sufficient coverage – and buy a new chip if necessary to make sure you have the correct (and latest) charts installed. No one wants to sail somewhere new if they don’t have a good map or Chartplotter!

4. Check the rules

Regulations-wise, we’re lucky that the UK doesn’t demand qualifications for most coastal boating – but head abroad and you might find things are done differently. For instance, if you head inland on French waterways, you’ll need a CEVNI qualification for inland waterways.

In the Netherlands, you’ll need a holding tank for inland waters, and your VHF radio will need to be ATIS-enabled. The RYA publish some useful guides to cruising abroad, and they are well worth a look if you’re going foreign.

5. Ensure you’re insured

The final, and perhaps most important thing, is to take out or update your boat insurance. If you need some, Insure4Boats offers you a tailored quote with our Lowest Price Guarantee.

What’s more, the European Cover add-on will make sure you’re protected from Brest right across to the Elbe!

So, pick a destination, plan your adventure and head out with complete peace of mind thanks to Insure4Boats today.