There’s nothing quite like being out on the water at sunset and beyond. Watching the sun drop below the horizon of the water while out on your boat is truly a great way to unwind. As the wind dies down and the waters calm, boating at night can be incredibly peaceful, but it can also present a few additional risks.

Boating at night is a lot like driving at night, however, there are some extra precautions you should be aware of before taking the boat out after dusk.

Slow your speed

While you might be comfortable going a certain speed during the day, boating at night is a different story. There could be boaters who have let the time slip away and aren’t properly illuminated, or at the very least, there could be debris or logs that could damage your boat.

Also read: Can you sail a sailboat alone?

Use your ears and an extra pair of eyes

When visibility diminishes with daylight, it’s time to start using your ears to get a better feel for your surroundings. Turn the stereo down and try to hush any distracting conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask your passengers to help you keep an eye out. An extra set of eyes can go a long way toward reaching dock safely.

Make sure your boat has the proper lighting

You don’t want to be the boat that is difficult to spot. Make sure your boat is properly equipped with the necessary lighting, and make sure you understand what colored lights mean so you can react appropriately.

Keep a GPS on board

It’s easy to lose your directional bearings when you’re out at night. The landmarks you use to get your boat back to its dock may no longer be visible. Even experienced boaters get turned around from time to time, and a GPS is a sure-fire way to get back without circling the entire body of water.