The Marine Trades Association of Maryland, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis School of Seamanship, and the Boat U.S. Foundation for Safety and Clean Water are sponsoring two "Welcome to Boating" Clinics May 4 and 6, 2021 from 5 - 7 p.m. at Sandy Point State Park. (The content will be the same on both evenings.) The clinics will provide instruction for new and experienced boaters on how to properly launch, load, retrieve, and dock a trailerable boat.

welcome to boating clinic
Attendees at a summer 2020 session observing how to bring a boat into the dock.

Boating is a fun family activity with proven mental health benefits. Since the pandemic began, many people have found their way to the water but find launching, retrieving, and docking boats the most challenging or intimidating parts of boating.  

The clinics are designed to help new and returning boaters feel confident in their skills, learn about boating safety, and to keep them on the water boating and fishing for many years to come. They are taught in small groups by professional instructors from Annapolis School of Seamanship. Attendees will also learn from the department’s safety education, clean boating, and Fishing and Boating Services experts.  

The clinics are free but attendees must register online in advance and pay the park entry fee ($5 per person) when they arrive. Social distancing and masks will be required.  Only 60 reservations available each date. For more information on the department’s boating safety, clean boating, or fishing programs, and to learn how to register your boat, please visit

Last summer, PropTalk was on-hand for the first Welcome to Boating clinic on August 27 .We spoke to a few couples, some who owned a boat but were looking to upgrade and others who were completely new to boating and did not yet own a boat. 
But the great thing about these clinics is that anyone can attend, no experience necessary. 

welcome to boating clinic
Learning knot-tying skills.

During the first session, attendees learned how to tie a bowline, how to tie a line around a pole, and on to a cleat. They observed while a BoatU.S. captain maneuvered a boat into a dock and discussed proper line handling and communication while docking. During the second station, attendees learned about filing a float plan, how to contact the Coast Guard when in trouble, and the need for a pre-departure checklist. They also observed how to properly back a boat and trailer down the ramp, and how to retrieve once the day’s boating is complete. During each session, masks were required by all, and social distancing guidelines were followed.

If you are interested in attending, register now on MTAM's Welcome to Boating page.