Mistake: Trying to keep a schedule Better idea: Never fight the weather or sea conditions just because you have to get somewhere. It's a good way to get in trouble for no reason. Be patient.
Mistake: Taking on fuel at any old marina Better idea: Get your fuel from a place that's busy, frequently turning over what's in the marina's tank. The fuel at a slow gas dock has been sitting there attracting moisture and going stale.
Mistake: Depending on local knowledge Better idea: Some locals won't be able to tell you the tide range or what the buoy's number is at a channel's turno . They "just know" but aren't good at explaining. Match their input with a cruising guide that's updated annually.
Mistake: Going with just anyone Better idea: Think you can really put up with your fun-at-a-party neighbor while trapped in a small boat (and all boats get small after a while)? Be careful whom you choose as crew.