While boating, you will often see a scene that you would love to capture. Children swimming, waterside scenery, beaches, boats, sunsets. Having a camera ready will allow you capture some memorable images for your personal Web page!
Professional photographers use single-lens reflex cameras that allows you to change lens and use many automatic features, but this is not necessary to take good photographs. You can take excellent photos with any camera that has a good-quality lens with a built-in zoom lens is an excellent multi-purpose camera.
You will need 4 MP camera, a zoom lens with 3X (or more), and replacement battery or charger (on a boat an inverter can run a charger). If you like to take lots of photos or movies, buy a larger storage card 1MB or more. You should be able to set programs for "action" photos (similar to fast shutter speed in film cameras). Water and electronics don't mix so use a waterproof marine bag to transport the camera and a case to protect it. (More: Digital Cameras)
Buy high-speed film (ASA number) if you plan to take photos from your boat -200 ASA will do nicely, but 400 ASA is better. "Fast" film allows your camera to use faster shutter speeds (1/250 sec. or faster) to "stop the action" when either the scene or you are moving! This will result in sharper, clearer pictures. Your automatic camera will do all this automatically if you are using high-speed film.
If you are taking pictures from the deck of a boat, the zoom feature has a hidden danger. As the lens zooms in to take a closer view of the scene, the motion of the boat is also magnified and you are more likely to get a blurred picture. To get the clearest picture possible, use high-speed film, a wide angle lens (or with the zoom off), and set your body in a position that will minimize motion when the boat moves.
Professionals will want to control the shutter speed and aperture (together these control "exposure") rather than letting the camera do if for them. Sometimes using a slower shutter speed together with a "panning" of the camera to follow a moving object will result in the subject (such as a waterskier) being in focus while the background is blurred. Smaller lens aperture (larger "f" numbers) will create a deeper field of "focus" so more of the scene will be in focus -usually what you want on a moving boat. However, using a large aperture (small "f" number) will allow you to focus on a particular object while blurring the background.
Backlit scenes are another situation that call for expert exposure control - usually requiring at least "2 stops" more exposure. If you have an automatic camera, using a flash to create "fill" lighting can often create perfect exposure in this situation.
Remember, film is cheap and memories are forever. Happy snapping!