50% chance this is a poor attempt at trolling. Does sailnet have a rival motorboat forum?
50% chance that Sammy is a good guy, just misguided.
If the latter is true, READ a book! Someone suggested Chapman Piloting. That's the closest thing to the drivers license manual you should have read when you turned 16, except for boats (motor and sail) pick up a used copy online for a buck plus $4 shipping. Or go to your favorite huge book store and buy it new. While you're there go to the little shelf of sailing books (usually near the 9 shelves of books about Harleys and muscle cars) and flip through a few more "beginner's guide to sailing" type things. I own a half dozen of these and they all say the same things for the most part. Pick one or two that suit your reading style and technical ability. (If you're not going to rebuild your inboard diesel or cut your own sails for racing you could skip the book that has chapters on those)
Ever go down to the nearest marina or boat ramp and ask if anyone needs an extra crew member? Good way to get some "sea legs" even if it's just a 400 acre lake at the state park.
As far as a 1989 Bayliner... A lot of people enjoy those sort of boats but I've seen a fair share of rough ones towed back to the dock, or blocking the ramp because they can't start the thing to back it off the trailer. You'll learn boat handling and maintenance, rules of the road, and how to repack wheel bearings. (and change that outboard lower unit oil!)
I started out with a homemade 8' fold-up sailing dinghy. Learned the basics on a lake. (pull the sail in until it flaps around, then let it out a bit, move yourself to the side of the boat that's up in the air so the boat doesn't roll over -- that's as simple as sailing can be) Those same theories hold true on an 8' plywood dinghy the same as they do on a 54' sloop. Except on the dinghy you can use a paddle to push off when you run into something, and you don't have to worry about a 20 year old motor not starting, or where to store it during a storm. You can also take it anywhere (in PA most of the small parks don't let you run a gas motor on the lakes) and it fits in the bed of a pickup truck (or in the case of the guy I sold it to -- on the roof of a Corolla)
I signed up for a sailing class offered by the local sailboat club. Every tuesday night for six weeks we'd sail around the local lake for an hour, then two hours of lecture and discussion in the clubhouse. The only cost was $40 for the textbook, and I came out of it with a coast guard auxiliary safety certificate (and cheaper boat insurance)
I really liked it so halfway through the class I bought a $800 17' sailboat. A pair of trailer tires, lights, some life vests, homemade stays, some line, and a new block (pulley) or two and there isn't anywhere I wouldn't tow it or sail it. It's advertised to sleep 4. A couple is more like it. It tows nicely behind a 6 cylinder car and it fits in my garage so I can tinker with it regardless of the weather. My lights are just special flashlights that clamp on. (Wal-Mart sells them)
That's how I learned sailing. That, and lots of reading. Both this forum and books. Oh, and get a library card if you don't want to buy all those books. As far as what to do in an emergency -- read the threads on "BFS - big freakin sails" and do a search for heavy weather sailing. Those will help you out if a storm kicks up while you're out. As far as other emergencies --
If something breaks with the motor - sail home.
If something breaks with the sails - motor home.
We sailors really do have it easy that way...
If someone goes overboard - throw something that floats to them IMMEDIATELY. a cushion, a life vest, a cooler, whatever. Then circle around and pick them up and make sure they don't try to grab on or climb aboard anywhere near a running propeller.
If you go overboard make sure someone else on board knows how to sail or at least drop sail and start the motor. (best if you do that before going overboard)
Know a few knots. Ones that don't slip and can be untied. A bowline, a stopper knot, maybe a sheet bend. With three or four knots there isn't much you can't fix. The other bazillion knots would be a fun way to kill time on a transatlantic sail.
I'll also echo what someone else said -- have lots of anchor line. More than you think you'll need, then another couple hundred feet still in the package that you can tie on if needed. And an anchor two sizes too big is not a bad thing. (except on an 8' fold-up plywood dinghy) Two anchors that are two sizes too big is even better if you're going to overnight somewhere unfamiliar.
Charts are handy and you can print them off the computer with a little googling. Then you'll be able to tell if you're anchoring over an oyster bed or in the middle of a shipping channel.
I enjoy having a marine GPS on the boat. Not necessary, but very helpful. Not much more expensive than a depthfinder so if you need to buy one of those just pay the extra for GPS. I've never sailed anywhere where my "shallow water" alarm didn't sound at least once, and I keep it set 3' more than my retractable keel in the down position.
Last thought -- this thread is now three pages. We've failed.
Keep the expenses low and the good times high.
PA Freshwater / Chesapeake