Thank you everyone for replying and offering up wonderful suggestions. I will definately be taking a look at all of the suggestions. In our current world I can't beleive that it is as easy as just getting in the boat and going.
We are liquidating our life long possesions to purchace the boat and sure do not want to wind up in a wreckage somewhere because we didn't prepare well enough. Nor do I want to over complicate it. We are not strangers to boating but we've never sailed.