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Old 18-06-2014, 08:54   #1
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How did you Learn to Handle your Power Boat?

Been sailing for 4-5 years. Did the usual - started with some lessons on a dinghy and worked my way up to bigger boats. There seem to be a lot of options for sailing lessons - which is pretty cool.

It's been my experience that the same can't be said for power boats - in terms of the availability of lessons. Does anyone know of resources to look for power boat lessons? Not the biggest challenge to pilot a power boat in calm waters but docking, narrow passages, etc can be a challenge.

I've also been out on power boats a million times but as is often the case - skipper's don't like to give up their seat at the helm (understandably, of course!)

So, how did you learn? Grow up with it? Trial and error? Any ideas or resources are appreciated!
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Old 18-06-2014, 09:04   #2
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

Read how-to manuals and did trail and error. There are classes available (leastwise in my locality) for handling a power boat. ... There are big differences in handling a single-engined boat versus a multiple-engine boat.

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Old 18-06-2014, 09:58   #3
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

My Daddy taught me, a cuff to the right ear to go port, cuff to the left ear to go starboard. Thump on the forehead to stop. You pick it up quick or get a lot of bruises and hard of hearing, what?
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Old 18-06-2014, 10:15   #4
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

Twin screw maneuvering has two levels of skill--the first level is using idle power on the engines and no rudder, while the advanced level uses rudder and higher power.

I went out to a mooring buoy and practiced where my mistakes weren't expensive.
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Old 18-06-2014, 10:29   #5
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

If you want and excellent source, contact Captain Chris Yacht Services - Let us put our experience to work for you! and speak with Chris or Elyse. Chuck
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Old 18-06-2014, 10:53   #6
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

You can read up on it and there plenty of schools/captains happy to show you the ropes.

When we first got a 31'er, we took it over to the 60' slips on a quiet day in the spring before any other boats were in and practiced. Then gradually built up our skills.

As far as advanced manuvering, I would occasionally use the rudders but most manuvers it is more complication than benefit (especially if you forget to center the rudders after using them). If you have to use more than a very modest amount of throttle, you are doing something wrong or are trying to show off (just hope the engine doesn't stall while backing at high speed like a lot of charter captains like to do).

There are some "boat parking" apps for your tablet that do a suprisingly good job simulating the issues involved.
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Old 19-06-2014, 08:44   #7
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

Thanks for all of the responses! I have purchased some books!
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Old 19-06-2014, 10:59   #8
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

We knew a lot about power boats as we'd had a 30' runabout on the lake. But to learn about larger, we went to school and we also got an experienced Captain to train us. It's amazing with the right person training you how quickly you can learn. There are captains who specialize in training.
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Old 19-06-2014, 10:59   #9
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merlin,

Good start. Remember existing wind, tides and nearby watercraft have no effect on the printed pages. There is no substitute for on the water experience. Find an experienced friend to go with you or hire a captain for a day to help you. Go slow, use lots of fenders when docking and don't worry about the onlookers mentally grading your performance. Over time, it doesn't get any easier but you will gain confidence in differing conditions.
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Old 21-06-2014, 04:14   #10
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

I threw myself in the deep end last year once I got my boat water ready. Been on plenty over the years but never as the skipper.

Knowing what my boat will do in different conditions I can visualize before hand what my approach will be....to a ramp or pontoon & such. Although the approach sometimes doesn't go to plan.

Just be prepared, fenders out, lines ready, slow approach. Explain to those on board what your plan is, both A & B !!!

People will always judge you. Those who don't have a boat have no idea & are most likely jelous. Those who do have a boat understand how hard it can be but will still yell advice across the harbour. In the end, YOU will be your hardest judge!
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Old 21-06-2014, 04:51   #11
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pirate Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

Power boats and jet ski's are things I feel folk should have training for before taking it on.. to many it seems just like driving a car however control is largely dependant on speed and swimmers etc are often injured all around the world by folk who forget.. these things don't have brakes.. in fact a friends sister.. well known singer.. was killed in the Med by an idiot on a jet bike hired out for a 15minute joy ride off the beach..
The RYA offers good Power 1 & 2 courses..
You also learn how not to flip/get thrown out of a rib killing yourself and a daughter..
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Old 21-06-2014, 09:34   #12
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

When we were serious about purchasing ours, (paperwork may have already been signed) the selling agent (a captain) took us both out for a few hours with this (new) boat and showed us the basics, with a focus on docking and for us, launching.

The rest has been trial and error. You tube may be helpful. We ran across a high school friend who also is a captain (used to own a charter company before divorce), so Hubby took him fishing (he lost his boat in the divorce) and he gave hubby tips and tricks.

Things like that. The only major screw up we had was running out of gas in the beginning but we were close to the dock and were towed in. Embarrassing.
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Old 21-06-2014, 09:43   #13
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Re: How did you learn to handle your power boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by djaustralia View Post

People will always judge you. Those who don't have a boat have no idea & are most likely jelous. Those who do have a boat understand how hard it can be but will still yell advice across the harbour. In the end, YOU will be your hardest judge!
Yes!!! I could NOT get over that this happens. Where we usually launch, people sit there and heckle people who are not doing such a great job.

Hubby and I have an efficient system (well, will get even better once I can back the freaking trailer up...) and we get that 24 foot boat launched and then OUT OF THE WAY (out of the launch itself) and Ill go park truck and trailer, hop in he boat and off we go.

This last time I was in the truck waiting for the go signal and this group of three guys were launching next to us and the guy in the boat starts trimming down while they were backing up. I yelled out the window "stop! You are about to hit the ground!" When SCRAAAAPE, the engine hits the cement WHILE the driver was still backing up. Boat guy yelled stop, trimmed up and then they launched.

The people sitting under the pavilion starting ripping this guy a new one. It was so sarcastic and mean. I wanted to yell "where is your boat?" But I had to park and get on my boat. It went on for 5 minutes. The guy in the boat said nothing-- ignored them, which I give him credit for.

That's the biggest intimidating issue-- IF you launch, there are cats there who make it a spectator sport.
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Old 21-06-2014, 09:55   #14
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Re: How did you Learn to Handle your Power Boat?

Sorry, but I read posts saying trial and error and just jump into it and I have to disagree. Should we stop driver's training on cars and just let the kids learn by trial and error? Either have a friend who will go out with you and train you or hire a captain or find some way to get some real hands on training. Not only will you be safer but you'll be more comfortable and boating will be far more fun. You'll be confident in your knowledge and skill. There are captains all around more than willing to train. Yes, there's a cost involved but it will be well worth it.

You started sailing with lessons. Do the same with power boating.
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Old 21-06-2014, 10:45   #15
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Re: How did you Learn to Handle your Power Boat?

At California Maritime Academy we started with 16 oarsmen for our power, giving them orders. Then a 35' single diesel launch, 40' twin diesel launch, 55' single screw tug and then finally the 499' Golden Bear Training Ship.
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