Friday, March 28, 2008

Maneuvering Your Boat

The only good way to stop your boat is to reverse the thrust direction of your propeller. This is done by first throttling your engine down to idle speed and then shifting into reverse. If you try to shift at any engine speed other than idle, you will soon destroy your gearbox. Because it takes longer to stop your boat than your car, you must approach docks and other objects slowly and, when in doubt, STOP! Never try to grab the dock with your hands and arms, or try to push off with your legs. You well get injured. When you turn the wheel on your boat, the stern starts to swing in a large arc, changing the direction of your boat. When you turn your boat, you must have enough room for your boat's stern to swing. If you try to turn too sharply when leaving the dock, the stern will swing into the dock. In a tight spot, you might want to back out that way, the stern will pull the boat away from the dock and the bow will follow.

When you stop your boat, you are still moving due to wind or current. Current can be caused by many things, such as the movement of water down a river or the rising and falling of tides. Before you try any maneuvering with you boat, check to see which way the wind is blowing by looking at the water's surface. Then stop for a few seconds to see if there is any current effecting the movement of your boat. If there is wind and/or current, try, to approach the dock with your bow into the current. This will allow you to maneuver better and also help stop your boat faster.
Maneuvering your boat takes a lot of practice. Most boaters are going to form their opinion of your boating skills by how well you handle your boat when leaving or returning to the dock. Keep in mind that nobody does it perfect every time, and people make mistakes, thats how you learn. I hope that some of these basics of boat handling are helpful.