Brush up on your Boat Handling Skills
Whether a first-time boat owner or a hardened veteran, constantly improving your knowledge and understanding of how your boat reacts to your every move and action, can only but benefit you as a skipper.
By constantly practising both basic and advanced techniques you will get more attuned to your vessel and develop greater boat driving skills. Make sure that you practise these procedures in open water that offers plenty of depth and manoeuvring space, and above all that you’re wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and that the Kill Switch is attached to your body at all times.
There are three main factors that will affect your control over your boat once on the water, namely the pivot points of your boat, the influence of wind and currents and lastly the role played by slide. Therefore, a better understanding of these factors will improve your boat driving skills considerably. Pivot Points – When you turn, the bow goes one way and the stern the other. This is because your outboard engine (supplying both the power and the steering to your boat) is positioned aft, therefore it’s steering the stern of the boat which as a result turns the bow via a pivot point.
When powering ahead your boat pivots around a point roughly a third from the bow, when powering astern, the pivot point moves to a point roughly a third from the stern. Subject to the direction in which you’re going, always keep an eye out for the longer 2/3rds section (e.g. the opposite end to the direction in which you’re travelling) as this will be swinging more. Taking this into account when mooring or unmooring will help you.