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Old 01-26-2019, 11:56 AM   #1
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hands-on boating instruction for newbies

Hi all,

From reading forum topics I got the impression that many at the beginning of their boating career have "hired" a captain to give them instructions while using their own boat. Sounds like a good idea to me since I prefer hands-on instruction over the classroom only teaching. Sure there are enough topics in boating that require a good amount of basic theoretical knowledge (regulations navigation weather and so forth) but I would prefer to start with the more hands-on stuff.
Also, my wife has to figure out if boating, other than our short Sunday afternoon sailing trips, would be something she would enjoy.

Anyhow, since we do not have our own motorboat we are looking for opportunities to rent a moderate size motorboat for a couple of days and find out if boating could be something for us or not.
I read those boat renters put a captain on the client's side (sure for money) for the time until the client met insurance requirements. That may open the opportunity for a client without experience to rent a boat but may not give you the best instruction for the money paid for the captain.

Are there other options?

Could one rent a boat and bring a captain?

The Chesapeake Bay would the best place for us not only because it is relatively close also it would be the preferred area if we would decide to buy a boat.

I assume that it may not be easy to find good instruction, I also can envision that boating instruction may have the same pitfalls as instruction in aviation where one can get pretty badly ripped off if he doesn't have the right information up front.

I appreciate your thoughts and input.

Thanks
Christoph
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:49 PM   #2
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Here are two data points (and I am bragging a bit about both ):

Years ago I chartered a 35' sailboat from the Moorings in the BVI. That was my first cruising capable boat. I filled out the experience profile being reasonably honest about it. I had owned and day sailed a Venture 22 centerboard sailboat in the Texas Lakes and Galveston Bay and had owned a few smaller sailboats previously. That was the extent of my cruising experience. Apparently I passed and the charter went off without too many hitches.

A few months later I bought a new Hunter 29.5 and after that followed the boat progression up to a 43' sailboat and now down to my 23' tiny trawler. I started with day sails in Galveston Bay on the Hunter, did some overnights down to Freeport and Port Aransas over the next year and by then considered myself ok competent.

About ten years ago I helped a friend move his new to him CHB 45 from Virginia to Georgia. He had been on a couple of sailboat deliveries as unpaid, unskilled crew so he had maybe a 1,000 miles under his keel but no hands on captain experience and certainly not in a big trawler like the CHB.

We spent a half day practicing docking approaches as well as pulling in to his narrow (for his boat) slip and shoved off the next day. I must admit I helped him out of a few incidents: one an alternator belt failing on the fourth day (but he did have twins) and another when he took a wrong turn off of the ICW for ten minutes until I discovered the error and got us back on course. None of these would have been near disasters assuming he knew to shut the engine down with the failed alternator (and r/w pump) belt and he probably did.

After about a week moving the boat down to Georgia and anchoring 7-8 times and docking a few he was a competent captain and further built his skills over many thousand miles after that cruising from Florida to LI Sound and the Hudson.

So the point of this dissertation is that there are many ways of building cruising skills. I wouldn't necessarily recommend my approach as I would have been safer my first time out with some instruction in cruising issues: anchoring, docking, etc. But if the Hunter were my first cruising boat then spending a half day or day with a captain to develop anchoring, navigation and docking skills would have been enough.

I guess it depends on whether you have time to build skills slowly over time or you were jumping right in to live aboard cruising like my friend did.

David
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Old 01-26-2019, 02:44 PM   #3
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My wife and a friend took classes from Seasense in Florida, enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot. Highly recommended Trawler Training – Sea Sense… The Sailing & Power Boating School

I have no first hand experience, but the Annapolis Sailing school has a power program and a good reputation, worth giving them a call. https://www.annapolissailing.com/powerboat/
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Old 01-26-2019, 02:49 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard. Maybe make some boating friends and offer to split the fuel costs with them to take you out. You can’t outright pay them but you can split costs with friends.
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:09 PM   #5
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Check out Annapolis Sailing School. They have an inwater course in powerboat instruction. Includes boat and private captain.

Also if you decide to buy then I suggest hiring a captain to teach you on your boat.
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:22 PM   #6
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Welcome! I had a friend that helped me deliver our boat from Florida to Maryland. I learned a lot on the trip and then have been sharing that and learning more with the admiral on the Chesapeake since. I've been to diesel engine classes at the Annapolis School of Seamanship, and we paid for a trawler class before we got the boat home. There are many options for obtaining the degree of knowledge needed to feel minimally comfortable as a captain. There will always be some uncertainty and concerns, but that's part of the fun!
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:26 PM   #7
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While seeking out instruction is a good idea, you probably want to determine the general type of boat you think you might want first. Certainly there are many aspects of power boating that are the same, there will be an amazing difference between a 7 knot trawler and a 30 knot express cruiser. I would look at the different schools and see what they have for teaching boats. If you think that's the approximate category you might be interested in, great. If not, might be worth seeking out one of the charter businesses that rents what you think you might be interested in, and see if they have instruction available.

Ted
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:33 PM   #8
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Hi all,

thank you for all the answers and all the good advice.

As described in my intro here

Trawler Forum - View Single Post - A new member says hello and happy new year

I do have some boating experience but prefer to consider myself a newbie since this was long ago.
I checked the website from the Annapolis boat school and that looked pretty good so I will give them a call next week and see what I can find out.

I agree that it would probably smart to decide about the boat type and then get training on a similar type of boat but I think this will come later when we have made a decision. For now, we would like to find out if being on a boat is something for my wife and son or not. Should we find out that they don't like it then there is no future in boating anyhow and no need to think about a specific boat type.

If they like it and we decide to go for it we will likely turn towards a trawler style boat. I cannot envision myself on any kind of "speed boat", if I want to be fast I take my motorbike or an airplane, but not a boat.

Thanks
Christoph
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
While seeking out instruction is a good idea, you probably want to determine the general type of boat you think you might want first. Certainly there are many aspects of power boating that are the same, there will be an amazing difference between a 7 knot trawler and a 30 knot express cruiser. I would look at the different schools and see what they have for teaching boats. If you think that's the approximate category you might be interested in, great. If not, might be worth seeking out one of the charter businesses that rents what you think you might be interested in, and see if they have instruction available.

Ted
I think size and top speed are pretty irrelevant when you are learning the basics.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:08 PM   #10
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A friend of mine spent several summers teaching powerboat cruising for the Annapolis School of Sailing. You should call them and see if they still have the program.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:13 PM   #11
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I think size and top speed are pretty irrelevant when you are learning the basics.
Maybe so, but single engine versus twins, 30' Searay versus 42' Krogen, etc. will be a night and day difference.

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Old 01-26-2019, 06:39 PM   #12
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Go have a drink at a nearby Yacht Club. Get involved with the Power Squadron, etc. Regatta season is coming up with opportunities to crew.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:11 PM   #13
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Hi all,

thank you for all the answers and all the good advice.

As described in my intro here

Trawler Forum - View Single Post - A new member says hello and happy new year

I do have some boating experience but prefer to consider myself a newbie since this was long ago.
I checked the website from the Annapolis boat school and that looked pretty good so I will give them a call next week and see what I can find out.

I agree that it would probably smart to decide about the boat type and then get training on a similar type of boat but I think this will come later when we have made a decision. For now, we would like to find out if being on a boat is something for my wife and son or not. Should we find out that they don't like it then there is no future in boating anyhow and no need to think about a specific boat type.

If they like it and we decide to go for it we will likely turn towards a trawler style boat. I cannot envision myself on any kind of "speed boat", if I want to be fast I take my motorbike or an airplane, but not a boat.

Thanks,
Christoph
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:49 AM   #14
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Go have a drink at a nearby Yacht Club. Get involved with the Power Squadron, etc. Regatta season is coming up with opportunities to crew.
I disagree with almost everything that's been said so far, except for this most recent post by Boats.

Taking lessons now is like taking lessons in Italian for your trip to Italy in a few years. You'll retain about 10% of what you learned, without somewhat constant repetition.

Join your local Power Squadron or Auxiliary Coast Guard unit.
That's a great way to get hands on experience, free, away a steady rate.

Doing so enabled me to have the skills and confidence to take our boat up from Florida to New England when we got her.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:19 AM   #15
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I'm with Wxx3
CGAux & USPS (now Americas Boating Club) have some very good courses but more importantly you will immediately expand your network of folks with similar interests. And potential opportunities to help w projects and crew for experience.
USPS is now offering more on the water training mixed w classroom a big step forward.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:38 AM   #16
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Maybe so, but single engine versus twins, 30' Searay versus 42' Krogen, etc. will be a night and day difference.

Ted
I personally disagree with this, having been through the progression of boat sizes, engine configurations and types. In fact, I believe it makes you a much better mariner. The basics of seamanship such as navigation, safety, Rules, reading the weather and water are universal, and if anything a smaller, simpler boat requires more diligence.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:54 PM   #17
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Trawler 'training'

I took a week long class from Seasense in Florida, living and cruising and learning aboard that week. Both owners and operators of this business are female and my entire 'crew' of 3 others were female. Super environment for your wife to learn everything from the engine room up -- including navigation, docking; etc. They have classes all over the world. Take a look. They also will come aboard your own boat and teach you both on board your own boat with its own nuances. I enjoyed my experience aboard with the women immensely and learned a lot. They come highly recommended - check them out ---- Trawler Training – Sea Sense… The Sailing & Power Boating School. Good luck! The training and experience as you learn under knowledgable guidance could make the difference between a successful experience...or not......
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:36 PM   #18
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That's how we built skills when we were starting.


Find where you want to do a charter - C & C in the Chesapeake is a great option.


Tell the charter company what you are wanting to do, they have a list of captains that are available.
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