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Old 07-29-2014, 08:08 AM   #1
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Hands on Training

I'm curious to the amount of training many "Cruisers" seek beyond the first couple of hours offered when buying a boat and meeting state safety requirements.

So many harp on the best of this and the best of that and money's no object...

But overall...most cruiser's I know spend no money or effort on the most important thing of all on board....(other than reading forums and magazines.)

The Captain.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:30 AM   #2
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As sales manager (and training captain) for Great Harbour Trawlers, our "free" training consisted of one full day with me aboard doing boat handling/anchoring/lines/systems/safety, etc. Then another full day on electronics/navigation/charting. I wrote a very comprehensive Owner's Manual which included all the systems on the boat and a boathandling section with lots of handling "tricks" that were somewhat unique to our twin-screw displacement boats. We also offered our customers the option of taking a week-long training charter with me or Ken on one of our company charter boats in the Abacos. No charge except personal expenses (flights/food/entertainment) and food for yours truly. I would guess that about half our buyers opted to do this.

Finally, we did an annual 3-day tech seminar at the factory covering maintenance/systems/engine/repairs/safety/cruising destinations/photography and more. We had talks from manufacturer reps, diesel technicians, other owners, and, of course, Ken. It was a jam-packed three days for each couple which included three meals a day (even a big low-country boil on Thursday night.) Price was free and our owners could come to as many as they wished. We averaged about 40-50 participants.

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Old 07-29-2014, 08:57 AM   #3
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Power Squadron Course, Sea School for USCG 50 ton license with sail endorsement, and with the purchase of our present boat we hired a captain to go with us on the 550 mile delivery from south Florida. Seven days of learning with the captain on board. Learned tons of techniques. That seven days gave me more confidence than any other training. Even with this training I can say I never stop learning from any source I can find. TF is a wealth of information....
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:37 PM   #4
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We had 50+ hours with a captain on our boat when we first got her. Now whenever I do something a little different, I'll bring our captain back for training. This year we moved into a new slip. It's an end tie with both current and wind pushing us of the slip. My wife and I spent all day with the captain taking turns practicing with the kids handling the lines. Best use of money I've spent on my boat.
We'll also bring a captain if we're traveling to new destinations. Anchoring of the Channel Islands. Mooring at Catalina. Just a few hours make all the difference.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:23 PM   #5
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Anyone taking any advanced training such as...survival, maintenance, advanced manual navigation??????
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:47 PM   #6
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I've had training through the USCGA and spent considerable time with my PO(an old salt) going over boat specific handling and safety issues. Soon we will hire a captain to train my wife, it's a matter of finding the right person for her when she is ready. That was part of our initial reason for trying to find a yacht club.

Advanced survival/navigation training will be taken before leaving the relative safety of our currently preferred inland boating. A local sailing time share company will most likely provide us that training over the course of several weekends. Frankly we enjoy inland boating so much we may not venture out to coastal cruising for quite some time if at all but do look foreword to the time we will spend learning anyway. Doing it aboard sailboats will be a pleasant change of pace.

We do not take boating lightly and have a safety talk including everything from life jackets to MOB situations prior to departure. There's always room for improvement though and we never stop learning.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:04 PM   #7
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I did 2 1/2 days with Bill Shermer of Blue Goose charters in Baltimore. Bill recently passed away. He was a retired navy commander and once he found out I was an x-navy white hat it was "school of the boat time". He taught me more in three days than I could have learned in a year on my own. I intend on getting more training and a USCG license.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:35 PM   #8
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Boating Safety and Seamanship and Advanced Coastal Navigation with the USCGA. Then I joined them and worked my way up to Coxswain. I've done about half their specialty courses. Also on my third renewal of my OUPV.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:46 PM   #9
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Got a 100% score on the Power Squadron introductory boating test (as well on the California State handgun test). Surprised the testers because I appear to be an ignoramus. It's mostly common sense and knowing test-taking techniques, is it not? (Fifteen years of sailing/racing experience may have helped.)
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:13 PM   #10
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I took a USCG Masters course/test and got my license. I think that's a good starting point and covers the basics. I also took ABT's hydraulics course that they put on twice a year. We are also hiring a training captain when we take delivery of our Nordhavn. It will be effective for my wife than me trying to teach her, and I'm sure I have plenty of bad habits that need to be broken. Besides, there's always something you can learn from an experienced skipper. Northern Lights offers a couple of different training courses, and I've attended abbreviated versions of them.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Anyone taking any advanced training such as...survival, maintenance, advanced manual navigation??????
USCG- STCW
USCG- Advanced fire fighting
USCG- Advanced Med
USCG- Proficiency in survival craft course

MCA- Advanced sea survival for yachtsmen
MCA- Marine diesel engineering
MCA- Aux. equipment
MCA- Op.procedures and basic hotel services and ship construction
MCA- Yacht engineer craft & workshop skills

USCG- 50 ton and 100 ton license course
USCG- 200 ton license upgrade course

MTU- model specific diesel engine course
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Got a 100% score on the Power Squadron introductory boating test (as well on the California State handgun test). Surprised the testers because I appear to be an ignoramus. It's mostly common sense and knowing test-taking techniques, is it not? (Fifteen years of sailing/racing experience may have helped.)
Pretty funny Mark.

When I used to teach I would get all these homemaker type moms who would come up very meekly and say how they hadn't taken a test in 30-40 years since high school.

Then they would get a 100% or in the 90's and blow their cocky, know-it-all, I've been boating 50 year husbands out of the water. I was often surprised at testing results...thankfully a long time ago in the service I leaned not to judge people from relatively scant first impressions.

Yes ...the basic stuff/testing is mostly common sense stuff..and definitely the USCG caotain schools is mostly test taking ability. Fortunately the USCG scrutinizes the entire package for a lot more than just the school certification otherwise I would have hated to turn in most testing certifications.

I'm hoping this thread may get people to think about upgrading all the skills necessary for safe cruising by sharing what they think is important and where they got the training or skill set. Like the opening post noted...with all the talk that our boats need to be perfect...I'm sure the captain skills out there could use some tweaking.....as most accidents and major problems come from a string of human failures much more so than equipment.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:16 AM   #13
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"Fortunately the USCG scrutinizes the entire package for a lot more than just the school certification otherwise I would have hated to turn in most testing certifications."

Scrutinizes for what?
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:30 AM   #14
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Years ago, the FAA recognized the need for some kind of ongoing training for pilots not employed by the airlines (airline pilots under go recurrent training semi-annually). They came up with what is known as a Flight Review given by a Certified Flight Instructor (non FAA personnel) requiring 1 hour of ground training and 1 hour of flight training. It covers certain basic maneuvers and whatever else the pilot wished to practice. There is no fail, only a failure to satisfactorily complete , which every pilot must do every two years in order to exercise his flight privileges. It is not reported to the FAA, but simply noted in his personal logbook. It is very non-threatening. Perhaps something on that order would work in the boating world. George
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:37 AM   #15
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"Fortunately the USCG scrutinizes the entire package for a lot more than just the school certification otherwise I would have hated to turn in most testing certifications."

Scrutinizes for what?
Ask them...they sit on it for long enough....

and not everyone get's a license even with a school completion certificate so there must be other show stoppers.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:47 AM   #16
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I purchased my boat "used" from the owner so no training was included. We arranged for a local captain who does boat training to give us four hours of on the water training.

The first thing he said when he got on the boat was "I've never driven a boat like this before." (single screw trawler). That should have been the end right there.

He showed us how best to tie up in the slip and took us on the water but his methods of teaching left a lot to be desired (in my opinion).

He taught us the back and fill method of backing into a slip and left it at that.

The first several times trying to back into the slip using this method were a disaster to the point where my wife hated to go out because of the problems getting back in. The marina has a very narrow fairway and there's not a lot of room for error. I eventually did a lot of research on the Internet and decided to abandon this method in favor of just using the existing bow thruster. Actually, I use a combination of both but mostly the thruster.

Some folks have the ability to read and put what they read into practice (not just in boating but in most everything) while others have to be shown. I guess I am fortunate to be in the first group.

I recently took the Power Squadron course and test (I won it in a drawing at a boat show). The only question I missed was the minimum age to boat in SC without a safety course.)

As for maintenance training, I've got the books and the "mechanical ability" so I don't need schooling to change the oil or belts. Electronics was my trade so that's covered.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:07 AM   #17
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Ask them...they sit on it for long enough....

and not everyone get's a license even with a school completion certificate so there must be other show stoppers.
OK, I thought based on your history you knew the answer or had inside info.

Because other than the basic stuff like test results, sea time forms, drug test, etc. it's not like they have anything that even proves you've ever operated a boat or can dock a boat. Nor does much checking on the validity of the sea time forms seem to go on.

Personally and from what I've been told I don't think the time it takes for them to issue a license has much to do with any serious scrutiny of it on their part. But more to do with the ratio of staff to the number of applications to be reviewed and processed.

I think they just don't have the budget to afford them the luxury of the time needed to dig to deep into the validity of the paper work supplied with the applications.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:13 AM   #18
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People often talk about hiring a captain, but what exactly is a "captain"? When I bought my first boat (a 12' folding Porta Bote), the salesman told me I was now a captain (Captain Ron).

Are there any qualifications or regulations pertaining to hiring yourself out as a "captain"?
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:18 AM   #19
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Not to get too far off track, but I think if you actually learn and retain the USCG license material, it's pretty good and comprehensive. But I'm sure lots of people just manage to pass the test and forget everything after that. Also, to upgrade beyond the lowest level of 25 or 50 ton and an Inland certification requires some significant operating time on some pretty good size boats. Assuming the applicant isn't fudging their sea time, which by the way I think MANY people do at least for the initial license, you will have some good experience if you have more than the most basic license.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:26 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Anyone taking any advanced training such as...survival, maintenance, advanced manual navigation??????
Marine Firefighting (1 week)
Radar (1 week)
Stability
Naval Architecture (1 quarter)
Helicopter Underwater Escape (that one was FUN!)
Lifeboat and Open Water Survival
Celestial Navigation
Alaska Diesel Maintenance (Lugger)
lots of other industry specific training (like handling Hydrogen Sulfide)

I used to have an Unlimited Master's License, now it's restricted to 100 Tons.
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