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Old 03-22-2017, 06:17 PM   #1
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Question new boat owner, no experience

I just bought a 34 foot Marshal Californian in October and have lived on it all winter, everything is working out well but I am not comfortable moving it about, only did that once and I knew I was in trouble soon as I let the line go and the wind took over, in short I need some experience and help with getting it. I did pilot the boat the day I got it but that was in the Columbia river, when I leave here I want to go into Puget sound I think I can get one of my friends to help me in the ocean, I'm sure I would get lost by myself, I am sure the previous owner would help me if I asked me but I have been hoping to find someone here, maybe just follow someone going that way but the weather for leaving the Columbia is still a month away. by reading the old logs it takes 187 gallons of fuel to get to Pt Angles and the boat has 300 gallons.
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:20 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard, if you want to have experience go cruising! Start by cruising around and learn to handle her.
She is your first girl, do you need someone to show you how to handle her first or do you prefer to jump and see?
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:20 PM   #3
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In the meantime, consider reading about how to handle a boat. Meanwhile, practice under minimal wind and tidal-current conditions.
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:26 PM   #4
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Better yet, take the basic boating course from your local Power Squadron or Coast Guard Auxiliary to learn the basics and the rules of the road. Then hire a captain to teach you how to handle your boat. Then practice, practice, practice.

Marty...................
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:27 PM   #5
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Take a US Power Squadron boating course NOW!
Rats. Missed it by one minute...
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:43 PM   #6
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Was self taught in the 1960s. Received a 100% score on the basic Power Squadron test in the current decade after losing a significant portion of my intelligence. (Can still see the look of the PS tester.)
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:48 PM   #7
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How are you at piloting an airplane?? Figured I'd start somewhere. Just kidding... sorta.

Anyway... for goodness sake... at first - read, read, read. Then find a good marine Captain/pilot who will spend a day or three training you for piloting aboard your own boat. After that take courses others posted. After all that you should be ready to become a qualified, often boater!

Good Luck! - Art
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:30 PM   #8
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As a former Power Squadron instructor, I strongly recommend the basic boating course. Not the online nonsense, but an actual class with experienced instructors and fellow inexperienced boaters. The interaction is invaluable, and worth every minute you'll spend in the class. I made friends with a number of former "students" and was amazed at the comments from those who said how they drew on their class experiences in many boating situations for many years after taking the class. It will give you confidence knowing you have the knowledge to be a competent skipper.

As far as learning to actually handle the boat, though the basic course will give you knowledge that you'll be able to implement on the water, it helps to have an experienced mentor on board to help, you could probably make that connection at your local Power Squadron, or hook up with a training captain who comes recommended by others. Avoid dock crows who talk a good story but don't spend time on the water; be wary of online claims by entrepreneurs who are happy to schedule expensive time but are short on actual teaching ability. Do some homework, get the best bang for your buck, it'll be money well spent.

Have fun & be safe!
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:01 AM   #9
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Ask around. My San Francisco sailing school (Club Nautique) had one instructor who was a liveaboard powerboater, and he excelled in small boat handling with any boat in any condition - the guy was a Ninja at the helm. Get the very best instruction you can afford with cash or barter, then practice, practice, practice.
Every time before you approach a landing, practice your moves out in open water. Throw a fender in the water, and practice your approaches. Learn how your boat prop walks, how fast it swings, how small a circle you can make. Don't be afraid to call a marina ahead of time and ask for line-handlers.
Finally, YouTube is your friend. Tons of videos on the topic. Search for "small boat handling."
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:11 AM   #10
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For starters, try not to move the boat in more than light winds. You might also limit your dockings to slack water. Check the tides. Tide Tables & Charts for Kelley Point by TIDES.net
High tide backs up the river and decreases the current. In some places to zero.
I often solo my 83' boat and always check wind and tides when alone.
As you get better winds and currents are easier to deal with.
Going north in April should be fun.
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:31 AM   #11
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Great advice so far.

I will be a bit of a wet blanket however and suggest that you scratch the idea of heading North this year. You haven't run the boat at all, have no experience, and yet are considering a long trip to unfamiliar and challenging waters. Not to mention it involves crossing one of the most dangerous river bars in the US.

Take some courses, do some reading, get a training captain or experienced boater to go out with you so you get the experience and become comfortable boating in your home grounds. Explore the river, take the boat to other marinas for overnight stays. Get experience anchoring in different locations.

Then after you have some experience and comfort, consider a trip North next year. I would still consider hiring an experienced delivery captain to go with you across the bar and up the coast. I certainly would and I have been boating almost all my life, but have never crossed that bar.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:14 PM   #12
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Yup, Power Squadron, the classes. Not only will you pick up info but it will put you in touch with people who have experience. They will also go into how to read a chart which is important even though that chart may be electronic. If you do not understand the symbols and all the info presented, electronic or not, you will land in trouble.

Read about weather, Learn about tides and currents.

Get an instructor to get you well started on boat handling. There is a lot more to it than just steering. The fact you want to go on a long trip makes all this very much more important.

Then practice. I see too many people buy a boat then never take it out because they can;t figure out how to and are afraid after a few goof ups, to operate it. They are paralyzed but it is practice that will give them the final skills. It is the instruction that gets them started.

Yes, many can figure it out on their own with much trial and tribulation but that could be far more expensive than realized .

I started without instruction although went to P.S. 6 mo. later. But it was a 24 ft boat that I could manhandle around, literally. You won;t be able to do that as the boat will be too big and heavy.

Enjoy the boat and have fun.
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Old 03-26-2017, 12:19 AM   #13
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If I understand you correctly, you would like to move your boat out the Columbia River over the bar, up the coast and through the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Seattle and you are brand new to your boat and boating. Safety speaking I would hire a skipper for the trip and go with him. All the suggestions to take a Power Squadron course and other instructions are good but you are talking about some potentially serious and dangerous water. Crossing the Columbia River Bar, exposure to the open Pacific swells and weather, the tides and currents of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and finally the protected waters of Puget Sound.

Be very careful, you can get in way over your head. Be safe! Learning know your boat and how to handle waters like mentioned above before just taking off. I guess my response is to reconsider and find an experienced Captain to do this trip and be aboard to learn, there is a heck of a lot to know about for a first time boat owner on a trip of this magnitude.
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Old 03-26-2017, 12:57 AM   #14
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I think KOlive is spot on, if you don't feel comfortable hire help, however if you prepare, learn and practice you could do it. Put time on your boat as much as possible. I bought my first boat, 6 years ago, a 58', yes my first ever boat. For the next two weeks I did nothing but 2 hour trips from lake union to lake Washington probably 12 trips, and when on dock, I researched and studied. I also believed the biggest deterrent was docking. I did not want to crash my boat and look like a moron. I was scared of docking. But felt I understood enough of the rest to get going. I docked likely 200 times when not on those short Trips, just touch and goes, Port and starboard, tried it in close quarters (less than 20' between now and aft boats.), practiced every time the wind came up 5 more knots than my last practice time. After 3 weeks of these I felt very confident and could literally dock on a dime with winds less than 20knts. Next up was the rest. I hired a captain, which was a requirement of my insurance, planned on 4-8 hours a week of instructions for a few months, because of my ability to control the boat, go through locks, it was easy to get him to sign off after a few hours on the first date. We practiced MOB exercises, anchoring, emergency plans, went over key rules of navigation, all of this was learned via my research and learning from every resource I could. 3 weeks later, loaded the family and crossed the straight of Juan de Fuca on our way to Victoria. Then 2 weeks all over San juans. The key to that was realizing, the difference from me and another person who I greatly respected and spent many many years boating out of Newport Oregon on a 32ft boat, was I'm not a panic person: I think that is key to being a good captain. If you get overly stressed during your test outings, if you get tunnel vision when times are tough, please recognize that and seek profession help for the trip, until you are confident and comfortable. Everyone will be looking to you for the answers. You need to have them. My wife always questions me, when we get challenged and I enjoy it, why do I enjoy it, because next time I will have that experience under my belt, if I was a panic type person. I would think of that 40knot docking experience as something I nEver want to see again, I treat it as hey, I got this, done it before. You must know your equipment, you face a much more difficult challenge than my first. If trip. Crossing the bar. If you pick a good weather window, your ocean crossing won't be that bad, but the Columbia bar, fog, and being able to handle trouble like hitting a log and what to do, is the real challenges. If you don't have knowledge through research and testing your self. If you are a panic person ( which can be overcome through controlled experience). If you don't know your boat instruments, or dont know how to use the equipment under distressed. Then don't go....but if you spend as much time as you can, practicing, testing yourself, learning from others, books, websites, groups like this and most importantly, if your confident and comfortable, go for it!
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:07 AM   #15
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I'd like paragraphs no longer than five lines. Much more than that, it's not worth the eye strain to follow to comprehend the message.
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
I'd like paragraphs no longer than five lines. Much more than that, it's not worth the eye strain to follow to comprehend the message.
If wishes were horses beggars would ride!

Some folks write one way others write another.
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Old 03-26-2017, 03:10 PM   #17
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surprised that you wee able to get insurance with out any experience.

IMO you need to hire an instructor.
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Old 03-26-2017, 03:19 PM   #18
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new boat owner, no experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by bayview View Post
surprised that you wee able to get insurance with out any experience.

IMO you need to hire an instructor.


I did hire one, he saw what he need to see, and signed off. Insurance requirement what not duration but rather only skills needed to get his endorsement .


I still have a lot learn, no doubt. As we all do, every experience adds to that Learning.


2 paragraphs, less than 5 sentences. .
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Old 03-26-2017, 05:58 PM   #19
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When I was learning to sail I had a hard time asking people for help because I never wanted to burden anyone...but then someone suggested I offer to crew for other people on day trips. It gave me a few hours with an experienced captain, a
chance to observe how things are done, and I didn't feel like a burden because I was helping out.

Eventually you'll need knowledge specific to your boat, but there's a lot of skills that are not boat type dependant. Who knows, you might meet some nice people, and get some offers to crew for you on your boat. My club used to have a bulletin board where people would put "crew needed/available" announcements
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:07 PM   #20
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I'd like paragraphs no longer than five lines. Much more than that, it's not worth the eye strain to follow to comprehend the message.
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