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Old 03-10-2013, 01:01 AM   #41
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One of my favorite boating aphorisms is " The best attribute of those with superior seamanship skills is that they don't put themselves in a position where they have to use them".
As a surgeon said, " a skill of a surgeon is knowing when NOT to operate".
I get the point, but a minor quibble,how to develop those superior seamanship skills without "getting down and dirty". Those skills likely come from a broad experience you don`t get on a millpond. How to build those skills,without getting yourself into trouble? I suppose if you keep doing it long enough, nature throws up the challenges. Deal with those and you are on your way.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:15 AM   #42
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Just one other point re this simulator thing. No two boats behave quite the same in a seaway. A simulator could only approximate what your own boat will do in any given situation. Only by finding out in moderate conditions can you know how it will handle a following sea, weather from the stern quarters, beating into it, beam on, etc. You have to find out in your own boat.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:59 AM   #43
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As a surgeon said, " a skill of a surgeon is knowing when NOT to operate".
I get the point, but a minor quibble,how to develop those superior seamanship skills without "getting down and dirty". Those skills likely come from a broad experience you don`t get on a millpond. How to build those skills,without getting yourself into trouble? I suppose if you keep doing it long enough, nature throws up the challenges. Deal with those and you are on your way.
I think as Kevin pointed out...you have to seek those opportunities...you have to go out on days for no other reason but to build skills...you have to leave on voyages knowing it's going to be uncomfortable and a bit tricky but not very dangerous to deadly...

That's why most rec boaters never develop those skills...but then again they rarely need them either if they are very cautious.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:07 AM   #44
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Over the years I built my flying skills and confidence by flying along with accomplished pilots in their planes or getting them to fly along with me. My IFR skills and ability to fly into busy complex airfields grew by leaps and bounds.
I also got some right seat time in some really nice planes.
I've used the same philosophy with boats by soliciting crew opportunities with experienced captains on deliveries. Getting hands on experience in a variety of boats-off-shore, in all types of weather is hard to beat when it comes to confidence levels. It took me to a level that I probably wouldn't have gotten to on my own.
Starting Monday I'm getting some 'right seat' time in a 80' inspected vessel with an accomplished captain. Not only will my skill and confidence levels increase but it's an opportunity to upgrade my 50 ton Masters to 100 ton and get a nice part time gig as captain of really nice boat.
Find a mentor. There are plenty of opportunities out there if you just look.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:42 AM   #45
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Anode's (Chip) got it. The best way is to apprentice in some sort of fashion. The Navy and Merchant Marine don't just toss the keys to an ensign, make them skipper and tell them, "hey get out there and figure it out as you go".
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:59 AM   #46
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Wow!

The more we discuss this topic the more complicated it seems to get.

I completely agree that it would be great experience to apprentice with a seasoned captain. I completely agree that gaining experience in other peoples boats would be a great way to learn. That experience would add to the depth of our knowledge and make us much better captains.

All that said, if just take our own boats out for training on days that we would normally stay in port we will learn. We will build the skills and the confidence to tackle bad weather when it happens.

I can promise this. We can watch the weather forecast like a hawk. We can watch the bouys in real time. Even doing all that, we will sooner or later, get caught in a rough sea situation.

We can either experience it on our terms a little at a time, or we can learn on the fly, its our choice.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:46 AM   #47
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All that said, if just take our own boats out for training on days that we would normally stay in port we will learn.

"Necessity is the mother of invention."


I agree with much of what you say but am considering the environment you operate in. If you waited for the perfect day,( no wind, greasy seas, bright sun, etc.) you probably would take your boat out about 10 days a year.

If you want to enjoy all that boating has to offer, you must go out in conditions that most would not. Rain, wind, snotty seas, won't stop you as that is what you are used to.

This is not the case for most of us on the Forum. We live in an entirely different marine environment. It is not necessary (necessity) for most of us to practice (invent) in conditions such as you describe. So why would we intentionally expose ourselves to conditions that we probably won't see in 2 lifetimes? You, on the other hand, most likely will.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:51 AM   #48
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Agreed...most boaters usually say that boats will take more than the skipper...so make her shipshape and take her out whenever you feel like you can learn somethng in reasonable safety.

Apprenticing is great...but not always available and at some point you still have to test yourself on your boat.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:55 AM   #49
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For a lot of boaters the decision is not whether to go out in snotty weather but whether to go out at all. I can't count the number of boats in our marina that I have literally never seen untied from the dock. These are (apparently) seaworthy boats that get looked after, just never used. It seems to me the important decision is to actually use the boat. Once that decision is made then by extension you will find yourself out in condtions that aren't dead calm with the sun shining.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:01 PM   #50
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"Necessity is the mother of invention."

I agree with much of what you say but am considering the environment you operate in. If you waited for the perfect day,( no wind, greasy seas, bright sun, etc.) you probably would take your boat out about 10 days a year.

If you want to enjoy all that boating has to offer, you must go out in conditions that most would not. Rain, wind, snotty seas, won't stop you as that is what you are used to.

This is not the case for most of us on the Forum. We live in an entirely different marine environment. It is not necessary (necessity) for most of us to practice (invent) in conditions such as you describe. So why would we intentionally expose ourselves to conditions that we probably won't see in 2 lifetimes? You, on the other hand, most likely will.
Its sad but true. Few people know how badly I want to move this boat to a warmer climate, with sunny days, and calm waters.

Last month on Passagemaker they had a write up about the ICW. I would love to go there and see that.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:56 PM   #51
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All my years growing up I was out on New England coastal waters so very often... in many different types of craft - and I loved it! At that time I didn't realize the grand implications my innate sea training would amount to for the rest of my life. While growing up it all just seemed regular to me.

When encountered, rough water to any Captain is very serious as well as being an exhilarating boat handling challenge. That said... NO Captain should ever purposefully try to enter into storm paths and must always make sure the boat can handle whatever may occur. (Bounty's Captain was DEAD wrong in his actions - Period!)

I can understand how boat owners who did not have my training/experience on the water in boats would like to learn boat handling by taking their boats out and into some weather conditions. And, to a certain extent they are right to do their best to learn boat handling in sea conditions. But, they must never underestimate the power of the sea. What seem mildly rough conditions can turn really nasty quicker than a wink!

All I can say is please be careful and don't push your boat or your capabilities beyond their limits!

Best Luck to all Boaters! - Art
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:31 PM   #52
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After reading through this several times I find I'm in the same boat (bad pun!!) as Kevin Sanders....if you really want to learn how your boat handles bad sea conditions you must experience bad sea conditions.

Anyone can pilot a boat when the water is flat and the winds are light. You don't learn anything on those days beyond steering the boat.

I grew up on Lake Huron and we'd be out in a 16' boat in 3'-4' waves. Smart? Probably not, but we were too young/dumb to know better. What those experiences did was teach us how to handle waves and wind.

Someone mentioned that boats are capable of more than the skippers when it comes to handling rough seas. IMO the only way to find out what you boat is capable of (and what you're capable of) is to get out there when it's snotty. That not only builds your confidence level, it builds you competence level and both tend to make you a better skipper.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:38 PM   #53
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All my years growing up I was out on New England coastal waters so very often... in many different types of craft - and I loved it! At that time I didn't realize the grand implications my innate sea training would amount to for the rest of my life. While growing up it all just seemed regular to me.

When encountered, rough water to any Captain is very serious as well as being an exhilarating boat handling challenge. That said... NO Captain should ever purposefully try to enter into storm paths and must always make sure the boat can handle whatever may occur. (Bounty's Captain was DEAD wrong in his actions - Period!)

I can understand how boat owners who did not have my training/experience on the water in boats would like to learn boat handling by taking their boats out and into some weather conditions. And, to a certain extent they are right to do their best to learn boat handling in sea conditions. But, they must never underestimate the power of the sea. What seem mildly rough conditions can turn really nasty quicker than a wink!

All I can say is please be careful and don't push your boat or your capabilities beyond their limits!

Best Luck to all Boaters! - Art

Great and powerful post Art! I will only add this to it my friend.

No 2 storms are the same. No 2 waves are the same. The actions you take in 1 storm to get you through it, just may put you on the bottom in the next storm!

Many of Captains with many years under their belt are on the bottom. God rest their souls!
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:13 PM   #54
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Great and powerful post Art! I will only add this to it my friend.

No 2 storms are the same. No 2 waves are the same. The actions you take in 1 storm to get you through it, just may put you on the bottom in the next storm!

Many of Captains with many years under their belt are on the bottom. God rest their souls!
YES!
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:42 PM   #55
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Experience, experience, experience

I'm in the boat with Kevin on learning by pushing the envelope. There are a couple of things to consider when your pushing the envelope, one of which is your passengers and their safety. Do they understand the risk your submitting them to, and are they comfortable with it. If your scaring the crap out of them, do you have the right expose them to your learning experience. I have been guilty of taking risks with my family and friends in the interest of exploring and the thrill of pushing the envelope. I have been lucky as I have so far pulled it off. Looking back at some of my adventures, a simple mechanical failure would have turned a exciting adventure into something far more serious. Adventure is an important part of my life but as I grow older, maybe wiser, I am more concerned with the comfort and safety of my guests. Running a simple 18' skiff in 4' seas is one kind of boat handling, a good starting point, managing a larger slower responding boat a much different experience. There are many things that can go wrong on larger vessels that effect there ability to remain under control. A large part of rough water seamanship is knowing the condition of your vessel and what to do when equipment fails, as it will at some point. We can all think of things that can go wrong and I agree it's good to think and plan for handling emergencies. If the bow hatches on Kevins boat had failed or accidentally been left unsecured, water washing over his bow would have become a very serious problem in a few seconds. If the hatches were unsecured the covers could be ripped off and now you would have a four square ft hole in the deck filling the boat with water possibly two of them. It would be good to have a plan in mind ahead of if this were to occur. A six inch exhaust hose fails and begins to fill your engine room with water, a battery shorts and causes a fire. These may be easy to control in calm conditions and impossible when it's rough. When pushing the limits there's more to this than just boat handling.
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:11 PM   #56
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I'm in the boat with Kevin on learning by pushing the envelope. There are a couple of things to consider when your pushing the envelope, one of which is your passengers and their safety. Do they understand the risk your submitting them to, and are they comfortable with it. If your scaring the crap out of them, do you have the right expose them to your learning experience. I have been guilty of taking risks with my family and friends in the interest of exploring and the thrill of pushing the envelope. I have been lucky as I have so far pulled it off. Looking back at some of my adventures, a simple mechanical failure would have turned a exciting adventure into something far more serious. Adventure is an important part of my life but as I grow older, maybe wiser, I am more concerned with the comfort and safety of my guests. Running a simple 18' skiff in 4' seas is one kind of boat handling, a good starting point, managing a larger slower responding boat a much different experience. There are many things that can go wrong on larger vessels that effect there ability to remain under control. A large part of rough water seamanship is knowing the condition of your vessel and what to do when equipment fails, as it will at some point. We can all think of things that can go wrong and I agree it's good to think and plan for handling emergencies. If the bow hatches on Kevins boat had failed or accidentally been left unsecured, water washing over his bow would have become a very serious problem in a few seconds. If the hatches were unsecured the covers could be ripped off and now you would have a four square ft hole in the deck filling the boat with water possibly two of them. It would be good to have a plan in mind ahead of if this were to occur. A six inch exhaust hose fails and begins to fill your engine room with water, a battery shorts and causes a fire. These may be easy to control in calm conditions and impossible when it's rough. When pushing the limits there's more to this than just boat handling.

Great post!!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:47 PM   #57
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There are some great comments and perspectives in this thread!

Regarding the issue of marine simulators, ksanders says: "Then we get into the reality of the simulator. For someone like you for example with your Camano at 31' you would not be well served to train on a commercial simulator set up for say a cargo ship. Its no stretch here to say that you could actually learn the wrong reactions to situations. Wrong reactions that could actually put yourself at risk in really rough weather. Your boat does not handle like a cargo ship in the same sea states. Theoretically I will concede that simulator training could have great benefit if it were designed for your boat, and replicating the interior of your vessel. Anything other than that and its just a video game."

Having attended commercial vessel electronic simulators in Seward, Seattle, San Diego, Baltimore, Newport and Dania, FL, I can tell you that Kevin is spot on.

Even if your boat is a cargo ship, the reality factor with electronic simulators in the marine world is that the better facilities/programs are in the 65-75% reality category. They just can't do as good a job as compared with flight simulators. While computer hardware has made tremendous strides over the years, and this has greatly improved marine electronic simulations, they are still very weak in close quarters ship/boat handling situations. Mainly because boat handling is primarily a process of visual assessment of various factors that produce the desired result.

The great advantage of electronic marine simulators is that you can stop the program at any point to train to specific factors. As such, they excel in teaching commercial ship bridge team interaction, how to deal with distraction, and early recognition of navigation issues. A small boat handling electronic simulation would never be as meaningful as just gaining experience from taking your own boat out, as amply mentioned in this thread.
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:31 PM   #58
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After rereading many of the posts on her, I have realized that some of us are comparing apples to oranges, because we have NO baseline to go by.

What I mean by that is this. What is rough weather? 3 to 5 foot waves? 8 to 10 foot waves or higher? 3 to 5 foot waves too some is normal cruising while too others it is rough weather.

With that said, which sea condition should someone go out in to get their experience in?
That question alone brings up another baseline. Which is. What kind of a vessel are you in?

Now that brings up another baseline. When is it too dangerous to go out in rough seas in the vessel you have?

I really believe when we all posted our thoughts on this subject, we all were thinking of the vessel we have or had and the rough sea conditions that we have faced in the past in those vessels. But all of the vessels and condition were different.

I really do not think any of us would take a 16’ vessel out in 8’ waves just to learn how to handle that vessel in those kinds of waters.

So with out those baselines of, what is rough weather and what kind of vessel is in that rough weather, and when is it to dangerous, we all are just spitting into the wind.

I believe all of our goals here is to help each other and to share our skills with each other so we all can stay safe while doing something we all love to do. But for me I have realized without those baselines I really cannot give the right answer because I do not have all the facts!

I posted my thoughts based on the seamanship I learned from lager lake vessels Captains, and from the vessels I have owned and operated in fresh water and seawater, which in it’s self is apples to oranges.

So until I have those baselines, I will reframe from posting on this issue, in fear of giving bad advice to someone!


Happy and safe cruising to all of you!

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Old 03-11-2013, 01:51 PM   #59
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After rereading many of the posts on her, I have realized that some of us are comparing apples to oranges, because we have NO baseline to go by.

What I mean by that is this. What is rough weather? 3 to 5 foot waves? 8 to 10 foot waves or higher? 3 to 5 foot waves too some is normal cruising while too others it is rough weather.

With that said, which sea condition should someone go out in to get their experience in?
That question alone brings up another baseline. Which is. What kind of a vessel are you in?

Now that brings up another baseline. When is it too dangerous to go out in rough seas in the vessel you have?

I really believe when we all posted our thoughts on this subject, we all were thinking of the vessel we have or had and the rough sea conditions that we have faced in the past in those vessels. But all of the vessels and condition were different.

I really do not think any of us would take a 16í vessel out in 8í waves just to learn how to handle that vessel in those kinds of waters.

So with out those baselines of, what is rough weather and what kind of vessel is in that rough weather, and when is it to dangerous, we all are just spitting into the wind.

I believe all of our goals here is to help each other and to share our skills with each other so we all can stay safe while doing something we all love to do. But for me I have realized without those baselines I really cannot give the right answer because I do not have all the facts!

I posted my thoughts based on the seamanship I learned from lager lake vessels Captains, and from the vessels I have owned and operated in fresh water and seawater, which in itís self is apples to oranges.

So until I have those baselines, I will reframe from posting on this issue, in fear of giving bad advice to someone!


Happy and safe cruising to all of you!

H. Foster
Rough weather to some will be quite different to others based on your potential sea states and your vessles capabilities.

The whole point of this thread was to prompt people to gain experience SLOWLY in their conditions, in their boats.

There is no need to over analyze this issue. All it takes is people deciding to go out in safe but a little rougher than normal conditions, and building from there.

All the talk about simulators, and weather avoidance, and everything else thats been overanalyzed is great, but hasn't built one iota of actual skill.

The only way to learn is to actually cast off a dock line and drive the boat.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:10 PM   #60
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Point well taken K. Sanders

But however. Even in simulators they have a baseline to go by.

Happy cruising
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