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Old 11-20-2018, 08:10 PM   #1
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Getting Started

11/20/18 I have been a member for a while but not active. I have made an offer on a 1991 Grand Banks 42' Classic. Hope to be the owner in the next few days subject to surveys etc. I too have not piloted a boat more than 24', an outboard. Where do I start as to getting educated and gaining experience. My goal is to go to the Abacos from the Outer Banks of North Carolina in Nov. 2019 for a six months stay. Between now and then, it will be "learning time".

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Old 11-21-2018, 11:22 AM   #2
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Post moved from an existing thread in the "Welcome Mat " to its own thread here in "Boating Safety and Concerns".

Take a boaters safety course. There is one offered by USCG Aux. which includes navigation. Otherwise, I'd also take a navigation course.

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Old 11-21-2018, 02:43 PM   #3
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Mr. Clark, welcome to TF. I don't have direct answers to your questions but in general I'd suggest asking around the dock who the boaters think is the most competent boater. When you start hearing the same name(s) over and over, see if you can talk one of them into going out with you on your boat to give you some tips on how to handle her. Also you might consider hiring a licensed captain to help you for a few hours.

Once you have the basics down then practice, practice, practice. Take whoever is going to be your main deck hand (wife?) out but no other guests for awhile. You want to be solely focused on the boat, how it's moving when you give it a command (wheel or shifters, etc.) and not be distracted by friends or other family. Keep those friends in mind for your future cruises.

Most of all, don't let yourself get too stressed. There's no shame in a missed approach so if you don't feel like you're lined up to make it into your slip, back away and take a second shot at it. Taking a second run at it is a WHOLE bunch cheaper and easier than hitting the dock and having to repair gelcoat.

And while you're out there, have fun.
Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:38 PM   #4
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US Sail & Power Squadrons - becoming Americas Boating Club - also offers some good boating classes. Many are now also doing on-the-water training as part of their training.
The advantage of group pike this or USCG Aux is you will expand your network of knowledgeable resources with similar interests.
2008 MS 34 HT Trawler
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:53 PM   #5
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Welcome and I agree with others. Take some classes. We want you to be safe and as GFC stated "Have Fun!!"
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:43 PM   #6
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Just remember that “slow is pro” when handling a boat. Don’t go any faster than necessary and don’t go faster than you are willing to hit the dock. Good advice from others above.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:38 PM   #7
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All good points above but depending how much you know or don't know, Nigel Calder's book Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual and Chapman book Piloting and Seamanship are great reads.
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Old 11-21-2018, 08:21 PM   #8
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CGAX boating classes are great, I even joined to help others and learn more. Plus consider hiring a pro for a few hours. They can make a difference. Cost is $75-100 hr. Lots of advice on the forum ask questions and read the posts.
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Old 11-22-2018, 02:51 AM   #9
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Find an experienced captain and with your own boat, practice docking under their eye. My first boat was 65' and before they would let me run the boat on my own, experienced family members made me dock all over the port. My dock, the fuel dock, city dock and so on. Initially in calm days but later in wind and current.

There are also many books on boat handling.
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Old 11-22-2018, 11:46 AM   #10
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Unless you know already I suggest you don't leave the dock til' you know how to bleed the engine and change an impeller. Knowing how to change fuel filter (quickly) is also worthwhile.
If you can live with the consequences, go for it - wg
Y'am what y'am an' thats' all that y'am - Popeye
I had an allergic reality - Jillie the Bean
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Old 11-22-2018, 01:00 PM   #11
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Sheesh, certainly get educated but you're already a boater. IMHO the best way to get experience is to go boating.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:05 PM   #12
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Online courses ??

Does anyone know of online courses for new boat owners that my wife and I can take from an accredited organization other than Power Squadron in association with Western Florida State? 1) I am enrolled in Navigation and Seamanship but cannot open the course with my Ipad or computer to get started, 2) I have not received the coarse workbook from Power Squadron and now I've been informed that I will not receive one. Additionally I cannot take classroom courses because we don't live anywhere near where the courses are offered. a bit of a quandary. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:33 PM   #13
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I would look for a class taught by local Coast Guard Aux. These are usually 8 week (2-3 hrs per) and cover nav, rules, knots etc. Great for beginners, with a reasonable cost. Class is taught by volunteer boaters and is a great way to learn from peers. i took it last year and my wife is signed up to start later this month. There should be a chapter in your area, check with them when the next class is
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:57 AM   #14
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I bought a 42 grand banks 2 years ago with my girlfriend - also our first boat - had been on a sailboat once before that.

I didn't take a course. We took the boat from Fort Myers to Boston a week after we bought it. The first week of the journey was stressful, but just about the worst thing that'll happen in the intercoastal is grounding - no big deal in a GB. We hired a captain for the first day and night of the journey to teach us how to drive a boat, go through locks, bridges, stay in a channel, etc. I highly recommend it. I haven't taken a course, and after that day I don't think a course would have helped me that much - nothing can beat true hands-on experience.

Aside from driving the boat, you need to spend some time in the engine room. I sat down there for hours trying to figure out what everything was. On an old boat, stuff is going to break, you need to know how to react. Pick up Nigel Calder's Mechanical Electrical book and read it. On the journey we had to change fuel filters, change the oil, clean up and replace an exploded oil line, empty a sea strainer, seal a leaking water tank, and un-ground ourselves twice (south carolina does a poor job maintaining a channel). We learned quickly about tides and currents while anchored.

The takeaway - after learning a little about the boat, you just need to get out there and do it, see if you can find a captain for your first day out. After that, you can learn everything on your own.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:49 PM   #15
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The first time I pulled into the marina in my first 'big boat' I thought I was the dumbest and least experienced boater around. I convinced myself everyone was experienced and new exactly what they were doing with regard to maintaining and operating there boats. Boy was I wrong!
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:20 PM   #16
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I would definitely advise to hire an experienced "certified" boat captain to give you "hands on" training on your own boat!
We were lucky enough to meet the skipper of a 100 foot yacht, who was hoping to become a firefighter. I gave him lots of information on the recruitment process, interview techniques, etc. and he gave us a couple of hours of instruction on our boat on the water. Very informative, and very much reduced the stress level.
For us, several changes occurred with this new to us "trawler" from our sailboat.
First, I used to do 95% of all the docking with our sailboat. We sold the sailboat due to my wife having developed a medical condition with her foot reducing her mobility. So on the trawler, she does 95% of the docking. The training went much better with someone else teaching her (actually us), especially someone who knows waaaaaay more about this subject than I did. We both learned alot!
Also, If you have not taken any "advanced boating" courses, then I would also suggest seeking those out as well. eg. Power Squadron, Radar, Electronic navigation, etc.
After that, practice, practice, practice!

Nanaimo, BC
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