Free time is precious, which means that you need to enjoy every moment of it when you hit the water in your high-performance powerboat. But maximizing fun doesn’t mean compromising safety. Nothing will stop the fun faster than an accident, even a minor one. Awareness and caution are the keys to safe driving.
Here are some practical, everyday tips that can make you and your passengers safer on the water.
- Booze and Boat Driving Don’t Mix: With the way performance boats are today, with all the skills that need to be ready at hand and all that is going on around you when you’re out on the water, there is no margin for error. You need all of your faculties and skills as good as they can possibly be, and any alcohol compromises those skills. You want to be at your very best when you’re operating any type of boat.
- Feel Free to Slow Down: Just because your boat will run 100 mph doesn’t mean you have to enter a 100-mph class in a poker run. Pick a class where you can cruise along at a comfortable speed so you can keep yourself and your passengers in a safe position.
- Drive For Maximum Passenger Comfort: It always has to be in the back of your mind that as the driver, because you’re hanging onto the steering wheel and throttles, you never feel what your passengers feel. So you might have a misconception about what a great job you’re doing. The best operator is the one whose boat exits the water the least. That means he chose a speed and trim level that will allow the nose of the boat to divide and displace the water and keep from damaging the boat’s drive train and occupants.
- Pass With Care and be Aware: Let’s say you’re getting ready to overtake a vessel. You are the give-way vessel. If the driver of the boat ahead looks back once, we are pretty sure he will hold his lane. But if he looks back twice, we are pretty sure he won’t because he’s nervous. So when passing him, pass him on the port side so he can see the nose of your boat in his peripheral vision, give him as much room as possible.
- Take Your Time Docking: A boat will always make it to shore. You just need to help it. You don’t need to force it. The No. 1 mistake people make is they hurry. They get impatient and aggressive, and then they try to manhandle the boat to the dock. And that’s where they get into trouble.
- Inspect Before You Run: Just like a pilot does with an airplane, you have to check your boat every time before you run it.