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New boater

Old 11-21-2020, 07:13 AM
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Hi All - recently started boating and only took the boat out about 5 times. 1st time I went out with a friend who showed me around for a few hours, we usually cruise around in the bay (Saint Joseph Sound FL) and go island hoping. My challenge (scared of) handling wakes from other boats and handling the boat in general even with small waves/light chop. I usually cruise around 20-25 kts and find myself slowing down to (10-15kts) and getting off plane after it gets a little rocky or wakes from other boats. I do my best to hit the waves at 45 degrees. Is this normal and should I not slow down? I only go out when the wind is under 15 MPH and light chop and its a Key West 22" Thanks in advance!
Old 11-21-2020, 07:18 AM
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Yes, slowing down for boat wake in a small boat is both normal and the safe thing to do.

As far as 45 degrees hitting the wake goes...... it depends. You’ll get used to the best way to go over the wake depending on the direction you are going vs the wake. Just keep your “head on a swivel” and always be looking forward, backwards and to the sides for other boats, especially when speeding up, slowing down or turning near wake.

Do you have trim tabs? Learning to use those properly can help the ride as well.

Happy boating!
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:30 AM
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Awesome and thank you, I do have trim tabs and I have only used them once on a very calm day primarily to see how the boat behaves.
Old 11-21-2020, 07:30 AM
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Do it in a way that is in your comfort zone.

You have plenty of time to become a maniac later.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:51 AM
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Run it. Keep running it. You’ll get more comfortable the more you use it and learn how the boat wants to run in different conditions.

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Old 11-21-2020, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SaltyShepherd View Post
Run it. Keep running it. You’ll get more comfortable the more you use it and learn how the boat wants to run in different conditions.
Yeah, just use it and use your head. Sounds like you're doing all the right things so far.

Oh, and don't worry, you will screw up, as does happen when you're learning new things. We all did and have been in the same boat at one point or another.

Good luck and congrats.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:18 AM
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Thank you all, this gives me a boost! I can say I have got a lot better each time.
Old 11-21-2020, 09:26 AM
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One thing that sometimes works in my boat (you'll have to see for yourself in yours) is to head for an incoming wake at about that 45 degree angle and make a slight turn away from it as I go through it. Seems to allow the boat to cut through the wake better than just going straight through it. It is a really gentle turn, nothing evasive or anything. Depending on the wake and the angle, slowing down usually helps.

Of course, all wakes are different and all boats are different and an approach that works for one will not work for them all.

Last edited by Steelers0355; 11-21-2020 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:26 AM
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Sounds like you are doing good. Take it slow and go at your own pace. Over time you will learn to become more comfortable with the boat, and learn how fast you can go over wakes, as well as how low an approach angle you can get away. You will also get a feel for what is uncomfortable vs what is safe. For instance, we rarely get a day in the sound where the chop makes it unsafe, but there are a lot of days I just don't want to be out there. Definitely learn to trim your boat appropriately (both motor trim and trim tabs). It will help tremendously with the chop.

I am in Clearwater Beach, so we share the same boating area. Feel free to message me if you have any questions on the area or could use any tips. Its a great place to boat - sandbars, tons of free docks for dining and beach access, good fishing. One recommendation is to be careful about staying in the channels until you learn where all the shoals and oyster bars are. Some are just outside the channel (east of red markers when heading north to Dunedin causeway for example) and can definitely ruin your day. Entrance to Anclote river is another one to pay attention to. We will have some big negative tides soon. Driving around on these ultra low tides is a great way to get the lay of the land.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:55 PM
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See if the Coast Guard Auxiliary in your area offers boating courses. You'll get a good start on a lot of practical info and proof of the course could reduce your insurance premiums.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by obx_77 View Post
See if the Coast Guard Auxiliary in your area offers boating courses. You'll get a good start on a lot of practical info and proof of the course could reduce your insurance premiums.
ditto that. If the Auxiliary is not available in yoru area check out the US Power Squadron Courses. Plus your state probably has an on-line free boating course. https://www.stateofflorida.com/boating-course/

Take it slow and remember we all make mistakes but if you're going slower the impact is less. I don't mean running into other boats. I mean hitting docks, running aground, hitting junk in the water. Anyone who tells you they've never hit anything with their boat is either lying or a magician.
Old 11-21-2020, 07:35 PM
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DR dr1,
I vote for post # 10 & 11.
When I bought my first boat a friend came over and handed me the boating safety course form from the US Power Squadrons. I learned allot in a short period of time. It also gave me some confidence ing y own boating skills.
Aflyer
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:51 PM
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Head on will cut through best. If I'm passing a large boat, I'll pull away then cut back into it after it passes, that way I can split the wake head on.
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Old 11-23-2020, 12:18 PM
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I will try this next time, It's tough sometimes to stay in the channel not to go over a wake.
Old 11-23-2020, 12:23 PM
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Thank you for feedback, I have been trying to stay away from unknown areas for now. I was close to hitting ground just last week around honeymoon island and had a boater wave at me to get back into the channel. I wish I started boating 5 years ago, this area is amazing.
Old 11-23-2020, 12:41 PM
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The fact that you are recognizing that you have a lot to learn and asking questions puts you way ahead of some of the dumb-dumbs out there.

Like many others have said... the only way to get better is to run the boat and build up your confidence in yourself and what the boat can safely do.

As far as the wakes, I usually power down to plow speed so I still have some control over direction and have a chance to pop back on plane quickly. The really big ones you just got power way down, point the bow at them, and hold on to something lol. Passing a boat that is putting off a huge wake is a whole different animal. Every time is still an adventure for me.

Just remember when you are trying to maneuver around docks, beach, etc... you are steering the boat, not driving it. Power and steering are two different things. You can still use the motor like a rudder when you are out of gear. Kick it into gear for a few seconds to apply some power, put it back in neutral and just steer it.
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Old 11-23-2020, 01:33 PM
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You seem to be headed in the right direction. Only do what you feel comfortable doing. You will learn over time. Always remember that there are old captains, and the there are bold captains, but no old, bold captains.
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