Learning how to drive a high speed boat is an exhilarating experience that places the novice behind the wheel of one of the most powerful marine vessels currently in existence. It is easy to differentiate the weekend warrior with the occasional pontoon boat experience from the born-and-bred racer who has spent copious amounts of time behind the controls: the novice learning how to drive a high speed boat will speed up at inappropriate times and generally be more of a nuisance. Learn the ins and outs of powering through the water on this conveyance and avoid becoming a bother.
Prior to getting a feel for how to drive a high speed boat, you need the following items:
- Basic plan of the boat’s setup
- Feel for the engine trim
- Seasoned boater buddy
- Verify the boat’s rigging. Even though there are no sails or other wind-catching devices, there is still some rigging that involves the motor height. Enlist the help of a seasoned speed boat driver to make sure each component is in place, hooked up and ready to go. A boat with incomplete or improper rigging fails to perform as anticipated and may even hold some nasty surprises for a first-time driver.
- Become familiar with dual steering cables. High-end boats feature hydraulics that assist the captain in steering the vessel, but for everyone else, the cables must do. This is a completely different experience from driving a boat with anything less than a V-6 motor and takes some getting used to.
- Develop a feel for the proper height. When first starting out and learning how to drive a high speed boat, it is tempting to re-enact the movie scenes that show the front of the boat being high out of the water. Of course, in this setting the boat actually slows down. Finding just the right height is not something the boater can accomplish with a yardstick but something he must “feel.”
- Ask for a private lesson from an experienced high speed boater. A friend or paid advisor should accompany the novice during the first outing. Beginning with a straight line and then practicing wide and narrowing turns, he helps the newbie get a feel for the boat’s actions, responses and also limitations.
Remember that learning how to drive a high speed boat is not just for the fun of the sport but also to keep other boaters and marine life safe.
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