Fishing forum > New boat owner, looking for a good place to learn.

Author Topic: New boat owner, looking for a good place to learn.

Hey all... so my family and I just got ourselves a new boat, its a 2014 16.5 ft Legend Xcalibur with a 90hp Optimax and a bow mounted trolling motor. Since this is my first boat and have only ever been a passenger in other boats, I only have a slight knowledge of how to operate it. I do have my boat license so that's not an issue. My question is, where is a good place to learn how to operate a boat (ie, Launch it, load it, dock it, drive it)? I want to get some time in before I decide to take my family out on it tubing/fishing. Advice is greatly appreciated, so have at'er!

ps/ I live in Tsawwassen.

The boaters license course is a bit of a joke....Take the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron Boating Essentials course before going anywhere. The stuff you learn there could save your life. Sur-Del has a Squadron as do most of the cities around the Lower Mainland. You'll also meet people you can ask questions and even tag along with them on cruises around Georgia Straight etc. A great organization.

It's great you got a boat and I'm not trying to burst your bubble but too many people think they can just learn on the fly and the ocean and/or the Fraser River are no place to mess around.

Would this course teach me how to launch, load, dock and drive a boat? Or is this course mainly for safety and navigating in coastal waters?

sure, an extra course would be very helpful, but all you need to do is get out to a nice smaller lake and practice. it isn't rocket science. and you can even just go to an empty parking lot or field to practice your backing a trailer up. a couple big first pointers, make sure your plug is in the boat before you launch, make sure you've un strapped the boat from the trailer, and tie your boat to the trailer with long enough rope when launching, so the boat doesn't float away when you pull the trailer out. remember to tilt the motor when coming in to shore, remember to lower the motor before starting, if motor won't start, double-check the kill tether. their suggestion of a fancy course is good and all, but nothing teaches you to launch a boat but practice. and make safety first your #1 rule. you already show some common-sense and smarts by wanting to get familiar with it before taking the family out. that puts you ahead of many people out on the water already.

Safety,launching,and towing aside;pay attention to maintenance.Tons of little things you won't think about until it's too late.I have a tool box that is only for the boat.Think of any small task that you may need to tackle on the water and the tools to do it.Anyone towing or operating a boat should know how to do the following.And carry the tools/parts to do it.

-change/clean spark plugs
-check/change a fuel filter
-grease trailer bearings
-change trailer bearings(preventative maintenance is a better option)
-minor electrical repairs(carry some connectors,tape,sandpaper,crimpers etc.
-know how to store/stabilize fuel(keep your kicker gas separate in case your main tank gets contaminated)
-know how to change a prop
-keep your battery(s) charged up when not in use
-keep spare bulbs/grease for trailer or running lights
-keep fuses handy for all electronics

Probably dozens more to add,but you get the point

The OP stated he had almost no experience, except as a passenger. Simply knowing how to get a boat into the water and physically operate the controls wont keep someone from piling it up on a rock or sandbar (charts tell you this, as do navigations markers) or the correct procedure for calling for help (the correct channel and who to call). It won't tell you how to broach a wave, deal with rough weather, or simply anchor correctly. When I took the course it had a section on docking with and without the wind.

Gearbox may scoff at taking a 'fancy course' but people get into serious trouble every year on the water because they didn't take the time to do it properly.

Anyways, I've said my piece, good luck out there, stay safe and enjoy your new boat

given the apparent lack of experience I could not agree more . Take the suggested course. In the meantime get someone experienced to come along . you can learn a bit while taking the course and learn how to launch etc under the supervision of your friend.
from the description of the boat I wish I was around there to be that friend ! (lol) . nice boat. follow the advice given about maintenance and emergency repairs . excellent advice. safety is a combination of things. you do not want to put your life or any other person at risk .do things right with your new toy !

I took a look at the website and was wondering which course would be the best to take, the Boating Essentials course? I don't think I could afford to take all of them Although the Boat and Engine Maintenance course is very appealing.

ok, a show of hands, how many of you have taken that suggested course? the average boater doesn't take a course like that. I never said he shouldn't, just that it's not necessary to spend extra $$ on someone's courses, no course is better than actual hand's-on experience. the op sounds like an intelligent person, if he gets out and practices, he'll gain all the experience he needs. and much better even, would be if an already experienced boater on here would be kind enough to show him some things.

guys, he's got a brand new 2014 boat. he's not going to be requiring to know emergency repairs and maintenance right now. sure, a freak incident can happen, but how many of you are boating in a 2014 model? all he needs right now is to gain some boating experience. and the best way to get that is to get out there. worry about changing spark plugs and props later. that's totally not needed on day 1. boat launching and operation is what he needs to learn.

The Boating Essentials course is the one I was referring to Jewelz, although the maintenance one looks really cool too. They didn't offer that one when I took the Essentials course with my old man in the 90's. Could be very handy if you ding a prop, easy to do on Fraser or out in the chuck (even in a new boat),or put some bad gas through your motor and need to change a plug (again, it can happen in a new boat just as easy as an old one), and just for keeping your new toy in tip top condition.

Not sure why someone would advocate against becoming an educated boater....

there is a lot of difference between learning on the go in the lower mainland lakes let alone the fraser or chuck vs
some lake in the interior...........take the course.
gearbox, you probably grew up with boats. a lot of people did not and as a result can get into a lot of trouble pretty quick. I've seen too many incidents.....even saw the rcmp boat run aground up pitt lk . the young officer did not understand the markers. he was going about 40 mph when he came to an abrupt stop . was he embarrassed !

Nothing beats hands on experience.
I feel like the lesson will cost you xxx$ when you can just you tube all of the boating tutorials, there are millions of them showing how to do every single thing right.
Boating is not hard at all, same as driving a car pretty much.
Go to a small lake or inlet to practice and you will be fine.

nothing beats hands on experience... so watch youtube???

Thanks for all the advice fellas! I've asked a friend of mine who has years of experience with boats to show me the ropes. I believe I will learn a lot from him. I will consider taking the CPSS courses when I move from the lake to the ocean. I actually don't think i'll be confident enough to explore seaside till I do take a course! Thanks again!

I agree completely with you canforest, about the chuck and fraser being much more dangerous than an interior lake. but, I never saw the op mention he'd be going on either. just because someone lives in the lower mainland doesn't mean they go ocean fishing. the coq is packed every weekend with LM'ers coming up to the interior with their boats. again, I wasn't saying that it's silly for someone to "learn" more, just that it isn't really "necessary" to spend extra $$ on courses. I'm surprised at how most are suggesting he shell out his $$ and that nobody is willing to show him the ropes.

Now a days you can learn anything from you tube.
Anyone with common sense can do just about anything.
Go watch you tube videos and try it on your own is what i am saying.

Oh wow really?
Before i ask anything i spend hours on youtube and the web.
If i cant find anything i head here as a last resort...
Rude of you to ask...

Its the truth, so it doesn't matter what you believe...

The only reason offered the guy what i did, is because i followed those same footsteps and it worked well for me, so get off my back.
sharphooks moderator

ok, this discussion has gone on long enough. Youtube is definitely a source of information on a multitude of subjects. Personally I am with Dumptruck on this subject but if you are very carefull as to what you believe on youtube it can be a helpful tool.
I personally do not like to treat safety lightly. It might have something to do with having lost a couple of friends in boating accidents. They thought they had everything under control. The best answer for the member with the new boat would be to take the power squadron course which was suggested plus get out there with an experienced friend ( which he decided to do ) and get some experience. If he can find some usefull youtube videos that further help him learn the safe and proper way then add it to the education. just be sure the friend is a good teacher and the youtube are done by a responsible experienced boat owner.

a lot of boating tips that can be learned from youtube is "how NOT to do something". one can watch oodles of people's screw-ups while launching a boat. so, in actuality, one can learn how NOT to do things, which, in turn, is teaching one what should be properly done. in a way. and that's just watching the screw-ups. I'm sure there are tons of proper-technique tips on there as well. still, nothing, no course or video, is going to substitute hands-on experience. best is to have a knowledgeable person show one the ropes.

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