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The Student News Site of Seward High School

SHS Today

The Student News Site of Seward High School

SHS Today

Rallying Boats

Rallying+Boats

Have you ever operated an outboard boat? If you haven’t, I would highly recommend taking one for a rip! I recently picked up a compact rubber dingy and have been enjoying learning how to mob it.

I will be primarly talking about advice that relates to small watercraft with tiller outboards. Proper preparation is the first step to a successful voyage this can include making sure craft is up to spec: registered, and in good working order, as well as many other aspects. I always bring oars, adequate fuel, food, water, an air pump, airpods, and correct clothing. Before heading out, be sure to let friends/family know where you are headed and when you should be back in case of emergency. 

Once you have your gear loaded up and have told proper people where you’re headed, it is now time to tackle the boat ramp. Some people are scared of the boat ramp, and you should be. If you are not a competent trailer operator yet, you are vulnerable to judgment and annoyance from others if you are at a busy ramp and struggling. However, if you have the fundamentals of trailer operation and are courteous to others, it becomes a breeze.

After you have the boat launched and tied up, be sure to let the engine warm up for a few minutes. Once ready to depart, find a comfortable position to hold onto the tiller with your left hand, and look toward the bow. Depending on your boat, that might be standing, sitting in a chair, sitting on the pontoon if it’s a Zodiac, or however you see fit. If it’s your first time operating, stay out of the throttle until you are feeling comfortable. The last thing you want to do is attempt to turn left, but turn right and fall out of the boat at high speed and have your boat disappear beyond the horizon without you. Have no fear! Once you have operated a tiller outboard for a certain amount of time, it becomes second nature. 

The most important aspect of operating a watercraft is safety! Whenever you hit a body of water, make sure you are informed of weather, and wave conditions if it’s the ocean. Another essential is life jackets for everyone aboard. The most important rule is to operate your craft with common sense. 

I vastly enjoy operating my little 9 feet dingy with a 15-horse outboard, and I have learned a tremendous amount about boating since purchasing. I highly recommend anyone who is considering learning to operate a small watercraft to give it a try to become the adventurerer you were meant to be.

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