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Ahoy! Safe Family Boating

Ahoy! Safe Family Boating

Local Gold Coasters, Craig and Melody Freestone have recently purchased a 37ft Riviera boat. To allow them and two daughters, Ellissa and Asha, a chance to better understand the new family boat and maximise their enjoyment and safety, they engaged the services of Karla Herbert-Evans from Nautical Training and Marine Services.

“It was a pleasure working with the Freestone family. I was so impressed with everyone’s enthusiasm to get to know their vessel, crewing so well together to learn more about knots, spring lines and hitches, docking, anchoring, safety systems, vessel handling and maintaining good lookout, with situational awareness of wind, tide and traffic,” says Karla.

The training started at Hope Harbour Marina at Hope Island on the Gold Coast. “We sought Karla out after purchasing a Riviera M370. Craig has been boating since he was a kid and the family have been on the water regularly in bowriders, before upgrading late last year. While Craig is competent in many vessels, always having operated our boats singlehanded, docking a larger vessel in a marina meant the family might be required to help out. We hoped Karla could instruct us on docking and crewing the boat safely and with confidence,” explains mum Melody.

“I think the highlight was the first time we docked without Karla’s help. Realising we could do it together as a family was a moment of accomplishment that gave us a glimpse into many days and nights ahead on this new Riv. Also, watching our girls throw big ropes and tie knots successfully was a fun venture. The entire day was very rewarding.”

Melody says, “We learnt so much! Setting ropes was a great lesson for us girls, along with learning about our roles for docking, so we could aid Craig and not hinder him (lol). We loved the sit-down training with Karla, studying mapping and plotting a course, evaluating fuel consumption, refreshing marine signage and reviewing boat safety. From dropping anchor to mooring, Karla covered it all!”

“Investing the time to learn from Karla was definitely worth the effort. We highly recommend her to anyone who might need a similar service. Her patience with green ‘boaties’, while catering to a seasoned ‘Captain’, showed her adaptability to provide information and instruction in a comprehensive manner. We were all surprised at how much was covered in our day together. Karla happily shared her vast knowledge and experience, leaving us confident to handle a vessel that we can now enjoy as a family on the waterways we love.”

The family plans to utilise Karla’s services again, both in preparation for their ‘big’ trip and when the time comes to upgrade to their next vessel.

Karla’s sessions are always detailed and are a fun way to improve your boating skills, allowing new boat owners to gain confidence with all aspects of boat handling.

For further education about your boating, Karla recommends Advanced Practicals and Offshore Navigation Courses.

To book these courses, or boat licence and jet ski licence training and assessment, as well as AMSA Coxswain Grade 3 practical, contact Karla directly at

Ph: 0412 550 570


Published in print April-June 2023