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By Roselle Tenefrancia

Knowing your vessel well, and how to operate it in various conditions, is very important in boating, regardless of how long you have held your licence for. Updating your boating skills is the key to safe boating. Mastering the operation of your boat, particularly when docking in challenging conditions will ensure a better experience for your time on water.

Andy and Jenny Graham own a SeaRay 320DA Sundancer sportscruiser with twin 6.2 ltr Mercruisers and sterndrives. They signed up with Nautical Training & Marine Services to improve their skills in berthing their boat in challenging circumstances.

“We are relatively new to boating and we were experiencing difficulty berthing at Ephraim Island Marina, we are often affected by strong tidal influence and blow off conditions,” explained Andy.

Karla Herbert-Evans, Boatsafe Training Provider and owner of Nautical Training & Marine Services provided extensive training which included: close-quarter manoeuvring, knots, lines and hitches, use of spring lines and docking approach and departure. The training was conducted at Ephraim Island Marina, where Andy and Jenny would normally be docking their boat. Although the couple had initially encountered difficulties in understanding how the boat responded to the conditions and also how to manage the boat, after being taught a few new manoeuvres on their approach, they were able to overcome previous difficulties.

“We were given excellent instructions. Then we practised controlling the boat using just the gear shift controls and throttle levers. We gained confidence in reversing the boat into the berth with the current tidal and wind conditions,“ Andy explained. “The training was excellent and just what we needed. Karla is a great instructor, backed by a wealth of knowledge and experience. She explained everything clearly and her pleasant and patient manner made it easy to stay focused and take it all in.”

Similar to Andy and Jenny’s concerns with berthing, Michael and Alison McAviney wanted to become proficient and confident with docking their vessel. They were also keen to improve their GPS knowledge and received training on Broadwater navigation vessel handling, knots, lines and hitches and docking.

Michael and Alison own a Sea Ray 355 Sundancer, also with separate gear shift and throttle controls. Training was conducted from their dock at Park Cova Marina, Hope Island.

Michael and Alison experienced the challenges of increasing wind gusts during blow off dock approach but were able to overcome them during the training. “We were able to better understand how to use the twin screw gears for the docking approach. We have become more confident using the separate gear shifts and throttle controls. While learning the sequence of docking approaches, we had our dock lines correctly measured and set up so we could quickly attach a springline and use the gears to hold the boat until the other lines could be safely secured. We learned to anticipate the wind and tidal effects on our vessel during close quarter manoeuvres and overcame the difficulty in docking the boat in high winds,” they explained.

They appreciated Karla’s professionalism and her thoroughness in both practical and theoretical aspects of operating a recreation vessel.

As a BoatSafe training provider since 2006, Karla has had the opportunity to offer comprehensive training to new and experienced mariners that give them the skills and knowledge to confidently undertake basic navigation, boat handling and understand the safety requirements and responsibilities under the law.

As your professional trainer, Karla is happy to pass on knowledge and experience and issue a Certificate of Competency or Achievement Award. She is looking forward to shaking your hand and seeing the smile on your dial as you head off to experience your own nautical adventures.

For further training and vessel handling upskilling, Karla recommends the Advanced Practical, Broadwater Navigation and Offshore Navigation Course. To book these courses or a Boat licence and Jetski licence training and assessment, as well as AMSA Exemption 38 courses, contact Karla directly PH: 0412 550 570






Published in print January-March 2022